Temaikén’s Aviary is the biggest in South America and holds around 2,500 birds that live inside and outside the big net structures. Visitors can walk through the Aviary´s path to see the birds in their own continent´s environments. Hampton-Rivoria Architects designed the 40-foot high Aviary, which is features a triangular-section stainless steel bridge and a strong high-tech Invisinet.
Once a flat pampa landscape, the biopark is now a lush habitat complete with local plants, materials and landscapes to make animals feel a little bit at home. Designed by renowned local graphic designer firm Shakespear Studio, the signage can be understood by non-readers and shows each animal´s conservation status. The concrete path along the biopark was tastefully decorated with plant imprints and footprints (which are made with a stamp and not by walking ducks through concrete!)
The whole park is wheelchair-friendly, and the buildings are mostly hidden from view, like the amazing underground Aquarium. A 10-inch thick acrylic sheet separates the sharks, manta rays and other sea creatures from the public, and its salted water gets filtered by the hour. The spectacular 11-foot high aquarium offers a 360-degree view, and kids can participate in cool activities that include sleeping overnight with the sharks!
There is also a whole section dedicated to local animals from Patagonia, and within La Chacra (The Ranch), kids can milk the cows, feed the chicken and enjoy the organic vegetable garden. Some animals, like the Colobus Monkeys, have an outdoor area for summer and an indoors one full of hammocks and ropes to train their natural abilities and avoid boredom. Many animals even have their own comfortable “bedrooms” located at the biopark’s periphery in addition to their daytime spaces.
Temaikén has a whopping 5 sewage treatment plants that provide clean saltwater and river water at different temperatures while recycling animal waste through a non-toxic technology called Ozone. After going through the plants, waste is properly disposed of and clean water goes back to the Rio de la Plata. We have been told that the hippos need a treatment plant just for themselves!
The Veterinary Hospital collects rainwater from the roof and has big windows so people can see the animals being treated inside while they get plenty of natural light. Founded by the wife of Argentine multimillionaire Perez Companc, Temaikén is the only certified member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums in South America.
The name Temaikén comes from native tribe Tehuelches, were Tem means Land and Aikén, Life. A great day out if you are around Buenos Aires and a reminding that to be able to look after nature, we have to first get to know it!
Photo © Ana Lisa Alperovich for Inhabitat