WAX design studio has collaborated with adelaide zoo, in australia, to produce a small-scale upgrade of the existing colobus monkey exhibit. the new structure offers a cost-effective design solution, delivering significant benefits to the primates in terms of exhibit size, enrichment, and improved animal welfare, whilst also providing a unique visitor experience.

WAX expands monkey exhibit in adelaide zoo with elevated 'sky trail' structure
all images courtesy of WAX design 



through conversations with the zookeepers, WAX design gained a detailed understanding of the needs of the colobus and how the design could improve behavioral enrichment, as well as overall animal management. dubbed ‘sky trail’, the new structure utilizes a cylindrical weld mesh construction, integrated with the zoo’s dense vegetation, and it connects the pre-existing exhibit with the central lawn area of the zoo.

WAX expands monkey exhibit in adelaide zoo with elevated 'sky trail' structure



the cylindrical form provides the best structural performance and cross-sectional area to encourage increased animal activity, as the colobus had become extremely sedentary in their previous enclosure. two separate ‘sky trails’ have been installed to increase the former enclosure size by 100%, improving social gatherings, muscle conditioning, and the overall experience of the colobus monkeys.

WAX expands monkey exhibit in adelaide zoo with elevated 'sky trail' structure



besides tending to the monkeys’ needs, the design intends to facilitate the zookeepers’ work, by incorporating operable slides that improve and minimize the handling of the animals. furthermore, the accessible slides provide a practical solution to assist keepers in separating individual animals to reduce conflicts.

WAX expands monkey exhibit in adelaide zoo with elevated 'sky trail' structure



each colobus sky trail appears as an elevated tower, nestled alongside the pre-existing lush vegetation. the project provides a perfect viewing platform for the monkeys to peer down, whilst giving visitors a unique opportunity to see the animals up close, as they inquisitively explore and engage with the surrounding natural environment.

colobus sky trail 5



walking through the zoo, visitors are now greeted by the noisy chatter and territorial calls of the colobus troop out exploring the treetops. the previous sedentary primates, now rush back and forth as, busily grooming, gathering and watching visitors below. with its functional, creative deisng, the colobus sky trail has been recently awarded an australian institute of landscape architects south australia (AILA SA) award of excellence in the small projects category.

colobus sky trail 2

colobus sky trail 6



project info:


name: colobus sky trail
architects: WAX design
location: adelaide zoo, australia



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edited by: myrto katsikopoulou | designboom