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Amazon River’s Edge

Caldwell Zoo | Tyler, Texas
Project Details

At the southern end of Caldwell Zoo —making up approximately 4.6 acres of the zoo and one of the zoo’s oldest areas —is the South America zone. BKP rethought this zone and transformed the ground into an exploration for visitors to experience new animal habitats and learn about the Amazon forest eco-system as they move through the newly constructed project site.

As guests enter the gateway into the new South America zone, they will encounter four main components: The River Village, Amazon River’s Edge, Jaguar Hill, and the Overhead Animal Trails. The first stop along the main path is The River Village; as guests take shade under a view shelter, they encounter the giant river otters lounging on rocks, sliding down into the water, and swimming right up to the viewing windows for “nose to nose” interactions. Adjoining the Giant River Otter Habitat is the Education and Events building. This building provides an underwater view into the otter habitat as well as a flexible event space for large events.

Visitors then spill out into the Village Plaza before they enter the Amazon River’s Edge habitat enclosure. This enclosed habitat will take guests on a journey through the Amazon Forest in a unique and engaging way; guests will encounter giant anteaters, capybara, sloths and a variety of tropical birds as they walk through the exhibit. As guests exit the Amazon River’s Edge habitat and make their way along the main plaza, they will come across small primates on their way to Jaguar Hill. At Jaguar Hill, guests can take shade under another view shelter, looking into the Jaguar Habitat, where they may see jaguars roaming the exhibit or splashing in the shallow pool at the viewing window. As guests continue up the main path, they may be followed by jaguars in the overhead trail system as they head over to the Flex Habitat. The Flex Habitat can change animal users several times during the day, with different activities set up and controlled by staff. At each habitat, guests will also experience zoo staff demonstrations as they cue each animal to perform natural tasks and behaviors as they inform guests about the animal and their habitats.


*this is an on-going project


Media Coverage

‘Amazon River’s Edge’ to add vast array of animals to Caldwell Zoo’s South American section

  • Client

    Caldwell Zoo

  • Cost

    14 million

  • Size

    4.6 acres

Renderings © bkparchitects