The Journey to Churchill exhibit is the latest addition to the Assiniboine Park Zoo renovation in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Along with the newly opened International Polar Bear Conservation Center, it will be the preeminent polar bear and seal facility in the world. It will set the standard for polar bear exhibits and rehabilitation facilities.
The Journey to Churchill exhibit will be the crown jewel of the zoo and will display polar bears in as natural of a setting as possible. Polar bears will have three separate, large areas to roam. Each area represents a different ecological setting ranging from the tundra, to a rocky shore, to open ocean/water.
The water exhibit, called Sea Ice Passage, is the principal feature of the project and consists of two separate exhibits; a 260,000 gallon polar bear exhibit and a 100,000 gallon ringed seal exhibit. These outdoor exhibits have an acrylic underwater tunnel which visitors can experience the animals’ underwater habitat. The tunnel travels through both polar bear and seal pools providing a one-of-a-kind experience.
MWH Global is providing detailed aquatic life support system design and engineering services and construction support for the project. Each exhibit has its own dedicated treatment system. Water treatment systems include high‐rate sand filtration, ozone, ultraviolet (UV), bio‐filtration, degassing, and temperature control. All of these methods work together to control turbidity, color, bacteria levels, nitrates, phosphates, dissolved oxygen, pH, and other water quality parameters. Each exhibit has an automated controls system which will monitor water quality, control operation of the treatment system, and alert staff when changes occur.
The Sea Ice Passage is unique in that the exhibit is outdoors and will be operated during the brutal Canadian winters. A robust temperature control system is provided to keep the pools from freezing. However, it is planned to allow part of the ringed seal exhibit to freeze to mimic the natural winter habitat of the seals providing an opportunity to study the formation of sea ice. Visitors will be able to view the seals beneath the ice which is the first of its kind in the world.
In addition to ensuring excellent water quality and clarity, the zoo has a commitment to reduce its burden on local resources and carbon footprint. MWH has provided a backwash recovery system to recover, clean, and reuse spent water. This significantly reduces the amount of water discharged to the sewer and the amount of water added to the exhibits.
- Aquatic Life Support System Design
- Engineering Services
- Construction Support
- Sustainable design allows for reduced water demand without jeopardizing animal health, allowing for reduced operational costs
- The project includes cold water engineering
- One-of-a-kind opportunities to see polar bears and seals above ground and below water
- Each major exhibit has its own dedicated treatment system
- Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
- 49.8997541, -97.1374937