The facility is modelled on a fjord landscape in Orkney with its layered rock structure. The habitat section with its high cliff face and deep plunge pool was opened in 2009. Embedded in the cliff landscape are breeding caves for the puffins, the flight room is 8 – 10 metres high. In the grotto-like basement, a huge glass wall provides a view into the water basin, where the puffins can be observed flying underwater. Above the heads of the guests sail 2 Arctic terns.
The generous water landscape serves as a habitat for several river fish species. Besides the native fish species eel and barbel, two specimens of the extremely endangered beluga sturgeon live in it.
The microclimate in the open enclosure with wind and wave machines has worked well for the demanding puffins with their weak immune systems, as the zoo has enjoyed regular offspring for years.
The Orkney Island-born painter Erlend Brown, who lives in the middle of a colony of puffins, designed the back wall in the visitors’ section. In the four fields he thematises Sea / Flight. Landscape / Words / Above-Below.
Opposite the underwater view, the facility for common fire salamanders was built in 2021 as part of the «Nature Needs a City – More biodiversity in Bern» project.