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Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium Alaskan Adventure

Omaha, NE
Construction Cost: Withheld
Area / Square Feet: 13,000
Occupancy Date: June 2016

Hands-on experience
The Alaskan Adventure exhibit features dancing waters through sprays and spouts and more than 75 bronze sculptures by Nebraska artist Matthew Placzek. The splash ground is a way to incorporate animals and large species that the zoo does not currently have, giving visitors the opportunity to touch, feel and learn about native Alaskan habitats.

A study in bronze
The centerpiece of the exhibit is an 18-foot-high humpback whale that has water trailing from its extended fins. Additional bronze sculptures include jumping salmon, puffins, sea lions sunning on rocks, orcas and brown bears.

Atmospheric effect
Misting nozzles and native landscape surround this new exhibit to create an experience of Alaskan immersion. The spraying water is managed through computerized controls, systematically spraying a mix of water and fog through nozzles arranged around the sculptures to simulate the water effects made by the animals as they breach, splash, spray water from their blowholes, and emerge from or dive into the ocean.

Overcoming obstacles
A leader in conservation and research, Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium consistently ranks among the “world’s best zoos.” In order to ensure the facility was available for 2016 summer guests, the project schedule was a top priority. The entire design phase was held to a three-month period, and because the site was built in an existing zoo with natural drainage and positioned in a low-lying area, careful consideration was required to manage stormwater during construction.


  • Splash ground and water feature
  • Spray and spouts from bronze sculptures
  • Misting nozzles
  • Pumping and recirculation systems
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