Filed under How-Tos

Interactivity and Zoos

Interactivity and Zoos

A recent article by Wayne LaBar, the founder and principal at Alchemy Studios, outlined some of the growing trends in interactivity in museums…and got me to thinking: Are these also trends we are seeing in zoos and aquariums? If not, should they be? Certainly, interactivity in experience and educational opportunities are important aspects of zoo … Continue reading

Visitors:  An Overlooked Species at the Zoo

Visitors: An Overlooked Species at the Zoo

By Eileen Ostermeier Zoos have long been at the forefront of animal research, but only recently have they started conducting studies on another important but relatively overlooked species:  their visitors.  For decades, museums, science centers, theme parks and National Parks have been studying their visitors – long before the practice was seen as useful in … Continue reading

November Animal of the Month: Chimps

November Animal of the Month: Chimps

Ah, those gregarious primates who remind us what it means to be human.  They’re the perfect capstone species to the year.  (No December AotM) Did you know chimps breed throughout the year–whenever the urge strikes?  Did you know they are altruist and have been seen grooming and cradling rocks?  Find out more–including how large to … Continue reading

Design Resource No Longer Available

Design Resource No Longer Available

Today, to my dismay, I discovered the WAZA website has been updated to remove all sizing and enrichment recommendations from the once-excellent Virtual Zoo.  This resource was great as it collected recommendations from around the world, including AZA and EAZA resources into one simple reference.  I’m not sure why the information was deleted, but assume … Continue reading

Why Master Plan?

Why Master Plan?

A few months ago, I visited with a potential client–who will remain unnamed– dealing with a complicated case of left-overs.  An older institution with aging and non-immersive exhibits, a disconnected and fragmented campus, and plans in the works for a sister institution.  As we toured the facilities, the director, aware of experiential and logistical issues … Continue reading

October Animal of the Month: Flamingo

Why does a flamingo stand on one leg? Because if he lifted both, he’d fall over! This is not included in the October Animal of the Month fact sheet about the many species of flamingo, but a lot of other great information is.  Like, how flamingos build their nests, and how deep to build your … Continue reading

Historic Buildings: Obstacles or Opportunities?

Historic Buildings: Obstacles or Opportunities?

By Russell Ploutz Historic zoo buildings are a growing dilemma for zoos, especially older zoos. The historic buildings don’t meet current design standards for animals, but laws require preserve of culturally significant structures. Are these buildings limiting the potential of zoos or seeds for innovation? The subject of preservation of historic buildings has been on … Continue reading

Entertaining the Future, Part 1 (AZA, 2012)

Entertaining the Future, Part 1 (AZA, 2012)

One of the most interesting sessions I attended this year was lead by PGAV’s own fantastically enthusiastic designer, Dave Cooperstein.  His specialty within our office is show production, which, you may think, is traditionally confined within the theme park arena.  However, Dave’s point is every show–no matter how small (think: keeper chat)–can tell a powerful … Continue reading

Training Butterflies for Interactions

Training Butterflies for Interactions

During the AZA 2012 poster session, I came across an intriguing group describing how they’ve successfully trained butterflies for interactions.  Yes, you read that correctly.  In actuality, “training” is somewhat a misnomer for butterflies; more accurately, they are habituated for handling, and manipulated into long basking periods (by understanding the natural physiology and behavior of … Continue reading

Learning in Zoos: Design Guidelines, Part 3

Learning in Zoos: Design Guidelines, Part 3

By Russell Ploutz Example projects To understand how to apply the nine principles and fifty-three guidelines, I designed seven example projects. The projects illustrate how the design guidelines coalesce to create a cognitive experience and shape the exhibit form. For each of the example projects, illustrations and narratives explain how the exhibit engages and facilitates … Continue reading