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Malayan Tapir - Minnesota Zoo

July 1st, 2008.

Malayan Tapir - Minnesota Zoo
snowleopard, 2 Jul 2008
    • snowleopard
      July 1st, 2008.
    • Animaldude
      what are the names of the tapirs?
    • DavidBrown
      @snowleopard: How is the Minnesota tapir exhibit ? From the photo it looks like they have quite a nice pool.

      Where are your favorite indoor rainforest exhibits? Actually, where ARE the major indoor rainforest exhibits? The only ones that I have visited are Jungleworld in the Bronx and Lied Jungle in Omaha. We don't have any on the west coast obviously.
    • snowleopard
      @DAVID...enjoy!! (I posted this on ZooChat in either early 2011 or late 2010)

      Below is an overview of 20 American rainforest buildings, and I’ve visited all of them within the past 5 years. I’ve extensively reviewed each of them in various road trip threads on ZooChat and so this time around I’ve simply given a brief description of each of the exhibit complexes. I’ve found that age is not really a question of quality when it comes to theses immense structures as some of the better buildings are in fact amongst the oldest of their kind. Also, it is quite pleasant to find a zoo choosing one ecosystem or a single continental viewpoint and showcasing that to the best of its ability (National, Mesker Park, etc.) rather than to see a zoo incorporating many areas of the world under one roof and then not truly succeeding at any of them (Brookfield).

      My top 5 (looking at only the all-indoor rainforest complexes):

      #1 – Omaha
      #2 – Bronx
      #3 – Cleveland
      #4 – Sedgwick County
      #5 – Tulsa

      Alphabetical Order:

      Bronx – JungleWorld now has a separate entrance fee, which is a major flaw, but this excellent recreation of an Asian rainforest is still one of the best around after around 25 years of operation. There are 3 separate environments that visitors are immersed in, and the zoo chose to showcase one continental area (Asia) really well rather than multiple continental areas haphazardly.

      Brookfield – this massive structure opened in stages in the early 1980’s and with African, Asian and South American zones there is an excellent variation of species (particularly primates) on display. At the time it was probably magnificent but the decades have not been kind to it and now there is the sense that the football-field-sized interior is outdated and due for an overhaul. The sheer “fakeness” of the surroundings overwhelms even cursory zoo fans, and the gorilla and orangutan exhibits with zero outdoor areas are extremely poorly regarded these days.

      Buffalo – a relatively new complex that is 18,000 sq. ft. in size and opened in 2008. An extremely pleasant environment containing modern exhibitry showcasing South American animals, and there is a great overview of the rainforest from a high observation deck.

      Central Park – a two-level rainforest with smaller side exhibits but many free-roaming animals, and overall it is a decent recreation of a jungle atmosphere in the middle of New York City.

      Cleveland – this absolutely enormous building, 85,000 sq. ft. in size and with reportedly 2 acres of floor space, features animals from Asia and South America and opened in 1992. Two large levels are expansive and the majority of the exhibits are top-notch, particularly the large gharial/turtle pool and the otter, small cat and numerous reptile habitats. The major downside is an all-indoor orangutan exhibit that is subpar for such an intelligent species. I seem to like this building more than most zoo fans, but for the most part almost all of the exhibits are of a fairly high quality.

      Denver – Tropical Discovery opened in 1993 and while there are only 10 major exhibits (including at one time the largest indoor Komodo dragon habitat in the world) everything is well done and the idea of mini-biomes from around the planet is modern and informative.

      Fort Wayne – the Jungle Dome contains an excellent walk-through aviary that is lush and thick with vegetation, and it technically could qualify as a rainforest building due to the presence of an all-indoor orangutan exhibit. Unfortunately that enclosure is dire, dim and badly in need of a swift overhaul.

      Jacksonville – not a true rainforest building but the Mayan Temple area in Range of the Jaguar includes numerous indoor exhibits in a ruined temple-themed zone. The highlights of this area are the outdoor habitats for jaguars, capybaras, tapirs and a large walk-through aviary.

      Kansas City – the Tropics building is new, modern, innovative (gibbons and otters in the same exhibit and having overhead and below ground passageways) but ultimately average due to the fact that there are only 5 exhibits and there is not really any attempt at immersion.

      Louisville – again not a true rainforest building but the Islands Pavilion has a walk-through aviary, numerous animal exhibits and serves as the backdrop for the Asian rotational habitats of 5 major mammals species.

      Mesker Park – a 10,000 sq. ft. structure that opened in 2008 and is easily the newest, biggest and best part of an otherwise nondescript zoo. Amazonia: Forest of Riches is top-notch in almost all compartments, it uses modern exhibitry methods, and the focus on South American animals is impressive and thus the limits of this mid-sized zoo were not stretched during construction.

      Minnesota – a 1.5 acre Tropics Trail building featuring animals from Africa, Asia and South America, as well as a mid-sized coral reef habitat. The scope of the building is impressive, particularly for Minnesotans keen to escape the winter blues in the northern city, but the size of the exhibits for many of the larger animals leaves a little to be desired. Apparently much improved in recent years due to the switching of certain species and the opening of the permanent African area.

      National – Amazonia is 15,000 sq. ft. in size and very well done as it focuses on South American animals and is two levels. The lack of large popular mammals is its downfall and also its greatest asset as the focus is on accomplishing one thing and doing that with expertise.

      North Carolina – the African Pavilion used to be teeming with all sorts of rare animal species, but these days it is animal-free and the empty exhibits have been left standing and are somewhat eerily packed with dense undergrowth as the zoo has allowed the plant life to reign supreme.

      Omaha – the Lied Jungle opened in 1992 and is considered by many to be the premier rainforest building in North America. The dirt pathway on the lower level adds to the thrill, but the downside is that several of the enclosures for larger animals (Malayan tapirs, clouded leopards, etc.) are definitely too small.

      Rio Grande – this tropical American building features a series of well-designed visitor pathways, but many of the animal exhibits are simply average at best.

      Roger Williams Park – borderline terrible building that is small, poorly designed and full of wires and ventilation pipes that remain unhidden and disconcerting to visitors. This Tropical American complex is tiny and only worth seeing for the decent, outdoor giant anteater exhibit.

      Sedgwick County – this building opened in 1977 and its half-acre area holds up well 34 years later. Age has added to the aroma of the thick vegetation, and the dirt pathway and muddy signs actually create an effective immersive experience that makes this one of the better rainforest complexes in existence.

      Tulsa – a showcasing of Central and South American animals in a vast building is the best complex at an otherwise disappointing zoo. The idea to focus on one continental area adds to the richness of the exhibitry.

      Woodland Park – this tropical rainforest building opened in 1992 and it is smaller than many other American behemoths, but it features a decent set of indoor exhibits for South American animals. The real gems are the outdoor areas: 2 trend-setting gorilla habitats, Jaguar Cove, colobus monkeys, red-flanked duikers and red ruffed lemurs.
    • gerenuk
      @snowleopard - Why did you leave out all the big aquarium indoor rainforests (National, Dallas World Aquarium, Steinhart) plus the ones at Franklin Park, Roger Willams, Beardsley, Moody Gardens, etc. from your list?
    • snowleopard
      I suppose that I could have included many of the aquarium rainforest complexes, but I did not originally count them on this zoo-themed posting. As you know I've visited many of the major American aquariums so I could add them at some later date, and as for the zoos that you mentioned I've already included Roger Williams on my list (terrible!) and I only focused on establishments that I have personally visited. I'd like to go to Boston to see Franklin Park next summer but I have a feeling that the gorilla exhibit will receive a poor summary in my review.
    • gerenuk
      I know I am terrible. :) Though I am also surprised that you left out the Canadian ones as well.
    • Toddy
      Well, if you Americans are prepared to look across your own borders (I know most of you do so only very reluctantly) you can't really beat the Masoala hall in Zürich Zoo, Switzerland, and the general "jungle feeling" that it creates. Burgers Bush is also very good but Masoala just seems to be a bit more "wild" and jungle-like. I have seen many good tropical houses but those are so far the only two that actually make you feel similar to being in a rainforest. I have yet to see Gondwanaland in Leipzig.
    • DavidBrown
      Hey Toddy, where are the major indoor rain forest complexes in Europe? The main ones that people mention here are the ones you mention: Gondwanaland, Masoala, and Burgers Bush

      Are there other major indoor rain forest exhibits?

      Has anybody visited any in Asia or other parts of the world? I know that Singapore and some of the Australian zoos have the distinct advantage of having genuine non-outdoor rainforests.
    • DavidBrown
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