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PGAV Destinations 2013: Space Shuttles! Penguins! Breweries and More!


Great Projects around the World top PGAV Destinations 2013 Openings Line-up

Space Shuttles! Penguins! Breweries and roller coasters! PGAV Destinations is proud to showcase an exciting year of attraction openings, project awards, and brand-new advances in the design firm’s legacy.

In 2013, PGAV Destinations offered a trip-of-a-lifetime to its entire staff to fly aboard Southwest’s Penguin One for an exceptional staff development opportunity in Orlando to visit some of the firm’s biggest openings of the season. Missouri artist Bryan Haynes’ work gave PGAV’s lobby a beautiful, incredible new make-over, and the firm piloted its first-ever scholarship program. PGAV also launched its brand new blog and Sizzle Reel, “How Do We Make 100+ of You Smile Every Year?, ” but that’s only the beginning…

PGAV Destinations' staff visit Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex: Space Shuttle Atlantis


One of Smarter Travel’s top ten most-anticipated museums of 2013 opened this summer at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex: Space Shuttle Atlantis. This $100m, 65, 000 sq. ft. attraction tells the epic 30-year story of the Space Shuttle Program and stars Atlantis, one of only three remaining space-flown orbiters, and the last to fly in space.  

SeaWorld Orlando’s largest expansion in its 49-year history opened this spring to rave reviews: Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin. Home to the largest penguin colony outside of Antarctica, the attraction takes guests on an adventure through the life of Puck, a newborn Gentoo penguin, with a thrilling story; immersive environment; and state-of-the-art, award-winning trackless ride technology.

SeaWorld Orlando’s Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin designed by PGAV Destinations

Aquatica San Diego opened this summer in Chula Vista, CA, making it the third Aquatica under the SeaWorld umbrella. The newest waterpark carries much of the same feel and fun from Orlando and San Antonio, but offers great new attractions like Hoo Roo Run and Big Surf Shores, along with new animals like flamingos and freshwater turtles.

Anheuser-Busch opened its new Biergarten this summer at its St. Louis brewery, featuring the famous brewer’s rich history and tradition integrated into every aspect of the themed environment. Up to 275 guests can enjoy a unique menu and a variety of Anheuser-Busch beers, including 17 on draught, and features several tasting flights.

Anheuser-Busch opened its new Biergarten designed by PGAV Destinations

Anheuser-Busch unveiled its new EIGHTEEN|76 elevated brand experience this year at the Lambert airport in St. Louis, the American Airlines Center in Dallas, and at the Daytona 500. These highly-themed environments provide relaxing, immersive ways for travelers to stop and enjoy the deep history and varied flavors of Anheuser-Busch.  


Three PGAV-designed attractions won top industry awards in 2013. Space Shuttle Atlantis received a recognition of Merit for signage, wayfidning, and environmental graphics from the HOW International Design Awards.  

Sea Lion Sound received recognition of Significant Achievement in Exhibit Design from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and a Regional Excellence Award from the St. Louis Construction News and Review in 2013. This marks the second year in a row that a PGAV Destinations-designed animal habitat has received a top AZA exhibit design award, and the fourth industry award for Sea Lion Sound. The new habitat, which opened in 2012 at the Saint Louis Zoo, brought the first underwater, walk-through pinniped tunnel to North America and helped the Zoo set its all-time attendance record. 

Wild Eagle at Dollywood was voted the Best New Attraction of 2012 by the National Amusement Park Historical Association. The country’s first winged coaster took home Amusement Today’s “Best New Amusement Park Ride of 2012” Golden Ticket Award last year.

Sea Lion Sound at Saint Louis Zoo designed by PGAV Destinations


In 2013, PGAV Destinations published two landmark studies. The first phase of STEM: America’s Destinations Lead the Way, with follow-up articles coming in 2014, explored the STEM job market, education systems, and how they may relate to destinations from science centers to theme parks to zoos. The New Destination Visitor: Travel Motivations in the Post-Recession Era compared recent findings to pre-recession studies to track key shifts in consumer behavior in the post-recession era. 

PGAV’s Destinologists presented at numerous conferences across the country throughout the year, including AZA, the Industrial Society of America, and IAAPA. VP Al Cross chaired the Architecture segment of the Storytelling, Architecture, Technology, and Experience conference, and 2013 marked the first time PGAV Destinations exhibited at a conference, showcasing Space Shuttle Atlantis and astronaut Jon McBride at the Association of Science-Technology Centers annual expo. 

Space Shuttle Atlantis and astronaut Jon McBride with PGAV Destinations

While 2013 has been a thrilling year for PGAV Destinations, the firm looks forward to sharing exciting updates on numerous, underway projects in early 2014, including China’s Chimelong Ocean Kingdom, Safari Africa! at the Columbus Zoo, Aquatica San Antonio’s Aviary, Polar Bear Point at the Saint Louis Zoo, Fort Ticonderoga in New York, Lost Kingdom at the Columbus Zoo, the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame, Dolphin Research Center on Grassy Key, FL, Sea Turtle Rescue Center in Charleston, SC, and many more!

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