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Bringing Dreams to Life: The Art of Construction at Zoo Miami

By Emilio Criado President of Lunacon Construction Group
By Emilio Criado President of Lunacon Construction Group

Hello, everyone! Emilio here from Lunacon Construction Group, and I’m thrilled to share a behind-the-scenes look at one of our most enchanting projects to date, hidden in the heart of Zoo Miami. Today, we’re diving into the creation of a simulated environment that blurs the lines between imagination and reality, reminding us of the magical settings found in Disney parks. This leads us to the creation of the fallen tree, constructed from steel, mesh, and concrete. A very important piece in our themed area that aims to transform a part of the zoo into a landscape inspired by a storybook world.

The Vision

Our goal was to create an engaging experience for zoo visitors, one that transports them into a world where nature’s beauty intertwines with the magic of imagination. To achieve this, we started by constructing a simulated fallen tree, a structure that not only adds to the thematic depth of the area but also serves as a testament to the innovative techniques in themed construction.

Collaborative Efforts

Making this vision a reality required the expertise and collaboration of several teams. We’re working closely with Cemrock Landscape Inc, a company based in Arizona known for their exceptional work in creating realistic themed environments. Together, we’re bringing to life a piece of nature that, while artificial, feels as real and awe-inspiring as the natural world.

Expanding the Vision: The Amphitheater Project

Erik Myers of ELM ARCH, the project’s architect, introduces another fascinating component – the Amphitheater Project. Lunacon’s partnership with Zoo Miami extends to this venture, where we’re creating a holding area for animals participating in stage shows. More than just a backstage space, the front exhibit.

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The concrete wall surrounding this area will be transformed into beautiful rock work, echoing the thematic design we’ve established with the fallen tree. This continuity in design underscores our commitment to creating immersive experiences for zoo visitors.

The Making of a Fallen Tree

Let’s explore the details of what makes this project so special. The fallen tree is not just a prop; it’s a meticulously designed steel structure, a skeleton that forms the base of our lifelike creation. Yamil, Lunacon’s Superintendent, plays a vital role in overseeing its construction, ensuring every detail contributes to the overall authenticity and durability of the tree

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Construction Techniques

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Steel Framework: The core of the tree is a robust steel frame, designed to withstand the elements and provide structural integrity.

Mesh Wrapping: Over the frame, we wrap a mesh that acts as an art surface for the shotcrete, a technique that allows us to sculpt the tree with precision.

Shotcrete Application: The application of shotcrete over the mesh gives us the flexibility to mold the tree’s features, from its rugged bark to the intricate details that make it come alive.

Simulated Rock: Adjacent to the tree, we’re constructing a simulated rock wall using the same process. This wall, standing 15 feet tall, not only complements the tree but also enhances the area’s naturalistic feel. The chocolate finish on the rock surfaces adds a final touch of realism, tying the entire scene together.

The Impact

This project at Zoo Miami is not just a construction; it’s about creating a space that awakens people’s curiosity and admiration for nature’s artistry. By blending structural engineering with creative design, we’re not just building environments; we’re crafting experiences that will remain in the memories of visitors long after they’ve left. 

Stay tuned for more updates as we continue to transform Zoo Miami into a magical haven, where every corner tells a story, and every detail invites you to embark on an adventure. At Lunacon Construction Group, we’re not just constructors; we’re storytellers, dreamers, and creators, dedicated to bringing the impossible to life.

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