Reptile Exhibit at Living Desert Zoo & Gardens State Park

NAIOP Award Winner

The new Reptile Exhibit Building is located in the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens State Park, on the north edge of Carlsbad, NM. LDZGSP has been a member of the Carlsbad community since the late sixties, providing a lively, beautiful sanctuary for the townspeople and visitors alike but had always lacked a separate facility for its reptile friends. Through a capital outlay project this would soon change.

The exterior finish of the main part of the building was clad in scale-like shingles, evoking the reptiles it would eventually house. Interior passageways forced visitors to move in a sinuous way, emulating the snakes within. The building entrance is like entering a snake den. And the display of the reptiles was in an organic form with striking lighting of the exhibits themselves.

As members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, Living Desert must maintain a high standard of animal care and visitor safety. As a public facility, this is its main measure of success. It has upgraded a dilapidated and unsafe component of the zoo, and provided a welcome, fun and educational experience for all who pass through. It has increased interest in the park and therefore increased visitor stays in the area.

Project Location: 1504 Miehls Rd, Carlsbad
Owner: State of New Mexico