In its relatively short history, Cairns Wildlife Dome has won several awards and accolades, including:
Tropical North Queensland Tourism Awards: New Tourism Development, 2004.
Queensland Tourism Awards: New Tourism Development (Finalist), 2004.
Cairns & Region Export Awards: Finalist Emerging Exporter & Tourism Exporter category, 2004.
History Of The Dome
The Pullman Reef Hotel Casino’s signature glass dome was initially used as a dinner and show venue, complete with a la carte meals, cabaret and magician performances in a rainforest Conservatory setting. The venue remained disused for almost two years.
After months of conceptual design, feasibility studies and market research, Port Douglas Reef Resorts Ltd committed $2.5 million to the establishment of Cairns Wildlife Dome (formerly known as Cairns Rainforest Dome).
A lease agreement was researched in March 2003 and shortly thereafter work commenced on the redevelopment of the existing facility.
Some of the challenges faced during planning and construction included:
- Sealing the entire area so that there were no gaps more than 10mm wide.
- Transporting all construction materials via crane, delivered through an opening less than 3 metres x 3 metres wide.
- Removal of 160 tonnes of refuse via ¼ tonne dumpsters to prepare the site.
- Cranes required for use within the Dome had to be dismantled, bought in by a large crane, and reassembled inside the Dome.
- During the engineering reporting stage, the crocodile enclosure had to be relocated to a more structurally suitable position (due to the weight of the enclosure). High density polystyrene foam was used as the filler between block walls instead of sand.
- Shade-cloth was utilised to line the entire interior to prevent window strike (birds flying into the glass) and offer sun protection.
- “Goliath” our 4 metre crocodile was bought into the Dome by crane. A large (4m!) wooden box containing Goliath (with only his snout roped) was lifted, and transferred to another crane on the inside of the Dome. In all, it took about 1 ½ hrs to move him into his new home.
Cairns Wildlife Dome is made up of more then 3,000 plants, 120 tonnes of earth, 50,000 litres of filtered water. 28km of shade-cloth thread, all within 26,000 cubic metres of flight space. The Dome opened to the public on December 15, 2003, and continues to develop today, with more interactive activities and animals.