“Mama, where are we?”
“We are at our new home, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana! We get to play with children who come to visit us at Greenwood Park! Some creative people at Sasaki dreamed about us and the people at BREC said YES!”
Leaning against a log tower, mama Louisiana black bear and her cub, sit upon a berm overlooking Greenwood Park and the Baton Rouge Zoo. They are a beacon to children and families, inviting visitors to play in their bear habitat. Realistic and approachable, the baby bear playfully stretches its paw out to mama as they sit among the Louisiana irises. Notched post and log play steppers, resembling Cypress tree knees, connect the creatures. A giant rope links the mama bear to the Log Tower, creating additional entrance and egress routes.
Mama bear can be played upon on her exterior or children can climb up inside the sculpture. A transfer bench provides an ADA-accessible entry, and Flexform slings and ropes give access up inside the mama bear head.
Multiple poses and postures were considered for the bear sculptures. The playful interactivity of mama and baby cub sitting together, with the animated cub, became the preferred concept.
The ambitious Master Plan for the Greenwood Park and Baton Rouge Zoo unites the existing separate destinations in the 600+ acre greenspace. The vision is to create a park that entices visitors into the heart of the park and reveals a grand gateway into a new, modernized Zoo. The Greenwood bears will be one of these enticing beacons! The master planning process included extensive public outreach and stakeholder engagement to create a common public vision for the Park and Zoo. That vision celebrates the natural wildlife areas of Louisiana, creates a park for everyday play and big events, reaches out to connect with residents and visitors, and holds the community at the heart of the design.
The Greenwood bear sculptures were featured at the 2023 Earthscape ASLA EXPO booth in San Francisco, where the Landscape Architecture team from Sasaki and the client, BREC, first met the sculptures in real life. The bears were a show favorite, attracting constant attention and playful visitors.