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Zoo, Museum & Theme Park Projects: PGAV Destinations Announces Their 2011 Year-in-Review


PGAV Destinations, a global leader in the planning and design of entertainment and cultural destinations, is pleased to wrap up another banner year of projects, in excess of $250 million in installation costs. The firm’s steadfast focus on strategic planning, business analysis and innovation continues to produce results in the ever-changing tourism and leisure industry.

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The list of stellar projects includes:

The Grand Aquarium in Ocean Park, Hong Kong. PGAV Destinations was the lead designer of this state-of-the-art aquatic attraction, which is the sensational centerpiece of Ocean Park’s Aqua City development. Nearly 3 million people visited in the first six months, setting the pace for record attendance in the park. (see: PGAV Destinations Design for Hong Kong Attraction Is a Major Draw )

Cheetah Hunt Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, Florida.  Florida’s first triple-launch coaster, this innovative ride was inspired by the world’s fastest land animal and uses state-of-the-art technology to deliver three adrenaline-fueled surges of speed. Riders are propelled up the iconic 102-foot Windcatcher Tower, down into four subterranean trenches, over Busch Gardens’ historic Skyride, around a rocky canyon with whitewater currents, and through a heartline roll inversion. Cheetah Hunt’s 4, 429 feet of steel track holds the record as Busch Gardens’ longest coaster, and its 13-acre footprint makes it the most expansive thrill-ride in the park’s history. (see: PGAV Destinations Project Opened at Busch Gardens)

AT&T Dolphin Tales Gallery at Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, Georgia.  PGAV Destinations served as both architect and experience designer for the $110 million expansion project, which features 1.8 million gallons (about the size of two football fields) of aquatic habitats to house trained bottlenose dolphins. The 84, 000-square-foot expansion also includes a viewing theater for 1, 800 guests. The project follows PGAV’s role as exhibit designer for the highly successful initial phase of the Georgia Aquarium. The Gallery was recently recognized with the Atlanta Downtown Design Excellence Award as the outstanding Community project. (see: PGAV Destinations Project Wins Atlanta Downtown Design Excellence Award)

Glacier Point at the Louisville Zoo in Louisville, Kentucky. This $24 million project showcases sea lions, polar bears, Stellar’s sea eagles, and sea otters. Designed as an imaginary town on the edge of the arctic wilderness, the Glacier Point exhibit is modeled after the Canadian polar bear capital of the world to highlight the bond between humans and wildlife. The attraction increased attendance at the Louisville Zoo to more than 890, 000 visitors annually, creating a $33.6 million economic impact for the region. (see: Glacier Run Exhibit Opens at Louisville Zoo)

The Grand Reef Discovery Cove in Orlando, Florida. This is the first major expansion of the PGAV-designed signature experience, which adds more than 2.5 acres to the park and offers guests the opportunity to explore and interact with thousands of tropical animals. The experience features SeaVenture, an innovative underwater walking tour along the reef floor.

Boeing Exhibition Hall at the Saint Louis Science Center in St. Louis, Missouri. This $9.5 million project adds a 13, 000-square-foot exhibition hall to the Science Center, to support creating new exhibits and traveling exhibits that were not previously feasible. The hall also hosts special annual events like SciFest and FIRST® Robotics, all to help inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers. With a unique green roof terrace and LEED certification, the addition is expected to reduce energy use and costs.

Saint Louis Zoo Guest Arrival Experience in St. Louis, Missouri. The Zoo houses 5000 animals from 700 species on 90 acres, including an insectarium, a children’s zoo, and a miniature train. It is recognized as a leading zoo in animal management, research, conservation, and education. Admission is free based on a public subsidy from a cultural tax district. With huge crowds throughout the year, a re-designed entrance features a thematic bridge over a busy road and includes shade trees, a landscaped central pedestrian spine and brass animal sculptures.

Orlando Airport Shops, Kennedy Space Center in Orlando, Florida. Two outpost locations of the Kennedy Space Center, stores located within the Orlando International Airport, have been greatly enhanced to acquaint visitors with Florida’s Space Coast area. Operated by Delaware North Parks Services, the shops showcase special space memorabilia and displays including spacesuits.

“We enjoy and appreciate the opportunity to work with such extraordinary destinations, ” states Mike Konzen, Principal, PGAV Destinations.  “We have many more exciting domestic and international projects in progress, with openings anticipated throughout 2012 and beyond.”

In 2010, PGAV Destinations celebrated 50 Project Openings in Ten Years, to showcase the most prolific period in the firm’s 45-year history. The prior decade of business activity reflected a wide array of record-setting numbers, with 16 major ride and show openings, 20 major zoological openings, 14 museum and cultural openings, 38 food service and retail venue openings, 34 strategic and master plans, and 2, 590 hotel rooms designed.

About PGAV Destinations  

PGAV Destinations is a global leader in the planning and design of unique destinations. The firm uniquely combines award-winning storytelling and creativity with business strategy to create some of the world’s most important cultural, heritage, and natural destinations. PGAV develops growth-oriented master plans and translates these plans into innovative new destination products. Now in its fifth decade, the firm has authored hundreds of highly successful projects in places such as SeaWorld, the Grand Canyon, Biltmore Estate, The Gettysburg Battlefield, the Georgia Aquarium, Kennedy Space Center, and Busch Gardens.

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