The “Madagascar” building is 100 years old. Before the cockroaches and crocodiles moved in, lions used to live there.
The building is cooled in summer (and heated in winter) with the help of a geothermal well—a big pump that takes water really deep (1,500 feet—roughly equivalent to the height of the Empire State Building!) into the ground, and lets the earth make it hotter or cooler.
Lots of recycled materials went into making “Madagascar!” When you walk on the soft, spongy rainforest paths in the exhibit, you’re really walking on old tires.
Thanks to the eco-conscious design, WCS anticipates that the “Madagascar!” site will be the first landmark in New York City to get a “green” stamp of approval from the U.S. Green Building Council. Many new buildings have received such recognition, but it’s much harder to renovate an old building and make it green.