Archives for the month of: April, 2020

“The El Paso Zoo celebrates the value of animals and natural resources and creates opportunities for people to rediscover their connection to nature.”

Looking for an activity to do for Earth Day, visit the El Paso Zoo and its latest exhibit, the Chihuahuan Desert. The El Paso Zoo is a 35-acre facility that houses animals representing over 220 species, including critically endangered species. Accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA), the El Paso Zoo celebrates the value of animals and natural resources and creates opportunities for people to rediscover their connection to nature.

El Paso Zoo Chihauhuan Desert Exhibit incorporates a natural exposed aggregate desert trail and walking path throughout and around the exhibit.The Chihuahuan Desert Exhibit showcases North America’s most diverse desert that encompasses the El Paso and Northern Mexico regions. The exhibit tells the story of the Chihuahuan Desert giving visitors the opportunity to experience not only the land, but the animals that surround them every day such as peccaries, wild turkeys, jack rabbits and includes key mammals such as Mexican grey wolves, mountain lions, and jaguars; birds including sand hill cranes, and barn owls; reptiles such as the bolson tortoise and coach whip snake; and arachnids such as scorpions, tarantulas, and black widow spiders.

Illustrating the habitat of an El Paso Texas Backyard, El Paso Zoo director Steve Marshall states “Our central goal with the new Chihuahuan Desert Exhibit is to inspire our visitors to go explore these biomes in our nearby, fantastic National and State Parks and even their own backyards – where they can make a personal, incredible impact on conservation.”

PGAV Destinations, a global attraction and exhibit design firm, worked on this mega million-dollar project that encompasses just 2.3 acres. “One of the greatest challenges of El Paso’s new exhibit space is incorporating an expansive set of animals into just over two acres, while ensuring that it is beautiful, tells a rich and cohesive story, and is healthy for the animals,” said John Kemper, vice president PGAV Destinations. “By overcoming that challenge, we intend to instill wonder in guests at the vast biodiversity in their own backyards and inspire them to explore the nearby wilderness and take action in conservation.”

With plans in place and everyone working towards the same design goals, Bomanite Artistic Concrete & Pools worked with PGAV Destinations and the El Paso Zoo on the decorative concrete surfaces that consisted of three different styles of implementation. To achieve the desert landscape with the natural ecosystem of plants and animals, natural stone patterns and aggregates were chosen.

El Paso Zoo Chihauhuan Desert Exhibits with Bomanite Imprinted Concrete Systems showcasing the Bomacron Garden Stone pattern installed by Bomanite Artistic Concrete from El Paso, TX replicating a Desert Riverbed.As Visitors enter the exhibit they come through a recreated arroyo (a dry riverbed, which in nature, floods with water during times of heavy rain), The Bomacron Garden Stone pattern with a natural English slate texture consists of varying sizes of stones that range from ½” x 1” up to 15” x 21” providing a realistic approach to replicating the desert rock riverbed landscape of boulders down to small pebbles. A total of 15,000 square feet of imprinted concrete pattern was installed using Bomanite Sand Integral Color for the base along with varying Bomanite Color Hardeners of Autumn Brown and Forrest Brown. A Bomanite Clear Sealer was applied for future protection from the outdoor elements.

El Paso Zoo Chihauhuan Desert Exhibits with Bomanite Imprinted Concrete Systems showcasing the Bomacron Garden Stone pattern installed by Bomanite Artistic Concrete from El Paso, TX replicating a Desert Riverbed.Upon entrance, visitors are greeted with a striking new Mexican Grey Wolf sculpture by artist Andy Dufford. The exhibit design was carefully composed to preserve a large number of existing mature trees; which, along with ample new shade structures, make the area comfortable and inviting for visitors while maintaining their sustainability goals. The nearby prairie dog habitat offers an interactive feature for visitors to meet the animals nose-to-nose through pop-up domes and crawl spaces.

An essential part of the overall geography and lifelike scene was an implemented 45’ mountain, inspired by incredible rock features in the nearby Hueco Tanks State Park & Historic Site. To reveal the power and dangers of storms in the nearby deserts, the mountain recirculates 10,000 gallons of water every five minutes to give visitors a simulation of a flash flood. The central habitat of the mountain range is home to jaguars and mountain lions, which allows the zoo to be able to rotate animals through the exhibits and be visible from all sides. A mesh barrier separates the big cats from habitats at the base of the mountain where numerous herbivores graze among native plants, all seemingly inhabiting the same exhibit.

El Paso Zoo Chihauhuan Desert Exhibit incorporates a natural exposed aggregate desert trail and walking path throughout and around the exhibit.An additional feature of walking paths invite visitors to pass beneath two abandoned bridges that allow jaguars to cross between the mountain and their individual exhibit spaces. The native desert trail of 850 square feet was composed of a Natural Exposed Aggregate Concrete Finish that winds its way in and out of areas and directs visitors also to covered viewing bridge decks. The dilapidated designed bridges provide shade for visitors and viewing areas of many other animals such as the Harris Hawk, Thick-billed Parrot, Ocelot and the White Nose Coati. The Bomacron 6” Random Boardwalk pattern was used with Autumn Brown Color Hardener and a Walnut Brown Bomanite Release Agent. To give it that worn aged look accents in Forest Brown were added and then the 717 square feet of textured and imprinted concrete was given a final seal.

El Paso Zoo Chihauhuan Desert Exhibits with Bomanite Imprinted Concrete Systems using the Bomacron 6” Random Boardwalk pattern that resembles wood plank for the viewing bridge decks.Bomanite Imprint Systems is a cast-in-place concrete that adds a distinctive architectural touch to any project, that also incorporates durability to stand up to the toughest traffic loads and environmental conditions. You can choose from many natural textures including slate, granite, limestone, sandstone, cobblestone, used brick and wood to upgrade plain concrete or asphalt, or alternatively reduce the cost and maintenance of natural paving materials and simulate real world habitats.

“With the opening of the Chihuahuan Desert, we aim to motivate guests and their families to go and explore these stunning and varied environments in our surrounding State and National Parks,” said El Paso Zoo director Joe Montisano. “From the wonders of wildlife in their own backyards to the natural Chihuahuan Desert itself, we hope to facilitate personal connections that inspire real conservation action on the part of our visitors.”

To visit the zoo and view the animals virtually visit http://www.elpasozoo.org/zoo-cameras

 

Be Brave. Take a Chance. Change Your Life. These words are the mantra of Nickel & Suede, believing that trying something new can change your life. What started out in a basement and now has become a multimillion-dollar business with a 12,500 square foot facility for their Headquarters, Nickel & Suede just opened their flagship store with many more retail spaces to come.

The Missouri local, Kilee Nickels and her husband Soren tell the story of how the idea and need for a pair of statement earrings became a bigger than life moment.

Kilee’s simple teardrop design made from a leather purchase inspired by her family’s previous belt business was an immediate success and she set about making earrings for others. Kilee and her husband, Soren Nickels founded Nickel & Suede in 2014 and have grown the company to thirty employees while keeping their product made in the United States. The Kansas City couple creates lightweight, statement earrings made of leather and high-quality materials such as 14 karat gold. They started their company in the basement of their home but quickly outgrew the space and knew they needed to expand. They reached out to Kansas City based Hufft Design, recognized as one of the top 50 design firms by Architect Magazine, to help them create a plan for growth. Hufft designed their retail store in their new 12,500 square-foot headquarters in Liberty, Missouri. The facility is a master’s course in retail design, providing a refined shopping experience that evokes the quality of the Nickel & Suede products. Hufft designed the Nickel & Suede floor system with a honey-colored wood island inset into a Bomanite Custom Polished concrete floor.

Bomanite Licensee, Musselman & Hall Contractors, LLC had previously worked with Hufft on their award-winning designs for the Tuft & Needle store in Overland Park, Kansas. The contractor and designers had worked together to choose a polishable overlay for the Tuft & Needle shopfront that would allow minimal issues with transitions, but still create a durable and attractive floor. That first installation ended up being just the ticket, so Hufft decided to utilize the same high performance self-leveling concrete polish overlay, Bomanite Modena SL in the Nickel & Suede flagship shop. The overlay was to be installed at only ⅜” thick, so preparation was key. The Musselman & Hall foreman, Johnathon Eggert, and his crew used large abrasive diamond grinders to profile the entire interior floor as preparation for the overlay. A five-man crew was able to place the entire floor in just one day using small onsite mixers. The new flooring overlay only needed 24 hours to cure before it could be finished. Diamond tooling was used to polish the floor to a satin finish. A Bomanite penetrating sealer was applied to provide resistance against stains while still keeping a low maintenance surface. The warm gray floors show no perceptible aggregate and are an integral part of the overall design aesthetic.

Soren Nickels had this to say about his experience, “We wanted to build up the concrete floor to the level of our decorative inset, while going for a refined concrete look. We were introduced to Musselman & Hall with the understanding that their creative work in concrete concepts would give us some trustworthy options. This definitely proved to be the case. We wanted to avoid any surprises, so we let our trust in their experience lead the way. We felt that the product they recommended would match what we were looking for-even with all the particulars we asked for. The team that showed up to do the work definitely proved to be careful masters of their craft. In our minds it was fine-finish work and they delivered. We even made a few last-minute adjustments that were handled with ease, flexibility and speed. ”

The finished retail interior floor is a simple, but elegant representation of the design flexibility of decorative architectural concrete and Bomanite’s diverse sustainable offering of flooring and paving systems. As Nickel & Suede continue to inspire individuals to be brave and try new things. We encourage you to imagine the possibilities and let Bomanite Decorative Concrete make those dreams a reality.

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