Dallas Zoo Simmons Hippo Outpost

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project at a glance

The Dallas Zoo’s 2.2-acre Simmons Hippo Outpost is an African waterhole habitat that features a new exhibit for two super-sized Nile hippopotamuses and Red River hogs, as well as an enhanced home for the zoo’s okapi herd. The project also includes a Hippo Barn and the Highland Hippo Hut, which offers interactive and educational experiences and a view of both animal exhibits.

A 24-foot by eight-foot underwater viewing window into the 120,000-gallon watering hole pool brings guests eye-to nostril with the Nile hippos. Other features included shotcrete rock outcroppings, mud banks, raised planters, and a waterfall, as well as two separate zookeeper’s demonstration areas, where staff can connect with visitors about conservation efforts to protect the world’s third-largest land mammal. The exhibit also conducts similar demonstrations on a ridge above, where a herd of okapi roam in an area that offers zoo-goers an up-close opportunity to visit those solitary, distant relatives of giraffes.

The public plaza of the Hippo Outpost features themed walkways, donor brick pavers, lush landscaping, and a radial wood deck surrounding the “Tree of Life”, a large bur oak that is the focal point of the exhibit entrance. The Outpost is located along the path of an elevated monorail that runs throughout the zoo, providing another unique viewpoint for guests.

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