What a zoo: Grand Junction firm supplies panels for renovations

Mark Johnson

A Grand Junction-based company engineered, manufactured and installed 13 acrylic panels for renovations to an historic museum at the Toledo Zoo.

Reynolds Polymer Technology provided the panels for exhibits at the ProMedica Museum of Natural History at the zoo.

“Our highly engineered acrylic panels allowed Toledo Zoo to transform this space from the traditional zoo or museum experience to one that further engages visitors and embraces multiple senses,” said Mark Johnson, vice president of global sales and marketing at Reynolds Polymer.

Curved and flat acrylic panels of various sizes were incorporated into stream and wetlands exhibits as well as a sturgeon touch tank. The panels for the sturgeon touch tank measure nearly 20 feet long. The exhibits take visitors into immersive ecosystems that include such free-roaming animals as birds and butterflies.

“The work we produce truly transports attendees into a new realm of possibilities and education,” Johnson said. “The ProMedica Museum of Natural History revitalization project is a perfect example of how institutions are evolving to include inventive and cutting edge design to further merge learning with memorable experiences.”

Reynolds Polymer worked with the Buehrer Group on the project.

The exhibits officially opened May 31 after two years of renovations to the building, which was constructed in the 1930s to house what was originally called the Toledo Museum of Science. The project cost $27 million.

“The final result of the ProMedica Museum of Natural History at the Toledo Zoo revitalization is phenomenal, and we are thrilled to have preserved the original architecture and history while still making a participatory and engaging space for our guests,” said Jennifer Van Horn, vice president of construction and planning at the Toledo Zoo.

“Reynolds’ involvement — including design, construction and unmatched mastery of acrylic work — truly set the tone for our vision of the sturgeon touch tank, wetlands exhibit and Hellbender Stream,” Van Horn said. “These one-of-a-kind activities allow visitors to fully immerse themselves in learning about biodiversity and engaging with unique animals found in our own backyard.”

The project at the ProMedica Museum of Natural History is the latest for a company that’s manufactured acrylic panels for the largest aquariums in the world as well as other water attractions, architectural features and scientific instruments. Those projects include the 50-foot-tall AquaDom aquarium in a Berlin hotel, a 130-foot indoor waterfall at the Changi Airport in Singapore and LUX-ZEPLIN experiment in South Dakota to detect dark matter.