While many visitors to the new Kansas City Zoo Aquarium have visited the ocean, few will have dipped deep below its surface. This project creates that opportunity for all.
To introduce visitors to our global ocean, the project uses the concept of marine currents as an interpretive framework. This storyline presents a diverse aquatic collection in a way that is cohesive and meaningful. It’s a story that relates to the dynamic nature of the habitats it portrays and offers a strong base for the zoo’s conservation and educational programs.
The visitor path starts at a shallow tropical shore, follows a warm current into the melting pot of the deep ocean, and is carried via a cold current from the depths, through the ocean’s forests, emerging at a cool Pacific coast. Architectural cues such as changing light quality, spatial variation, and physical descent augment unique exhibit designs to engage visitor’s emotions, spark their curiosity, and build in them a passion for the ocean.