Cave exhibit at Flint Hills Discovery Center Sports Foam Walls and Ceiling
Washington Roofing and Insulation teamed with Split Rock Studios to create life-like cave exhibit.
By Kaitlyn Chassé
GREAT BEND, KS – July 25, 2012 – When Washington Roofing and Insulation finished an insulating project at the Flint Hills Discovery Center in Manhattan KS, they had no idea that their next project would lead nature enthusiasts deep into an underground illusion.
The project was a new cave exhibit created by Split Rock Studios, for the Flint Hills Discovery Center. Tim McGannon of Split Rock Studios decided that spray foam would be perfect for creating the natural look of an underground cave.
“They wanted to make a cave exhibit to show how deep the roots of prairie grasses grow,” said Moriah Carpenter, estimator and project manager of Washington Roofing and Insulation. “They saw our work on the interior walls of the discovery center, and invited us to help them with the project.”
The 10 foot high, 30 foot long, walk-through exhibit was designed to imitate a real underground prairie cave. Grass roots hang down from the cave ceiling and spiral naturally down the cave walls. Glass exhibits are scattered through out, some with grass roots safely protected inside.
The walls of the cave are framed by wood and mesh chicken wire. When the frame was complete, Washington Roofing and Insulation sprayed the chicken wire with foam to create the walls and ceiling. After the foam settled, Split Rock Studios carved details into the foam to give the exhibit its cave-like features, they then secured grass roots from the ceiling and walls and covered them with plastic. Washington Roofing and Insulation then went back in and coated the walls and ceiling with Flame Seal TB thermal barrier. To complete the exhibit, Split Rock Studios painted the cave so it would look like an earthy underground lair.
It took Washington Roofing and Insulation only a few days to complete the project in which they used one set of foam. The project was completed in the fall of 2011.
“We had our fair share of challenges, and maneuvering around in the Flit Hills Discovery Center wasn’t easy,” said Carpenter. “But overall this was a really fun project. We are honored to have been involved, and we had no idea that spray foam could looks so much like an underground cave. We enjoyed ourselves, and we’re happy with the end results.”
About Washington Roofing and Insulation: Washington Roofing & Insulation is a Q1 applicator with BASF Foam Enterprise, and a Performance Based Contractor with accountability to Neogard Corporation and PBSRG of the Dale E. Webb School of Construction at Arizona State University. Washington Roofing & Insulation is a member of the National Roofing Contractors Association. We take pride in being a one-owner company with 35+ years of experience, and operate extensively in the mid-west including Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Oklahoma and Texas.
About Split Rock Studios: Split Rock specializes in creating cultural and natural history exhibits for museums, interpretive centers, aquariums, zoos, and political institutions. We take deep pride in creating innovative and immersive exhibits that reward inquisitive visitors with the delight of discovery.
To contact Washington Roofing and Insulation, or to visit their website, please see information provided below.