The historic Budapest Zoo is planning to expand with a complex new indoor enclosure during the next couple of years, developed on the grounds of City Park’s decommissioned Amusement Park. The huge interior space of the biodome will provide many animals with a balmy environment similar to their own original habitats all year long, separated from the noises and cold weather of the outside world. The plans were praised by leading zoologists from 14 countries.
As we previously reported, the Budapest Zoo and Botanical Garden is now 150 years old, and looking to the future, it’s planning to implement a number of innovations in the coming years, inspired by a motivation to improve the experience of visitors while also improving living conditions for the zoo’s animal residents. The latter is a very important consideration, as zoos like this are often accused of presenting the species in environments and climates that are very different from their original habitats, and can be less than animal-friendly.
In Hungary this is partly because it takes a lot of energy to provide the animals with the suitable climate and constant temperature as the seasonschange. However, providing warmer conditions for animals from more tropical climates would mean that more visitors can enjoy the zoo during Hungary’s colder seasons as well. There’s nothing more depressing than to take your child to a late-fall or winter stroll through the zoo, and to stand in front of an empty rock, trying to read the name of the animal written on the small information plate, who wisely decided to stay inside the heated cave instead of parading around in its open-air enclosure.
The biodome is not without precedent here, as the Budapest Zoo’s Palm House and the Aquarium are both places that can be visited all year long. According to plans, these kinds of presentation areas could be enlarged in the future as the so-called Pannon Park, and the greenhouse-like biodome will provide a pleasant landscaped environment, a spacious visitors’ area, and a comfortable stable climate where animals ranging from chimpanzees to elephants could live in suitable, modern habitats.
After the Amusement Park went bankrupt in 2010, it was decided that the BudapestZoo could expand on its territory. Despite this being positive news, the experts who were in charge of this operation were faced with a problem, as this area is in front of a busy road overpass with ten lanes, which makes it far from being a healthy environment for animals. To resolve this, they came up with the idea of a closed area which will improve the state of the environment with its new green areas.
Designed by Mérték Architectural Studio Ltd, the new indoor enclosure will have rich flora, a small river suitable for boat rides, an educationalarea, and exhibition corridors. More immediately planned for other sections of the erstwhile Amusement Park grounds, a new children’s zoo and Mesepark (meaning “Fairytale Park”), located behind the still-functioning carousel, will be open for visitors from 2017.
Based on the incredible designs, by the 2020s the Budapest Zoo could become a melting pot of the architectural and zoological traditions of the past 150 years and the modern vision for animal displays and visitor experiences in every season.