Russia’s Grizzly Coast Exhibit and Central Plaza


Minnesota Zoo


Apple Valley, MN


12 Separate Buildings


Four acre site

Alliiance, in association with the Portico Group, collaborated with the MN Zoo to develop a four-acre site at the primary point of entry to the zoo’s outdoor exhibits. The reconfigured four acre outdoor plaza area links the entry to outdoor exhibits supporting and enhancing the guest experience.

A meandering themed pathway seamlessly links the existing amphitheater, the new Central Plaza and the Gateway to the Russia’s Grizzly Coast exhibit. The Plaza is a gathering area, featuring a dining pavilion, themed food service building, gift shop, and restroom building, all loosely organized around an interactive outdoor play area featuring a splash pad. The Plaza provides an area of rest, relaxation and refreshment at the gateway to the Russia’s Grizzly Coast exhibit. From the gateway, a carefully curated path weaves through specially designed structures, unfolding the story of the Bears of Ussuri, gateway to the Asian North exhibit, featuring Russian brown bears, sea otters and Amur leopards.

Alliiance designed twelve separate buildings to support the new exhibit and public space. Each structure is supportive of the Zoo’s mission: promoting conservation education and healthy environments while minimizing the long-term carbon footprint associated with development. The Education building is LEED Gold Certified.