Bird up close

Tropics Renovation

Wichita, KS

When Sedgwick County Zoo noticed a decline in the breeding habits of its jungle birds, it didn’t take long to determine that low levels of UV light were the likely culprit. TESSERE was enlisted to renovate the existing jungle building, one of the Zoo’s most popular features, in a way that brought the sunlight indoors. The solution came in the form of ETFE (ethylene tetrafluoroethylene), a lightweight, durable, transparent plastic polymer that can be used in place of traditional glass. This material is optimal for energy retention, can last for decades, and allows for better light transmission, improving both living conditions for jungle inhabitants and guest experience. Sedgwick County Zoo is the second institution in North America to use this material in its design.

Project Details

The new roof has allowed for increased flexibility for plant life, with a new highlight being the exotic species wall, featuring a large collection of orchids. Ambient air temperature is maintained at 80 degrees with 50 to 70 percent humidity, creating a genuinely tropical environment.
But the transformation didn’t stop at the roof. The entire jungle building infrastructure was overhauled to include new HVAC, mechanical, and electrical systems. An all-new animal collection, including flighted birds, giant fruit bats, new aquatic species, and small mammals, now calls Tropics “home.” In addition to new animals, all-new planting, interpretives, and habitats combine to create a vastly improved guest experience.


Think of what we could create together. Please get in touch.