General Contractor Pacific Building Group was recently honored by the Association of General Contractors of America, Inc., San Diego Chapter, at the organization’s annual Build San Diego Awards with a Unique Special Project Merit Award for Walkabout Australia, at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

Walkabout Australia, an immersive 3.6-acre exhibit, is home to kangaroos, wallabies, tree kangaroo, cassowaries and other animals, who live among naturalistic habitats that simulate the native Australian environment’s desert outback, rich grasslands, dense rainforests and wetlands.

Completed by Pacific Building Group in May 2018, the exhibit allows guests to walk among the wildlife.

Throughout the exhibit, Pacific Building Group created an 8-foot-wide path that guides park guests along several animal habitats and through the open grasslands where kangaroos and wallabies roam freely. To achieve an immersive experience reminiscent of vintage, rural Australia, Pacific Building Group created custom rock and water formations, repurposed wood and metal to construct the exhibit’s barns, incorporated the use of custom acid baths to create rust and stamped concrete with intricate leaves and other patterns.

Pacific Building Group adopted the mission of San Diego Zoo Global, the nonprofit operator of the San Diego Zoo Safari Park and San Diego Zoo, to save species worldwide throughout the entirety of the project. Melding their skills in project management and tenant improvements with the zoo’s expertise in animal and plant care and conservation science, the entities created an inspiring exhibit that further achieves this mission.

A pioneer in the concept of open-air exhibits that recreate natural animal habitats, San Diego Zoo Global has continually turned to Pacific Building Group for projects that take into account the safety and wellness of animals, plants and people. For the Walkabout Australia exhibit, Pacific Building Group not only minimized disturbances for guests but also created a customized cost plan for the project. The two teams also met multiple times a week to modify the design and ensure animal and tree safety.

The end result: an interactive and immersive experience that more than 1 million guests will enjoy annually.