Reid Park Zoo Elephant Exhibit

DOWL partnered with PJA Architects in Seattle, Washington, to design the African Elephant Exhibit at the Reid Park Zoo in Tucson, Arizona. The project included a new hoofstock area, elephant barn, interpretive center, and walking path. One of the major issues was water. Elephants need water not just to drink, but to wade in. Supplying enough water for the elephants was one issue, but the trickiest part was treating the water after they had used it. The wading pool holds 96,000 gallons of water, all of which is treated every two hours. Two pumps move the water at 800 gallons per minute, and it is ultimately delivered to a public sewer line. During design, there was concern that the existing sewer line was already near capacity. To determine the ability of the line to handle the new projected flows, the existing flow in the line needed to be determined. DOWL worked with Pima County to model the existing flow. Other issues included elephant-proofing the exhibit (no toxic plants, nothing they could knock over and injure guests with, and irrigation heads higher than the elephants could reach, to name a few.) Today, elephants at the zoo enjoy their new digs – and their abundant water supply.


Tucson, Arizona




Parks and Recreation


Commercial/Industrial Civil Design

Construction Administration and Inspection


Landscape Architecture

Water Supply and Wastewater