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Project overview

Business Unit(s)


Year Completed



Dallas Zoo Management, Inc. | City of Dallas

Client Industry


Scope of Work

New Construction


CLR Design Inc.


Self-Perform Operations

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Dallas Zoo Simmons Hippo Outpost

Hippo Outpost

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 and an enhanced home for the zoo’s okapi herd. The project also includes a Hippo Barn and the Highland Hippo Hut, offering interactive and educational experiences and viewing animal exhibits.


Watering Hole

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, a waterfall, and 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 roams in an area that offers zoo-goers an up-close opportunity to visit those solitary, distant relatives of giraffes.

The Life Support System (LSS) recycles the 120,000-gallon pool in 50 minutes while removing waste and providing clarity to the water for the health of the hippos and the underwater viewing experience. A system of pipes, pumps, screens, and filters clean and purify all the water in the Hippo habitat and three smaller holding pools in the Hippo barn.

Highland Hippo Hut

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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