Pacific Building Group Completes Construction of Wildlife Explorers Basecamp at the San Diego Zoo

  1. Construction
  2. Pacific Building Group Completes Construction of Wildlife Explorers Basecamp at the San Diego Zoo
Pacific Building Group Completes Construction of Wildlife Explorers Basecamp at the San Diego Zoo

Award-winning general contractor Pacific Building Group has completed construction on the new 3.2-acre Denny Sanford Wildlife Explorers Basecamp at the San Diego Zoo. Encompassing four environmental biomes with animal habitats and landscapes associated with each, Wildlife Explorers Basecamp creates an immersive environment that encourages Wildlife Explorers of all ages to learn about nature, actively play, encounter new species and develop empathy for wildlife. The project connects the newly constructed areas with the existing infrastructure and pathways of the Zoo, while establishing new access routes for service and emergency vehicles.

With a focus on public safety, there were several unique challenges associated with the project. Pacific Building Group was tasked with working within a high-traffic area while maintaining a minimally obstructive and safe workspace. By constructing a temporary tower crane to move material and machinery, the company ensured the safety of Zoo guests and wildlife. Pacific Building Group also navigated existing storm, sewer, water, fire and electrical infrastructure while installing miles of pipes for the project’s numerous water features.

“Constructing the new Wildlife Explorers Basecamp required a carefully designed, all-hands-on-deck approach, and we couldn’t be more pleased with how everyone came together to create this extraordinary space,” says Wayne Hickey, executive vice president of Pacific Building Group. “We are grateful to have played a small part in helping the Zoo build upon its legacy of caring for nature and wildlife for generations to come.”

The project, which began in April 2019, included the integration of unique materials such as reclaimed wood, ETFE roof and wall assemblies that are transparent to welcome in light, decorative metal panels, vegetated wall systems, rubber play surfaces and more.

“Wildlife Explorers Basecamp is the largest endeavor in our organization’s history, and we were grateful to have Pacific Building Group as a partner, who helped us navigate an extremely complex project during the challenges of a global pandemic,” said Shawn Dixon, chief operating officer, San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance. “Basecamp is a place where millions of world-changers will begin their journey with nature, and learn empathy and compassion for wildlife.”

To complete the Wildlife Explorers Basecamp area and surrounding infrastructure, Pacific Building Group collaborated with vendors including CCI, Long Glazing, Progressive Steel, All Source Painting, McBride Door, Brightview, Cabral Metal Fab, Rand Engineering, Cemrock, Legacy Rock and Waterscapes, Modern Masonry, DA Whitacre, JFM, OTIS Elevator, Dyna Electric, Angelus Waterproofing, Holland Cabinets AO Reed, Burner Sheetmetal, Naton Engineering, Scott Fence, Snipes Dye, Coffman Engineers, KPFF, Junker Engineering, MA Engineering and DPA. Hanna Gabriel Wells was the lead architect.

The project opened to the public March 11, 2022.


About Pacific Building Group

Founded in 1984, Pacific Building Group earned a strong reputation as a full-service general contractor specializing in tenant improvements. As a result of its commitment to excellent service, integrity and a personal approach, the company has grown to deliver a diverse range of construction projects, including ground-up, tenant improvement, healthcare, life science, hospitality and facilities maintenance. Today, Pacific Building Group is one of the largest and most respected locally based and operated general contracting firms in San Diego County. Through its dedicated and valued team of over 150 employees who implement the company’s vision of “Delivering the highest level of service, every time,” Pacific Building Group strives to complete projects in which employees, strategic partners and the community can take pride. For more information, please visit or call (858) 552-0600.

About San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance 
San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance is a nonprofit international conservation leader, committed to inspiring a passion for nature and creating a world where all life thrives. The Alliance empowers people from around the globe to support their mission to conserve wildlife through innovation and partnerships. San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance supports cutting-edge conservation and brings the stories of their work back to the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park—giving millions of guests, in person and virtually, the opportunity to experience conservation in action. The work of San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance extends from San Diego to strategic and regional conservation “hubs” across the globe, where their strengths—including the renowned Wildlife Biodiversity Bank—are able to effectively align with hundreds of regional partners to improve outcomes for wildlife in more coordinated efforts. By leveraging these tools in wildlife care and conservation science, and through collaboration with hundreds of partners, San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance has reintroduced more than 44 endangered species to native habitats. Each year, San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance’s work reaches over 1 billion people in 150 countries via news media, social media, their websites, educational resources and San Diego Zoo Wildlife Explorers television programming, which is in children’s hospitals in 13 countries. Success is made possible by the support of members, donors and guests to the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park, who are Wildlife Allies committed to ensuring all life thrives.