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Samsung Everland’s “Lost Valley”, created by dan pearlman


Earlier this year, the internationally-renowned theme park Samsung Everland opened its gates to celebrate the world premiere of the "Lost Valley".

Over two-years in planning, this unique environment , created by dan pearlman opened on April 20, 2013. 

Designed down to the last detail, the planning encompassed architecture, landscape architecture, various modes of transport, as well as signage and communication. The legend of the "Lost Valley", as a narrative framework and philosophy, not only entertains but educates visitors to this world first in safari attractions.

Vision & Goals 

The idea was to design the 63, 000 square meter area as an ancient place, full of nature and true-to-life animal habitats. Although conceived as a whole, it was divided into various types of landscapes in order to offer visitors a range of experiences as they explore the "Lost Valley". Thus, a primary goal was to create a story set within the landscape while also creating a maximum amount of space for the animals (and visitors) by positioning all architectural elements on the periphery. In addition to creating an once-in-a-lifetime experience for visitors, the park’s goal is to increase attendance numbers from 7.5 to 10 million visitors within the next five to seven years.

samsung everland lost valley dan pearlman

Characters & Creation 

During the visitor tour, protagonists recount the story of "Lost Valley". Humans and animals once lived in harmony for a long time. But man’s desires began to grow and he starting hunting animals like Jum and Tao, who were subsequently forced to escape to the "Lost Valley". In the end, man finally understood the consequences of his actions and learned to coexist peacefully within this place, which has been here since the dawn of time. These days, Tao, the white lion, and Jum, the elephant, are still guardians of the Valley and provide an entry point for children to understand and relate to the overall idea behind the legend. 

giraffes at samsung everland lost valley dan pearlman

Landscape Architecture 

Embedded within the Valley’s natural shape is a range of innovative experiences. Instead of dividing the park along the classic categories of climate or region, three different zones are featured here. The Dry Savannah is the habitat for hoofed animals from all over the world. The Wet Savannah, featuring the Great Watering Hole in the Great Savannah and the Red Swamp, offers realistic insight into the cohabitation of carnivores and herbivores. And the Bamboo Forest is home to Asian elephants who live here as animals in the service of man. Different species, plants, colours and patterns characterize each area. Guests are taken on a tour where they can observe the landscape without being distracted by visible barriers and where the distance between animal and man is minimized.

elephant at samsung everland lost valley dan pearlman 600

In order to meet international animal-keeping standards, a range of behavioural enrichment features were developed in close cooperation with former Berlin Zoo director, Dr. Jürgen Lange. Details like sand baths, special feeding systems or heated rockwork were included in order to create the most authentic environment possible for the animals.

The Lost Valley features a total of 1, 260 metres of rockwork. A variety of geological formations and colourations were researched in order to achieve the greatest authenticity. Also, the artistically carved rocks contain several secrets that are only slowly revealed and which will surprise even repeat visitors with shapes resembling the head of an elephant or the body of a rhino.

rhino at samsung everland lost valley dan pearlman


Throughout the project, architectural elements were only used where necessary. Their location on the periphery allows the natural experience to be preserved while also ensuring a maximum use of space. A service access road links all functional buildings together. The story of the Valley is told in three different phases and is supported by architectural details like the eclectic mix of buildings of the Wildlife Watch Team camp. A feature in the Valley since the 1930s, the camp grew organically and additional buildings have been added over time. In addition, other architectural elements serve a role in the storyline independent of their functional purpose such as the entrance, the queuing area or the retail and gastronomy zones, which also tell the Valley’s story in detail. Altogether there are fifteen different types of buildings with individual functions ranging from classrooms, special animal holdings, and an education centre, to a state-of-the-art veterinary hospital.

elephant at samsung everland lost valley dan pearlman

Amphibious Vehicle

One of the major challenges in creating the Lost Valley was identifying the mode of transport capable of transporting up to 1, 200 passengers per hour while still offering visitors an unforgettable experience. Coming rather late in the process, after three weeks of meticulous, in-depth research, the dan pearlman team came up with an idea that is the first of its kind in the world: a vehicle for both land and water, redesigned as a forty-passenger bus capable of driving on steep terrain, is side-loading, and goes from wheel to water.

amphibious vehicle samsung everland dan pearlman

Signage & Communication

The keyword here is authenticity. All signage and communication elements were designed to convey the impression of having been created by the Wildlife Watch Team itself. Handwritten and featuring a few mistakes, the signs guide visitors through the valley as well as highlight the story, heightening the sense of genuineness. In the designated queue areas, cave paintings welcome visitors and tell the story of the Valley in a detailed yet simple manner; universally understandable, it prepares visitors for exploring the valley. 

signage dan pearlman samsung everland lost valley


The aim of the "Lost Valley" is not only to entertain but to educate visitors in a lasting way. The Wildlife Watch Team scouts form a relationship with visitors by interacting with them personally and providing them at the start of the tour with a password that will be needed later on to enter a certain part of the Valley. The Lost Valley’s overall concept has a long-lasting effect on visitors and inspires a sense of responsibility for the environment as well as the animals and their habitats, even after leaving the Samsung Everland Resort. Consequently, people relate to the story of Jum and Tao and take home love and respect for the environment and its inhabitants.

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