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Best Designed Exhibits

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by patrick, 26 Dec 2004.

  1. patrick

    patrick Well-Known Member

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    i know their is already a threat titled "best bird exhibits" but i thought i'd start a broader one. i wan't people to nominate the best designed exhibits. not their favorite exhibits, you might get a great dal out of just watching tigers no matter what kind of exhibit their in - i want exhibits that you think are natural, interesting an designed in a way to show off the animals natuarl behaviours. oh, whatever just nominate anything!

    i nominate the african rainforest at melbourne. this includes the gorilla exhibit and the mandrill/pygmy hippo exhibit.

    both these exhibits are large (in the case of the gorillas, massive!), feature various viewing points, glass, for up close experiences (underwater viewing with the hippos), a lushly planted environment of mostly african plants, and makes great use of the space, providing the animals with areas to get away from the public, hidden barriers and overall makes the visitor wonder exactly where the exhibit starts and ends.

    i love the cool, winding paths that make you feel as though you have walked further than you actually have and that the areas for visitor viewing are not designed (as so many zoos are) like mock rock caves. they are simple wooded, structures with african influenced architecture that blend in with the environment of the rainforest. does anyone elese hate faux rock overkill? so many zoos are guilty of it!
     
  2. Nigel

    Nigel Well-Known Member

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    Best Zoo exhibits in North Island Zoos

    Wellington Zoo ; The Sumatran tiger exhibit . There is an artificial stream with rapids in the enclosure , which is cleverly designed with 3 enclosures in one .... you can barely make out the fencelines .
    There are a lot of rocks ( real ones ) and lush vegetation -- it sometimes takes ages to actually spot a tiger . There is a ground level viewing area , and an elevated platform .
    Every morning there is a tiger talk by the keeper , which also involves feeding a snack to the tigers ( whichever one happens to be in the front enclosure ) At this point the tiger leaps up on to the fence just inches away from the keeper , and opens their mouth . The keepers squirt a milk and vitamin mixture down their throat with a large syringe .
    The keepers get to have a very close inspection of the tiger , the tiger enjoys getting a vitamin milkshake , the public gets to see some "actioin" and learn about the plight of tigers worldwide ( there is a donation box at the enclosure , which the public always put in some $$ to help the tiger breeding programme in Aust/NZ Zoos ) and photographers can get some classic shots
    (have a look at my photos on Jays website chapter on Wellington Zoo . I was the photographer for the Wellington Zoo chapter )
    All in all , a good party all round for tigers , keepers ,and public .

    Auckland Zoo this will have to go to the Galapagos turtles innovative enclosure . Basically it is an area with large wooden pegs driven into the ground , with just a couple of inches above ground level . The pegs are all about 8 inches apart . As turtles cannot climb steps , or squeeze through any gap that is narrower than what they are wide , this effectively keeps them in one specified region without needing bars ,cages, moats , locks etc than would normally be required .

    Hamilton Zoo . The walk through aviary there is just HUGE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    It is bigger any normal walk through aviary that I have seen . If they want to put a road through it , it would be the worlds only drive through aviary and there will be plenty of room to build a freeway in it ....
    ... I am sure that the Zoo will not introduce vehicle traffic to the inhabitants of the aviary , but when there is an aviary that is bigger than any at Currimbin Sanctuary or Jurong bird Park , you can garuntee that the structure is HUGE .
    Rocks ; I think some zoos go overboard with the fake rock stuff ( Taronga Zoo can wear a hat with this one ) but it depends on what animal is being exhibited . The baboon enclosure in Wellington Zoo is up against a steep hillside ( steep here means almost cliff ) with alot of rocks strewn around , as well as clumps of vegetation and the odd rotting log or 3 . This is actually a good recreation of the natural habitat of baboons , and there is enough rock in their enclosure to reseal all the paths at Melbourne Zoo . But I think patrick is correct -- too much fake rocjk may have been in vogue a few years ago , but I think they should have alot more vegetation in lieu of the fake rock stuff
    and that really is saying something !!
     
  3. Nigel

    Nigel Well-Known Member

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    Faux rock overkill

    Generally I agree with Patrick . There is probably too much of this in zoos now , but it was in vogue several years ago . I think that wood and vegetation would be a better replacement .
    However , the baboon enclosure at Wellington Zoo is made up of about 80% rock on a steep ( almost cliff face ) hillsite , with clumps of vegetation scattered here and there , and a few rotten logs tossed in for good measure
    This enclosure actually looks very realistic to the baboons native habitat .
    There is heaps of room for them to chase each other around , they are more nimble on steeper ground than we are , and there could be all sorts of beetles in the logs to try and pick out ...... yet there is enough spare rock in the enclosure to resurface all the paths in Melbourne Zoo .
     
  4. patrick

    patrick Well-Known Member

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    pros and cons of faux rockwork.

    despite what i have said about my hatered of "mock rock overkill", in the case of animals whose natural habitat is rocky, i think its very useful. especially in respect to hiding walls, night dens and other buildings. examples are boulders influenced by "kopje's" in africa. lions and baboons look great resting on these type of rocks and they do so in the wild. rocks obviously would work well in a brown bear or snow leopard exhibit as well.

    unfortunately though, many zoos tend to replicate the same style of rock no matter what the habitat type they are trying to replicate. sculpting different styles especially for one geographical area would only greater stregthen the theme throughout the exhibit. a good example is the craggy limestone found in southeast asia - i haven't seen any zoo try to replicate that.

    sometimes rocks should be abondoned all together. most rainforests (parts of southeast asia are an exception) for example, have virtually no rocks. you'd be hard pressed trying to find so much as a pebble in much of the congo or the amazon.

    gorilla's most certainly, do not live in caves in the wild!

    much of melbourne zoo's asian rainforest and australian bush precincts uses concrete to sculpt eroded mudbanks rather than rock walls. they embed the odd pebble and tree root sticking out here and there and the effect works really well. unfortunatey the african rainforest exhibit, as great as it is, still uses the odd faux rock here and there (usually to hide heat pads for the animals) and it looks really synthetic in my opinion.

    so basically i think its a useful disgusing tool in zoo exhibit design, but id'e much rather see it toned down and better researched and varied. rock comes in many colours other than grey and many shapes other than round. think about other options before jumping to "mock rock".
     
  5. MARK

    MARK Well-Known Member

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    Large exibit

    I see the new African exibit at the Western plians zoo is going to be 500 acres in size, that should give the animals heaps of running room.

    Mark :D
     
  6. Writhedhornbill

    Writhedhornbill Well-Known Member

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    One of the best desinged exhibits at Chester is the new elephant house. It is on zoolex.
     
  7. MARK

    MARK Well-Known Member

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    Yep saw that it looks really good, a job well done. What does the new breeding bull look like? is he a big feller like Chang was?.
     
  8. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    Upali has lived in the Chester group since he was a little fella. But last time I saw him a couple of years back he suddenly looked big- probably because Chang had gone... Chang was tuskless, but Upali has small ones- he's still only a 'teenager' really.
     
  9. MARK

    MARK Well-Known Member

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    Ok so has he sired any off spring yet?.
     
  10. Zoo_Boy

    Zoo_Boy Well-Known Member

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    i dont like it, i mean the abrn is nice, but the yard (from the pictures mind you) looks dodge , this is 1 i will have to see for my self
     
  11. Writhedhornbill

    Writhedhornbill Well-Known Member

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    Upali has sired one calf: Raman. His mum was Thi Hi way. She is a Grandmother to Sundara who was born in 2004.
     
  12. Writhedhornbill

    Writhedhornbill Well-Known Member

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    Zoo_Boy< I have clips of the Chester zoo elephant hous. I'll put them on my website in the Film scenes section. You can see it for yourself without the cost of Coming to England
     
  13. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    You are absolutely correct on that...
     
  14. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    Chester's outdoor elephant area was redone a few years ago. It is now much larger than it used to be with a big pool, waterfall etc. I'd now rate it as good, but not exceptional...
     
  15. Writhedhornbill

    Writhedhornbill Well-Known Member

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    Yes. They need grass now don't they!!
     
  16. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    I heard a rumour the elephants were eventually going to be given an even larger paddock somewhere adjacent to the car park- but that would of necessity have to be outside the zoo boundary as it is at present.

    Is that a real plan or am I mistaken?
     
  17. Writhedhornbill

    Writhedhornbill Well-Known Member

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    I was told that. I think it's still a future option. I have seen the 2020 zoo plans in the zoo office, but that was on a member trip. The elephant paddock is not on there.

    I was also told that the old elephant house would become home to brown bears but that has been proved to be incorrect.
     
  18. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    Brown bear doesn't sound like a species Chester would keep again nowadaysd... I presumed maybe the old Elephant house will disappear in time?
     
  19. Writhedhornbill

    Writhedhornbill Well-Known Member

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    The Old elephant house has already been demolished. It is the site of the new house.
     
  20. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    That's what I thought