Suche nach:

Zoo Osnabrück

What makes an experiential destination more appealing for both young and old? How does the zoo remain a top destination in the regional leisure industry through investments? The Osnabrück Zoo creates a new highlight for its guests with the "Water Worlds" experiential landscape.


Object Planning
Building Planning


For the animals, the new, modern “Water Worlds” themed landscape first means a lot of space. About three to five times as much space, to be exact, will be available for them to use in the future, and that is more than is provided for in the mammal report for keeping these animals. In fact, there will not only be more space for the animals in the “Water Worlds”, the quality of the space is also crucial. When planning the “Water Worlds” facility, the zoo designers at dan pearlman Erlebnisarchitektur therefore considered the natural habits of the animals and increased the complexity of the animal environment within the facility so that it meets the genetic and behavioral needs of the animals and caters to the species-specific needs of the animal species. What sounds complicated is actually very important for animal welfare because enrichment of animal facilities includes the regular provision of dynamic environments, cognitive challenges and social interaction opportunities.

For the “water worlds”, this means in concrete terms that the rock landscape for the facility was developed in such a way that it considers the movement patterns and movement need of the aquatic animals. Rock caves and holes invite them to hide and slip through, and the resting and lying places have also been ergonomically shaped and designed accordingly. Environmental enrichment” and “behavioral enrichment” are technical terms for this kind of optimization, which is particularly important in modern zoo facilities. But Kieran Stanley does not only plan facilities that focus on the welfare of the animals, he goes a step further. For him, environmental enrichment in the zoo means not only creating the best living conditions for the animals, but also the best management conditions for the zoo and the best experience conditions for the visitors.

So, what exactly does the visitor experience in the new “water worlds” look like? What can guests look forward to? Colorful fishermen’s houses, a pier with a lighthouse, a dune landscape, pine trees and colorful buoys – a trip to the “Water Worlds” is almost like a trip to the coast. For visitors to be able to literally immerse themselves in the architecture and landscape of the adventure world on their journey through the “Water Worlds”, the design of the facility must create the conditions for this. The goal is to “become one” with the environment, i.e., an immersive experience. In addition to the design of the facility, the stories that are told within the experience world also contribute to this. The so-called “storytelling” leads to the visitors arriving fully in the “new world” and being emotionally ready to engage in the new experiences and to be touched by the beauty and uniqueness of the flora and fauna. If this is successful, important educational topics about species conservation can also be addressed and taken up by the visitors.

For the “Water Worlds”, Kieran Stanley describes the planned visitor experience as follows: “The basic idea is, of course, to build a species-appropriate home for the animals with large enclosures. In addition, we are creating a Nordic experience landscape with dunes, artificial beaches, and rocks, as well as architecture and planting derived from northern coasts, so that visitors can immerse themselves in this world and become a part of it. For the younger guests, there is a play area with a maritime look to let off steam. The animals’ technology and stables are also embedded in the landscape as Nordic fishermen’s huts. Another highlight are the underwater views. Below a pier with a beacon, visitors can “dive down” between sea lions and seals and become a part of the underwater world. Even families with prams and anyone with disabilities can enjoy themselves, as all paths are of course planned to be barrier-free.”

A particular challenge, which at the same time makes the “Water Worlds” special, was the integration of new areas into the existing environment of the zoo, such as the already existing gastronomy. This creates synergy effects that condense the visitor experience and at the same time optimize the zoo’s management. From the terrace of the zoo restaurant, visitors can now look directly at the “Water Worlds” and relax and watch the animals during breaks in the restaurant. This in turn extends the length of stay and at the same time enriches visitors with special experiences and impressions.

However, before the Nordic world of experience with underwater views could grow to a height at Osnabrück Zoo, excavators and cranes had to be brought in. At the beginning of the construction work, the area of the old enclosures of the Humboldt penguins and the pink pelicans as well as the Children’s Land had to be razed to the ground. More than 4,500 cubic meters of earth were removed, because the total of six pools for sea lions and seals needed space and so an excavation of up to four meters depth was necessary. The earth moved corresponds to a considerable 8,700 tonnes. Afterwards, construction workers laid the technology. For the water technology alone, about 750 meters of raw and clean water pipes and 15 operating pumps were needed to keep the circuits of the “water worlds” running. All pipelines in total amount to about 1575 meters. Only after all the technical work had been completed were the pools poured with concrete. About 2,500 tonnes of concrete were needed to create the pools and the rocky landscape of 1,100 square meters. This was followed by the finishing work with cladding and timber construction. Finally, the landscaping with thematically matching plants gave the “water worlds” their characteristic appearance.

The 5,000 square meter facility also proves itself in terms of sustainability. The environmental aspect of the investment was already particularly important in the planning of the “Water Worlds”. Particularly noteworthy is the innovative filter technology for the huge water basins, which uses fiber balls to make it necessary to change the water only every one to two years – with about 2.4 million liters of water and a saving of about 10 million liters annually, this is a big plus for the environment and the zoo budget.

Overall, nature conservation is an important aspect of the planning and was expressly written into the specifications of the general planners for the architecture and landscape planning. The zoo planners also attached great importance to preserving the old trees and successfully exploited all possible synergies with existing buildings.

The zoo spent just over a year building the new animal world and was able to keep to all time frames despite Corona and delivery bottlenecks. “The challenge was the tight schedule due to funding and also the limited space on the site. However, we managed to both use the space efficiently and create a special setting with a lot of flair that takes visitors away from their everyday lives into a holiday atmosphere,” Kieran Stanley is pleased to say. The tendering and project management of the “Water Worlds” was carried out by the architecture and engineering office pbr Planungsbüro Rohling AG on behalf of dan pearlman.

With the completion of the “Water Worlds”, visitors to the zoo can expect a major highlight, as the new home for the aquatic animals is the zoo’s largest project to date and a further milestone in its development as a leisure destination. Lower Saxony’s Minister of Economic Affairs, Dr Bernd Althusmann, said at the opening of the “Water Worlds”, which were financed with the support of funds from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) via Lower Saxony’s N-Bank: “The new facilities at Osnabrück Zoo promise to be even more attractive for visitors, but also more animal welfare and environmental protection. They are creative, innovative, sustainable, and thus service oriented. I am very pleased that the state of Lower Saxony has helped to continue the success story of Osnabrück Zoo.”