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Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

Susie's Bear Hollow - Cleveland, OH

Type: New Construction

Size: 16,800 sq. ft.

Cost: $8,500,000

Services: Mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection


The state-of-the-art bear habitat consists of 4 connected areas designed to allow the bears to act as they would in the wild. Two types of bears call the area home, sloth bears and Andean bears. Amenities include climbing areas, elevated resting areas, and dig pits to encourage activity and increase mental stimulation. Zoo visitors will be able to see the bears through a glass viewing area around an immersive treehouse. Another viewing area will allow guests to witness animal care training.

Scheeser Buckley Mayfield worked closely with the animal care staff and maintenance staff to provide systems that meet the bears’ unique needs. The building included a dedicated outdoor air system with an energy recovery wheel to provide the required amount of air changes for the space. A hydronic radiant floor heating system was designed to allow half of each cage to have a warm floor for the bears. The heating system required expansion of the zoo’s existing hydronic system from an adjacent building. SBM had to coordinate clearances and pipe routing within the building to ensure the components would fit and still allow for maintenance and operation. Heated rocks were provided in the outdoor habitat to give the bears warm locations outside during the colder months.

A natural gas generator was provided for boilers and for the hotwire system. A new dedicated electrical panel was provided for the bear habitat so that its power is separated from the adjacent tiger habitat. Lighting fixtures are correctional facility grade to withstand any abuse the bears may inflict.

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo Susies Bear Hollow - Tree House SBM - 21188 Smaller.jpg
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