Centrally located opposite the main parking area of the 26-acre Stone Zoo, the new Welcome Plaza provides guest services for individual and group admissions, information, stroller rentals, gift shop and restroom facilities. These entry accommodations are arrayed around a new landscaped plaza with painted steel and western red cedar pergolas fronting each of the new buildings. The new Welcome Plaza creates a sense of spatial enclosure and connection to diverse collection of animals and habitats to be experienced inside. The modular buildings are clad in thermally modified poplar wood, which blends effectively with the pergola materials and landscaped grounds of the zoo.
The Welcome Plaza has already begun to improve visitor perceptions of the zoo and will continue to increase visitor satisfaction by establishing a strong first impression and sense of anticipation for the experience. Upon departure, it will reinforce the Stone Zoo’s global message to “protect and sustain the natural world.”