In 2023, the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo announced plans to update its popular sea lion exhibit. As one of the nation’s top children’s zoos, zoo leadership is committed to keeping its animal habitats and guest experience at the highest levels. The new Coastal Cove animal housing space will be just that.
Enlarged to allow new zoo residents harbor seals to live with the popular sea lions, Coastal Cove is designed to educate guests about similarities and differences between the two marine mammals. The renovated area, which will be fully inclusive and ADA accessible, will bring open views of the exhibit and the animals, as well as adding space for a behind-the-scenes tour. All these changes help to contribute to healthier and happier animals and enhance the guest experience.
Elevatus Architecture was hired to design the lighthouse that will serve as the focal point of the renovated exhibit. Designed with inspiration from the lighthouses of Puget Sound of the Pacific Northwest, the lighthouse will rise from faux rockwork “cliffs” that overlook the cove. Forced perspective by design will make the lighthouse appear larger than it really is. The lighthouse will have a working LED light that gently pulses to simulate the turning light inherit in lighthouses. An attached support structure reminiscent of the light tower will be used to store materials and salt used daily for the exhibit.
The Coastal Cove lighthouse, perched high above the crystal blue waters where sea lions and harbor seals swim, will be a beacon for the thousands of annual visitors to the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo for years to come.