Aquatic Zoo

Mt. Vernon, IL


The safari-themed Aquatic Zoo represents the city’s long-time desire to develop a unique aquatic experience in southern Illinois. The facility is themed around a zoo atmosphere reflecting the recently-closed city zoo, which was precious to many in the Mt. Vernon area; and therefore, the “aquatic zoo” was born.

The waterpark evolved from public ideas, studies, and numerous planning hours. Multiple bodies of water, such as a lap pool and zero-depth entry leisure pool with engaging activities, were built not only for Mt. Vernon residents, but for the entire region.

Supporting the theme is the park’s mascot, Leo the Lion, a drinking fountain and longtime “resident” of the city’s Veterans Park. Leo is back-dropped by interactive animal spray features, water geysers, fountains, an alligator walk suspended between two trees, two spiral water slides that empty into a lazy river, and numerous landscaped areas that allow childlike fantasies to emerge in a jungle of grasses, flowers and trees.


Outstanding Facility and Park Award


Pool Type

Outdoor 25 Meter

Outdoor Leisure

Project Type

Parks and Recreation

Project Service

Design Services

Operations Services

Feasibility Study


Completed 2014


FGM Architects

Project Amenities

3,500 Sq. Ft. Competition Pool

Six 25-yard lap lanes with starting blocks

One and three-meter springboards

Stair entry

7,500 Sq. Ft. Leisure Pool

30-foot tall “Jungle Chute” body slide

Lazy river

266-ft. “Tropical Cyclone” dual-rider tube slide

3,600 sq. ft. “Rain Forest” Spray ground

Safari-themed play structure and spray features

Ground sprays

Audio-equipped animal spray features

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