This new, one-story building contains eight rooms, five of which are holding rooms with nesting and pool areas. The indoor exhibit area, visible to visitors from the exterior, contains both animal run space and keeper work zones. The dragons have access to an outdoor exhibit area that spans 10,000 sf. This space also contains a caged holding area and mechanical room.

Exterior viewing of the exhibit takes place under a canopy, complete with a large ceiling fan and short-term seating. The sight line into the exhibit is hooded, in an effort to reduce glare.

The dragon’s holding areas contain a mud-bank containment wall which completely hides the building and mechanical areas while providing an appropriate indoor and outdoor environment for the dragons. A third party, specialty consultant is developing the mud-bank and other habitat elements that include climbing structures, water features and a screen containing native grasses.

Site constraints were the main project challenge. The design team’s approach to the facility accommodates a bio-retention area put in place for the nearby Animal Health Center in addition to an existing serpentine walkway.

Photos: Courtesy of Nashville Zoo and ESa Staff