PGAV Destinations  

St. Louis,  MO 
United States
  • Booth: S2

Welcome to the Asian Attractions Expo from PGAV Destinations

PGAV Destinations creates business-results-oriented master plans, pilots in-depth industry research, and designs beautiful, innovative products for destinations around the world. Now in our fifth decade of practice, our thousands of projects in more than 30 states and five continents can be found thrilling, educating, and moving guests in zoos, museums, aquariums, theme parks, resorts, and deeply valuable historic sites. We believe in the power of leisure and travel experiences to enrich lives, enhance communities, and celebrate culture, nature, and heritage. That’s why our staff of more than 100 full-time artists¸ architects, storytellers, business strategists, designers, interpreters, planners, and more work in seamless integration to empower these destinations to realize their full potential. No other firm in the world integrates such a powerfully diverse team, insightful primary and secondary research, nearly five decades of international experience, start-to-finish strategic master plans and associated destination design, and deeply-impactful storytelling to open more completed projects in more locations for a greater variety of destinations.

 Press Releases

  • PGAV Destinations publishes guest insights in the “Voice of the Visitor”

    (ST. LOUIS  – April 11, 2017) – PGAV Destinations has published its second Voice of the Visitor: 2017 Annual Outlook on the Attractions Industry.

    Conducted in conjunction with long-standing research partner H2R Market Research and global media partner BlooloopVoice of the Visitor presents the results of a study of more than 1,500 U.S. leisure attraction visitors who  either visited an attraction in 2016 or are open to doing so this year. The report serves as an essential benchmark study in understanding the U.S. attractions and travel market.

    “We use this report, an invaluable tool for attraction managers across the country, to understand guests’ intentions and interests at destinations throughout the year,” says PGAV Destinations Principal and Chair Mike Konzen. “The insights are tremendously relevant and the outlook is quite fascinating; while attraction attendance is forecasted to grow by 1.5% this year over 2016, we’re seeing a great deal of evidence of increased expectations among those guests.”

    Voice of the Visitor is a wholly unique industry forecasting report in that its findings and predictions are primarily based on feedback directly collected from destination guests themselves, rather than through observation and attendance figures. As this is the second year of publication, many of the data-points are now viewed as trend lines and begin to create pictures of increasing and decreasing patterns across the industry. Overall, 86% of respondents still intend to travel for leisure in 2017, with their top target destinations to visit including zoos, aquariums, theme parks, botanical gardens, and family entertainment centers.

    The report explores various demographic trends among 14 types of attractions, including two new attractions included in this year’s report: Dinner Theaters & Cruises and Brewery & Winery Tours. Deep insights are gained from the ever-diversifying Millennials, Baby Boomers, and Matures. Voice of the Visitor also explores: the impact of memberships and season passes, return guests, how guests perceive and use technology and social media, guests’ key delights and pain points, and how an at-times tumultuous 2016 has significantly impacted their 2017 travel plans and perceptions.

    In addition to providing overall insights on trends and intentions, the report contains a convenient reference section for destination managers to quickly review key facts and findings about their particular market.

    The full Voice of the Visitor: 2017 Annual Outlook on the Attractions Industry can be read for free at and

  • Destination Design Firm Shares Insights and National Trends in Destinology

    membership-cover-image(St. Louis, MO – December 6, 2016) – In the latest edition of their quarterly Destinology research series, St. Louis-based design firm PGAV Destinations has just published The Value of Membership: Insights into Members and Season Pass Holders.

    Conducted in partnership with H2R Market Research, the study surveyed members, nonmembers, visitors, and non-visitors of American destinations about their perception and utilization of memberships and season passes.

    “82% of American households visited an attraction in 2015, and 37% of those guests had memberships or season passes to those destinations,” says Mike Konzen, principal and chair of PGAV Destinations. “As members are an essential market segment, a key revenue driver, and considered devout supporters, we knew they would be a fascinating and illuminating demographic group to study.”

    The Value of Membership features an insightful interview with Ann Hobing, Senior Director of Business Growth at Cincinnati Museum Center (CMC). This destination is currently experiencing an intriguing membership challenge because a majority of the facility is closed for two years as it undergoes renovations and remodeling. “Today, I cannot emphasize enough that [membership] means curating a guest-centric practice philosophy, putting guests first and listening critically to all of their feedback and concerns,” says Hobing. “It’s that honesty and authenticity that really empowers our ability to enrich the guest experience and retain members.”

    The Destinology report explores the demographic make-up of members and season pass holders across the country, breaking down the results by generation, family composition, income, proximity to attractions, and more. It also investigates the “journey” for destination guests to become members, including how long it takes them to consider purchasing the membership or season pass and what are some of the key influencers in making that decision.

    This issue of Destinology reveals reasons why people choose not to purchase season passes and memberships, and what destination managers can do to help mitigate their concerns. Another focus section highlights key demographics and behavior trends of members at specific types of destinations, including zoos and aquariums, theme parks and water parks, and museums.

    The Value of Membership can be read in full at the following link, and interested readers can subscribe for hard copies of this issue of Destinology, as well as other informative PGAV Destinations’ national research studies here.

  • PGAV Destinations’ Design Provides Vision for the Future

    ruby_falls-large(St. Louis, MO – September 15, 2016) –St. Louis-based design firm PGAV Destinations is collaborating with Ruby Falls, LLC on a revolutionary, multi-phase project, greatly expanding guest amenities and experiences.

    “Just as our waterfall has reshaped the cavern and carved new, natural artworks over the centuries, so has culture, our visitors, and our incredible staff reshaped the Ruby Falls experience,” said Hugh Morrow, President of Ruby Falls, LLC. “We’re excited to be working with PGAV Destinations to evolve Ruby Falls in time for our first Centennial from an attraction to a destination, laying the groundwork for an incredible experience that will last until our next Century Celebration.”

    As the Roaring Twenties return, Ruby Falls will be implementing a series of exciting improvements, leading up to its Centennial in 2020. Planned improvements focus on enhancing the guest experience throughout the destination, both before and after they visit the magnificent waterfall located over 1,120 feet below Lookout Mountain. Planned amenities include new, thematic retail and dining attractions; an immersive multimedia experience to inspire guests before they even hear the roar of the Falls; an expansive outdoor plaza and seating area for relaxation and planning the next Ruby Falls adventure; improved parking; a new observation deck from which to enjoy sunsets and rises; improved staff facilities; and enhanced ticketing services.

    “Ruby Falls is the perfect example of a thriving destination that’s ready for the next big evolution,” said Mike Konzen, principal and chair of PGAV Destinations.” Lookout Mountain and the Falls are saturated with deep, rich stories, from the natural science of the cavern’s growth to the love story of its discoverers, Leo and Ruby. It’s integral to bring those incredible stories to the forefront of the experience.”

    Ruby Falls first engaged PGAV Destinations in 2014 for a Destination Growth Plan. This process identified new revenue opportunities and created planning priorities for an enhanced visitor experience. The outcomes provided the foundation for the subsequent Concept Planning Phase, outlining a phasing and implementation plan for the future development at Ruby Falls.

    PGAV Destinations is currently developing design documents for Phase One of the overall plan. Construction on the new features is planned to begin in Spring of 2017, finishing in early 2018.

  • PGAV Destinations explores the basic origins of inspiration

    (St. Louis, MO – August 30, 2016) – World-renowned, St. Louis-based destination design firm PGAV Destinations has just published the latest in its series of destination guest research reports, Inspiration from Nature.

    “Whether you look around the world or within a single family, you’ll find a wide range of tastes and ways of living: we like different foods, wear different clothes, hum different music – yet we all feel the same pull toward nature,” says Mike Konzen, principal and chair of PGAV Destinations. “The relationship between nature and destinations is powerful, yet often easy to forget when we spend so much time inside climate-controlled buildings, staring at screens. We decided to a critical look at where much of our destination inspiration comes from and why visitors find it so moving.”

    Learning from international studies, as well as attraction guest testimonials and destination designer reflections, Inspiration from Nature explores how the unbuilt, wild, natural world inspires and influences design. The book also delves into the human psyche and the sociological impact nature has on us; and therefore, how destinations designed with inspiration from nature influence guests.

    Excerpt: At the University of Chicago, researchers found that “having ten more trees in a city block, on average, improves health perception in ways comparable to an increase in annual personal income of $10,000, moving to a neighborhood with $10,000 higher median income, or being seven years younger.”

    Packed with colorful, stunning photos of vistas from around the world, the book also features PGAV-designed zoos, museums, aquariums, theme parks, water parks, and resorts. Both destination designers with 30+ years of experience and new, talented team members share their stories of how lessons from nature helped to inspire some of the most moving, recognizable attraction experiences around the world.

    From the misty peaks of Machu Picchu, to the silence of orbiting Earth at 75,000 m.p.h., to the roaring frost of Antarctica, Inspiration from Nature unravels a variety of ecosystems around the planet, their effect on us, and how various PGAV Destinations projects have been inspired by these wild environments.

    • Reconnecting explores how nature can ground us and bring us back to center;
    • Wilderness examines the exhilaration of exploration;
    • Water delves into the soothing and mysterious effects of running rivers, lakes, and oceans;
    • Landscapes analyzes our brains’ need to organize and create patterns, even in the seeming chaos of nature;
    • Vantage Points unpacks the thrill we feel when we leave the safety of ground far behind;
    • Extreme Terrain explores our desire to truly test our limits;
    • Animals seeks to understand what might be our closest connection to the truly natural world;
    • And Gardens shows the positive impact that getting hands-on with nature, and helping to sculpt it, has on us.

    The condensed version of Inspiration of Nature, along with numerous other PGAV studies and publications, can be found online for free at The full publication of Inspiration from Nature is available upon request. Previous publications may also be requested: Voice of the Visitor: 2016 Annual Outlook on the Attractions IndustryStorytelling: It Can Change Your Mind, and The Art of the Family Vacation.

  • PGAV Destinations-designed renovation features all new attractions at leading Zoo

    (St. Louis, MO – July 12, 2016) – Featuring elephants, giraffes, zebras, and more, The Louisville Zoo’s new African Area is now open to the public.

    Designed by St. Louis-based design firm PGAV Destinations, the new exhibit is an expansion and enhancement of the pre-existing space for some of the Zoo’s most beloved animals. The immersive experience, for both guests and animals alike, is home to elephants, Masai giraffes, camels, Hartmann’s mountain zebras, addax, and bongos, a large African antelope.

    “Central to our approach in this exhibit was to give elephants more space and greater choices while truly evoking the themes, feelings, and atmosphere found throughout Africa,” said John Kemper, vice president of PGAV Destinations and design lead on the new habitat. “The elephant paddock features a beautiful, elegant wall inspired by Mombassan architecture; there’s an area for children to play African percussion instruments; and of course new ways to see beloved zoo animals.”

    The African Area features numerous, innovative encounters for both its year-round residents and guests alike. Elephants can press a button with their trunks, and will soon be able to choose to either spray themselves or passersby with water! In the Hartmann’s mountain zebra exhibit, a Toyota safari vehicle is positioned halfway into the enclosure, allowing guests to climb inside and observe the animals from inside the cruiser. Guests can also view these animals from the shaded outdoor deck of the African Outpost restaurant, offering great vistas of the entire area.

    “We’d like to REC W 608 _MG_6624-editedsincerely thank the Harry Frazier Family and all Leadership Capital Campaign donors for their help in making this journey a reality for Zoo guests this season,” said John Walczak, director of the Louisville Zoo. “Our new African Area is an incredible addition to our Zoo, and we couldn’t have realized that dream without their support.”

    PGAV Destinations has previously worked with the Louisville Zoo in the design of their award-winning exhibit, Glacier Run, currently celebrating its five-year anniversary. The recreation of a Churchill, Alaska-like outpost on the fringe of the arctic wilderness brings the back-of-house out front to exhibit the world-class husbandry and training techniques of the Zoo while also providing a richly immersive experience that tells the story of the effects of climate change on arctic habitats. The experience features polar bears, seals, sea lions, sea eagles, snowy owls, and a rescued grizzly bear family, all in a dynamic mixture of natural habitats and a themed, mining town setting.


  • Zoo and Aquarium Design
    We believe in the power of zoos and aquariums to change the course of our environmental future through education, conservation, and the sheer joy of wonder in wildlife....

  • From Heart of Africa in Columbus, to the Georgia Aquarium, to the award-winning Sea Lion Sound in St. Louis, our attractions reflect our commitment to innovation, a passion for animals, and a deep understanding of visitors. No one knows more about connecting people and animals in meaningful ways than PGAV Destinations.

    Our designs enrich the experiences of your guests – and your animals – because they’re built on research and insight.

    We understand how and why people move through exhibits and attractions. We know how to reveal surprising and delightful details in the right way, at the right time. From understanding and influencing guest (and animal) behavior, to incorporating technology and multimedia in new ways, we’re always looking to boldly go a step further. We know that it makes a difference in the lives of your guests.

    We know your animals are the heart of your institution, which is why they’re at the heart of everything we do.

    From day one, we’ll collaborate with your experts to create a program for healthy, happy animals, and safe, staff-friendly spaces for training, veterinary care, and enrichment. Back-of-house experiences are integrated into our designs from the very beginning.

    Every corner, every walkway, every exhibit, and every space makes an impact.

    Our work with zoos and aquariums extends beyond individual animal exhibits to include other critical aspects of the guest experience, like gift shops, restaurants, special event facilities, and wayfinding.

    We believe in the power of zoos and aquariums to change the course of our environmental future through education, conservation, and the sheer joy of wonder in wildlife.

    We help animals by helping our clients achieve their conservation missions without forfeiting business goals – or the guest experience.

    We’re big thinkers.

    Our branding, business, and master planning strategies help you develop your institution into its world-class best – financially, educationally, and experientially.

  • Theme Park Design
    As the themed entertainment industry’s largest independent design firm, our reach has given us the opportunity to create theme parks, water parks and complex shows across North America, Asia, and Europe....

  • PGAV Destinations created the first water coaster, the first true combination zoo and theme park, the amusement park voted “World’s Most Beautiful” for 21 consecutive years, and the highest attended theme park in southern Europe. But we pride ourselves more on how those “first”s, “most”s, and “highest”s have inspired guests to treasure their experiences – and our clients’ brands.

    PGAV has developed $5 billion worth of themed entertainment, working with clients including Busch Gardens, Herschend Family Entertainment, Samsung, SeaWorld, and Universal Studios.

    As the themed entertainment industry’s largest independent design firm, our reach has given us the opportunity to create theme parks, water parks and complex shows across North America, Asia, and Europe. Our goal? To design and build attractions that truly attract, bringing guests to your destination in droves.

    We aren’t interested in building “just another ride.” PGAV Destinations designs attractions and experiences holistically, so that they inspire your guests, support your brand, and incorporate your unique operational needs.

    We do this to ensure that our designs can truly be brought to life, because the gorgeous, promising renderings so many projects begin with shouldn’t exist solely on paper (or a screen). Simply put, we build what we draw, and what we build stands up to the test of time – for you and your guests.

    We’re researchers (and strategists, and designers, and architects).

    Real market research helps us fine-tune our strategy – and our stunning designs – to create a precise, desired reaction in your guests. We think there ought to be predictability about how your investment will perform over time: financially and emotionally.

    We’re your partner from strategy through construction, and often beyond.

    We’ll help you analyze your park, its demographics, and the competitive market to design an attraction that will make the greatest impact. We’ll reinforce your brand across a chain of parks, or through the design of a single sign. We’ll even help you place a cart in just the right spot. We’re ready to take on the challenges of every aspect of your operation – at any scale.

  • Museum and Cultural Site Design
    PGAV Destinations has designed experiences for people of all ages across topics as diverse as history, nature, culture, science, technology, social science, art, and humanities....

  • In an age when museum and cultural destinations are striving to adapt to changing audiences, PGAV Destinations is helping leaders craft strategic, creative, and innovative experiences that engage the heart and inspire the mind. Our strategies help leaders fulfill their mission of meaningfully shaping guests’ understanding of the world – and their role within it.

    We’re passionate about the field:

    Where it’s been, where it’s headed, and where visionary leaders could take it next. As tools for learning and communication change – and guest behaviors change with them – PGAV Destinations is dedicated to exploring new ways to educate, empower, capture the imagination, and inspire advocacy among diverse visitor groups.

    No two cultural destinations are alike.

    We like that challenge. PGAV Destinations has designed experiences for people of all ages across topics as diverse as history, nature, culture, science, technology, social science, art, and humanities. We relish the opportunity to dig deeper, discover new perspectives, and apply ideas from other disciplines in never-before-seen ways. We blend the passion of a specialized firm with a vision and skill set as broad as the field itself.

    It’s not about us.

    The guest is our guide. Using deep insights into consumer attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors, we think through the entire destination experience, from the parking lot, to the exhibits, to the feel of the floor. We believe in the power of destinations to transform lives and shape communities, so there are no egos allowed at our drawing board – just curiosity, creativity, and a commitment to ensuring guests have an experience they can’t wait to share with others.

    We’re by your side from start to finish.

    We’re master planners, researchers, art directors, designers, architects, and project managers, and we’re comfortable thinking and working at any scale. Whether you need designs for an entire museum, a complete campus, or a stunning, single exhibition, we’ll lead the way.

  • Resort Design
    Crafting an unforgettable stay isn’t just about placing the bed in the right spot. It’s about thinking through how the entire stay should feel, from check-in to check-out – and why....

  • Throughout five decades of practice, PGAV Destinations has created hospitality destinations that invite guests to experience the extraordinary. We’re known for leveraging the power of special settings to make lifelong emotional connections.

    As we design, we take a “guest first” approach.

    We uncover deep insights to understand who your guests are, what they treasure, and where they are in the world. Crafting an unforgettable stay isn’t just about placing the bed in the right spot. It’s about thinking through how the entire stay should feel, from check-in to check-out – and why. We cherish every aspect and detail as an opportunity to exceed expectations.

    We know the business. We know the process. And we’re big on the numbers.

    We understand the impact – financial and emotional – of moving a wall by an inch. With nearly fifty years of experience, we’re unmatched in our understanding of the hospitality industry, and our designers and architects implement more than $250 million worth of projects in construction value on average annually.

    Extraordinary experiences are created when all of the elements work in concert with each other, from architecture and interiors, to graphics, landscape, theming, lighting and sound.

    Our strategists, designers, and project managers specialize in creating these integrated environments.

    We do it all.

    Our size and unique organization enable us to deliver projects of all shapes and sizes, whether they’re below $1 million or well above $100 million. Each strategy can include design, branding for the destination or its adjacent attractions, and the creation and molding of guest experiences, amenities, pool environments, and retail and dining experiences.

  • Brand Destination Design
    We help brands develop strong, concise, story-driven messages – and the best strategy and scope for sharing them with future brand advocates....

  • Why create a brand destination? Because destinations have the power to turn consumers into brand advocates. Because consumers connect more easily with authentic brands, and the most authentic brands offer a sense of place. And because PGAV Destinations knows how to bring your brand to life with immersive experiences that create excitement, wonder, and long-lasting loyalty.

    Great destinations can pull people closer to brands.

    We’ve helped companies and organizations like National Geographic, Anheuser-Busch, and the St. Louis Cardinals prove that it’s true, helping them strategize, design, and create spaces that not only reflect their brands, but also inspire guests to see themselves in the brands’ values and visions.

    Your brand’s values. Your consumers’ desires.

    We create the places where these two converge, with an approach built on deep knowledge and strategic thinking. Throughout 50 years of practice, PGAV Destinations has listened closely to our clients, studied visitor behaviors and motivations, and tracked consumer and industry trends, turning those insights into unforgettable experiences.

    We can tell your story anywhere.

    We help brands develop strong, concise, story-driven messages – and the best strategy and scope for sharing them with future brand advocates. Whether it’s an ephemeral, attention-grabbing event, or a permanent destination consumers can return to again and again, we bring the world’s best brands to life through passionate, hands-on work and creative collaboration with our clients.