The Naples Zoo has been a beloved staple of the Southwest Florida community for over a century. Constantly evolving, the historic institution is on a mission to strengthen the bonds between people, animals, and nature—elevating visitor experiences while setting new standards for animal care and welfare.

One of the ways they’ve been doing this is through a series of extensive renovations throughout their sprawling 43-acre facility.

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In March 2023, RW Hardware was contacted by CRL FAB, LLC (a subcontractor to Waltbillig & Hood, the general contractor for the Zoo’s renovation project) regarding animal habitats for a new multi-species exhibit.

It was a mission-critical project. The deadlines were tight. There was no room for error; our solutions needed to hold strong.

With 70 years of zoo experience and 143 years of animal containment and sliding door/gate experience, RW Hardware was the right partner for the job.



RW Hardware was tasked with creating new enclosures for the Naples Zoo’s South American Trail Grassland Holding Facility—more specifically, the custom design and fabrication of enclosures for tapirs and giant anteaters.

The challenge? Overcome tight lead times to create a solution that ensures the safety and well-being of the animals while facilitating ease of maintenance and installation.

It all started with our modular design process.

RW Hardware created front panels and horizontal sliding panel gates for the anteater and tapir enclosures.


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The front panels featured a lower section of HDPE tongue and groove boards, which we snugly fitted into powder-coated steel channels. The upper section incorporated powder-coated steel tubes, which we welded into a removable upper panel.

We built the sliding panel gates in the same way, mounting them on our 232 Series tracks and trucks.

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RW also designed and manufactured horizontal shift gates for the anteater and tapir holding areas, incorporating custom pull arm actuators.

We constructed them using HDPE panels and powder-coated steel frames, plus wear pads and mounting for the 232 trucks. Additionally, we made sure to add track shields for improved animal protection and streamlined maintenance and cleaning processes.

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Installation began in June 2023 but was delayed due to hurricanes, ultimately wrapping up in August. Additional shift gates and hardware were ordered that same month, with the project finally being completed in the fall.

By delivering robust, custom enclosure solutions built for durability and functionality, RW Hardware played a pivotal role in helping the Naples Zoo bring its next-generation, wellness-focused grassland species exhibit to life.

Not only will this enhance the well-being and safety of the animals; it will contribute to the zoo’s mission of inspiring a deeper connection between visitors and wildlife. And there’s no better payoff than that.