Smithsonian National Zoo

Awarded in a best value procurement, Forrester Construction replaced the Smithsonian National Zoo’s existing Seal & Sea Lion facility with a new, state-of-the art complex.

Part of the zoo’s American Trail, the Seal & Sea Lion Exhibit provides the animals with additional space to explore in separate pools accommodating both species. An adjoining structure houses a complex marine life support system as well as caretaking and maintenance operations. Visitors have unique vantage points for observation, above and below water, and an amphitheater for demonstrations. The environment replicates the North Pacific Coast shoreline with simulated tide pools, wave machines and faux rockwork created using innovative concrete forming and placement techniques.

Forrester also led construction of the zoo’s Wolf habitat, North American Otter Exhibit and a small food service café as part of this project.

Project Location:

Washington, DC


Quinn Evans


2 acres


33 months


LEED™ PreConstruction Services

  • Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) Excellence in Construction Award l Institutional
  • Washington Building Congress (WBC) Craftsmanship Award | Underpinning, Foundations & Excavations
  • Washington Building Congress (WBC) Craftsmanship Award | Cast In Place Concrete
  • Washington Building Congress (WBC) Craftsmanship Award | Special Concrete Finishes
  • Washington Building Congress (WBC) Craftsmanship Award | Exterior Stone