1994 American Society of Landscape Architects/ Prairie Gateway
The Okavango Elephant exhibit at the Kansas City Zoo is modeled after the Okavango Delta in Botswana. The exhibit stretches through an area of large, mature trees that were protected and saved during construction to provide a natural setting for the animals. The dominant design element is open grassland similar to that of the Serengeti Plain.
Jeffrey L. Bruce & Company met the challenge of creating a functional site ecology that could thrive under the massive daily impact of African elephants in a confined space. Wetland planting improve water quality, while providing an invisible barrier for unobstructed interaction between visitors and the elephants. In response to the narrow exhibit footprint, JBC designed bands of native grasses of various heights to lend an illusion of depth and openness. JBC selected native varieties of trees, large shrubs, and grasses to mimic the colors, forms, and textures of the Okavango Delta. The design team made detailed designs for constructing the artificial rock outcrops reflecting those found in the Delta’s topography.