With a rich history dating back to 1884, Taronga Zoo has played a vital role in connecting people with wildlife. From its origins as NSW’s first public zoo at Billy Goat Swamp in Moore Park to its vision for scientific research, conservation and education developed in the 1960s, the zoo has continued its role as a leader in wildlife conservation.
In order to remain relevant and combat the changing global environment, zoos must continue to evolve and diversify. To meet this challenge, Taronga Zoo, together with the NSW Government, are undertaking a $164.5 million development program to upgrade the zoo over the next 10 years, aimed at transforming visitor experience, boosting wildlife tourism and fostering new conservation education.
Turf Design Studio is thrilled to be part of this continued evolution, helping to better connect people with nature through the zoo’s landmark Australia Habitat and Wildlife Retreat project.
Designed to showcase Australia’s biodiversity and promote conservation education, the project features a new native Australian bushwalk-inspired exhibit, along with a wildlife accommodation retreat, which builds on the popularity of the zoo’s existing Roar and Snore and Zoofari Lodge overnight experiences.
The Wildlife Retreat will include five accommodation ‘pods’ between two and four storeys, with 62 guest rooms, a guest lodge and an extension to the existing Taronga Centre with a new restaurant and function room with outdoor terrace.
Set amongst a new world-class zoo exhibit, the pods are delicately inserted into the Sydney Harbour foreshore natural landscape. The new exhibit features native flora and fauna, and wildlife including, koalas, echidnas, potoroos, bandicoots, wallabies, red kangaroos and Tasmanian devils.
Water features prominently, with a flowing creek leading to a four metre immersive cascading ‘walk-through’ water fall, platypus pools, and an interactive freshwater eel encounter wading pool. The project creates a conscious connection to Australia’s ancient natural landscape, and supports the zoo’s efforts to protect indigenous biodiversity.
The scheme also features innovative ‘green screens’ designed by Turf in collaboration with Cox Architecture to camouflage the accommodation pods and preserve the views from the habitat across to Sydney Harbour.
Phase 1 of this exciting project is currently under construction and due for completion at the end of 2018.