13th August, 2018

A Trip to the Zoo: Penguins, Polar Bears & Plastic Lumber

Visiting the zoo is a fun experience for folks of all ages and backgrounds. Whether the zoo is large or small, there is so much to see and do; a great place to learn about animals and experience something different than our daily routine. We all have our favorite exhibits or “must-see” animal of the day.

While the animals are the stars of the show, the facility itself is also quite spectacular. One minute you’re in the Arctic watching penguins swim, play and fight over who gets the first fish, and the next you’re in the swamp watching an alligator sunbathe. It’s amazing how you can go from one climate to another in a matter of seconds.  

There are many components and moving pieces in addition to the animal enclosures that are a huge part of the animal park. Oftentimes, these elements get overlooked because the focus is on the animals, and rightfully so. However, these structures are quite magnificent and a lot of planning and designing are required.

These structures allow us to mosey through the zoo, take a seat if we are tired, and without these structures, the experience would be quite different. Oftentimes constructed using traditional wood, metal and concrete, these structures keep us and the animals safe and secure. Plastic lumber is a newer addition that is strong and durable and can replace traditional building materials.

Structural Recycled Plastic Lumber Benefits

Plastic lumber has major benefits over traditional building materials that can increase the life-cycle of the project and reduce maintenance costs over time. Unlike traditional wood, our materials are truly low-maintenance in that it will not rot, splinter or degrade. It doesn’t need to be painted, stained or chemically-treated and is safe for both animals and humans. Recycled plastic lumber holds up in extreme environments including high moisture, extreme heat and cold, snow and rain. Therefore, you won’t need to replace the material as often, and with a 50-year warranty, our products are built to last.

Zoo Applications

Durable and strong recycled plastic lumber can replace traditional building materials for many zoo applications. Below are a few of the most common projects when using structural recycled plastic lumber:

Boardwalks & Substructure

Boardwalks and walkways must be functional, structurally sound, durable and visually-appealing. It’s important to note that there are two main components that make up a boardwalk: the substructure that provides a level surface, distributes weight evenly and protects the top boards from environmental exposure like water, moisture and dirt. There is also the top of the boardwalk that is visible and must be sturdy and sustainable. Structural recycled plastic lumber can be fortified with fiberglass for additional strength and support, which is needed for substructure and boardwalk projects. Able to withstand extreme environments, plastic lumber is best-suited for both of these projects so zoo-goers can focus their eyes on the animals instead of the ground they walk on.

Fencing Systems

Fencing and containment systems provide protection, set boundaries and are visually-appealing. Traditional wooden fences are no longer the only option, with many building materials like metal and PVC, it can be a challenge finding the best solution for your specific fencing application. If your fence will be exposed to any environmental elements like wind, moisture, rain, extreme heat or cold, other materials may break down over time, causing the need to replace. This can be very costly and time consuming. However, plastic lumber is proven to withstand harsh environments, will not rot, break or degrade and is strong enough to take a beating from your animals too.

Benches & Tables

When constructing and installing benches and tables, longevity and low-maintenance are important building material traits. These structures must be durable, long-lasting and able to endure heavy usage on a regular basis. Recycled plastic lumber will outlast wooden slats, provide a comfortable resting place to view animals without the fear of splinters in your back (or backside), and give your project a finished look that could even be as visually-appealing as the animals.

Signage & Trail Posts

Signs and trail markers help navigate visitors through the zoo facility. These navigational helpers must be durable and sturdy and hold up in the rain, sleet or shine. With plastic lumber, you can engrave the signs and eliminate painting, so you won’t have confuse your visitors with run-down or faded signs.

Sheds & Above-Ground Storage

You can never have enough storage space. Sheds are built above ground and provide extra room so you can store your cleaning supplies and other materials. Plastic lumber is a great choice for sheds and above-ground storage projects because it is truly low-maintenance; it doesn’t need to be painted or stained to keep up appearances. Constructing your shed with structural recycled plastic lumber will keep those supplies fresh and protected through all kinds of weather.

Custom Designs

One of the many wonderful things about a zoo is the innovation and creative freedom in the design and build. While the aforementioned applications are common, unique and unconventional structural designs are also available. With our in-house engineering team available, every design is important and our team can help make it a reality.

Have an idea for a project? Want to learn more about structural recycled plastic lumber?

Contact us to get all of your questions answered and get started on your project today!