The San Antonio Zoo released images and announced a plan to create a bio-domes system over the entire zoological facility, which spans both sides of Highway 281. The zoo is calling these new features Zoo-Dome®. The zoo has been consulting industrial designers like Elon Musk and engineers worldwide to design these first-ever Zoo-Domes. The design was inspired by structures such as The Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku, Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi, and AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys.
This new Zoo-Dome system will allow for the roofs to be open or closed and allow outdoor, temperature-controlled air to free flow through the facility via large ducts 24 hours a day, 365 days a year at a constant 78 degrees Fahrenheit. The roof of each dome will be constructed of lightweight, transparent Tesla solar panels to allow natural sunlight for the flora, fauna, and people within the dome even when closed while providing solar power for the zoo and Kiddie Park.
“Our dream is finally at hand,” said Tim Morrow, President & CEO of San Antonio Zoo. “We have been working on the Zoo-Dome design for six years and look forward to becoming the first year-round perfect weather zoo for visitors from all over the world.”
The zoo accelerated the domes’ design after recent extreme climate events such as the snowstorm in Texas. According to preliminary engineering estimates, the project’s cost is estimated at approximately 2.4 billion dollars and will become the largest undertaking in any zoo’s history. Current timelines anticipate a completion date of 4/1/2026.
The Zoo-Dome will cover the zoo on both sides of 281, and the traffic lanes on 281 north and south as commuters pass through the zoo grounds. The Zoo-Dome overthe highway will also
have a roof that can open, a GPS location-based greeting that broadcasts inside vehicles via stereos, as well as color-changing, LED lighting for a safe, enjoyable driving experience.
“Beyond the Zoo-Dome covering the zoo grounds, this new feature over 281 will create a unique, world’s only, arrival and departure experience into downtown San Antonio,” and will give San Antonio yet another iconic architectural feat,” said Morrow.
About San Antonio Zoo
San Antonio Zoo®, operated by San Antonio Zoological Society is a non-profit organization committed to securing a future for wildlife. Through its passion and expertise in animal care, conservation, and education, the zoo’s mission is to inspire its community to love, engage with, act for and protect animals and the places they live. The zoo welcomes more than a million visitors each year and is open year – round. San Antonio Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the Zoological Association of America, and Humane Certified by American Humane.
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- San Antonio Zoo