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Children zoo for the 21. century

Discussion in 'Speculative Zoo Design and Planning' started by Jurek7, 26 Oct 2022.

  1. Jurek7

    Jurek7 Well-Known Member 15+ year member

    19 Dec 2007
    Everywhere at once
    This is another take of a modern children zoo.

    This children zoo upholds the aim of a modern zoo - it focuses of keeping wild, and mostly endangered species. Still, these animals can be allowed to interact with children.

    The exhibit is also strongly educative - at the level of children. Children get bored quickly, like to move, love big, colorful and moving things, cannot read long texts, but are not stupid. The exhibit shows many things in a simple form, but does not dumb down. Also, the topics are general rules - conservation and ecology. Random trivia about weird animals are avoided.


    General impression is a climbing structure made to look like a fantastic jungle. In between swings, climbing structures, overhead paths etc. there are live trees and creepers and fake greenery. In the centre, there is a fake waterfall. Over the jungle, suspended are oversized models of a Madagascar sunset moth Chrysiridia rhipheus, Philippine eagle and a pterosaur.


    *old tree holes as important resource (owls, squirrels) – treehouse
    *dead timber as key habitat element – crawl over giant deadfall trees
    *habitat corridors, ecological corridors – rope walk between two trees
    *spreading fruit and seeds – play by sliding on a fruit attached to the horizontal rope
    *wetland habitat – water feature
    *forests and preservation of freshwater – walking under a waterfall
    *umbrella species – look into other animal exhibit e.g. Rhino or giraffe
    *ants and termites – fake mound with lots of climbing and slides
    *biodiversity – children among flowerbeds or terraria with many species from one group – e.g. flower beetles, praying mantises, geckos, turtles


    *sculptures of animals which show animal behavior – eg child can take a photo in a eagle nest, or on a high rock with an ibex.
    *giant pterosaur and a butterfly scuplture over the playground
    *animal who am I game / forehead sticker game – people look into a square open space though face-sized holes. Animal photos are then displayed on the walls. Every person sees what animals other players are, but not himself. Every player then asks his friends questions to find what animal he is: 'do I live in the forest?' 'what do I eat?' 'Do I have wings?' etc. As a bonus, children can be photographed in a photo of some animal.
    *children making footprints by pressing a sign in the mud or wearing special slippers – learning animal tracks
    *rock climbing wall with model geckos
    *bamboo maze/rabbit/mole rat/anthill/termite maze
    *bounce – frogs, kangaroos, jerboa, jumping spider. Or: bouncing area like some burrowing animals (eg. ) looking out of the ground
    *climbing – models of tree-climbing animals
    *treehouse – hole-nesting animals: owls, martens, bears, hornbills
    *walking on waterlilies on the water
    *rafting like a researcher in shallow pool
    *walk under waterfall – fish pond
    *sprinkling each other with a water feature – archerfish
    *jumping run like rabbit and other hopping animals
    *running like various running animals – automatic sprinter racetrack like in Copenhagen zoo
    *treetop rope walk – tree-dwelling animals
    *crawl in rope tunnel over animal exhibits


    The education focuses on why animals are threatened.

    1. Tadjik urial and markhor feeding

    A walk-through rock exhibit with grass and rocks. Contains ewes and lambs only, males kept separately during the visitor hours. Rocks allow markhor to show their climbing abilities, including jumping on vertical stacks, and walking over visitor heads on a narrow rock bridge, and a passage with a gap - so that the markhor actually jumps over the visitors head.

    Two other exhibits are in the background. They are retreat areas for both species, hold rest shelters, and contain rams. Possible is a connection through a narrow rock crack which can be passed only by lambs and ewes.

    Second visitor path goes outside the exhibit, so if the walkthrough is closed, visitors can still see the animals. Possible is a form of a glass wall with blockable holes, which would allow visitors to feed the animals without entering the exhibit.

    Education focuses on hunting and competition with domestic grazers.

    Possible alternative species: maned sheep, caucasian / dagestan ibex.

    2. Souslik / marmot viewing

    Viewing through plastic domes. A meadow exhibit surrounded by a low moat with sousliks. Children can climb underground and look out in glass domes between the sousliks

    Education focuses on agricultural intensification.

    3. Parakeet feeding aviary.

    Contains a flock of Sumba lorikeet and pairs of purple-naped lories and Talaud red-and-blue lories. Also Edward pheasant, laughingthrushes and Bali starlings.

    Education focuses on cagebird trade, and propoer keeping of pets.

    Alternative species: Swift parrot (CR). EN: sun parakeet, white-bellied parrot (social), Grey-breasted parakeet. VU: Black-cheeked lovebird, Sumba lorikeet, (chattering lory in pairs), golden parakeet, ochre-marked parakeet, crimson-bellied parakeet.

    Rarely kept in Europe: grey-cheeked parakeet, cuban parakeet, white-eared parakeet, Biak lorikeet, black-winged lory, Hispaniolan parakeet, long-tailed parakeet, pearly parakeet.

    4. Macaque feeding

    Monkeys are fed through the glass holes. A large exhibit with grass and bushes and trees. Surrounded by a low electric fence with a row of low bamboo in front. On the other side there are two glass-fronted viewing areas with sheltering roofs. Under the viewing windows there is a row of holes in a plastic panet. When they are opened by removing a sliding panel, public can feed macaques which put fingers through the holes and pick titbits from peoples hands. There are several horizontal tree trunks behind the panel. There are also bamboo poles, broken stumps and a bulldozer.

    The education topic is rainforest cutting.

    Possible species: Sulawesi / tonkuean / toque / moor / bear macaque, eventually other monkeys.

    5. Duck feeding + water turtles

    Artificial swamp crossed with a low glass screen with underwater viewing, and water plant life like reeds.

    Possible species: Chinese pond turtle, four-eyed turtle, malayan box turtle, Baer's pochard, common pochard, philippine duck, white-winged duck. Possibly Hawaiian Duck / Meller's Duck / Swan Goose .

    Topic – wetland draining.

    6. Fish feeding

    Malawi cichlids. A rocky tank with a glass view from the front and low glass screen from the side, where feeding people can access and feed the fish.

    Alternatives: koi, goldfish also possible. Giant red fin gourami seems solitary, Soda / Natron lake cichlids are small.

    Topic – introduced species.

    7. Butterfly feeding

    Greenhouse which also has terraria with rare reptiles, rodents and insects which can be taken out during contact sessions. The topic is pet trade.

    You can check also these threads:
    All weather children zoo - Very Wild Asia
    Jurek's Children Zoo
    iluvwhales and lintworm like this.
  2. Lota lota

    Lota lota Well-Known Member

    22 May 2022
    Sounds like
    Would this only be resricted to a certain time?Wouldn't the constant chance of getting a treat during opening ours cause some behavioural issues in the troop.
  3. Jurek7

    Jurek7 Well-Known Member 15+ year member

    19 Dec 2007
    Everywhere at once

    I adapted this concept from Knuthenborg safari park in Denmark. They have a similar feeding experience for baboons. Visitors are given baboon food, and enter a small wagon which is driven inside the baboon exhibit. Baboons hitch a ride on the wagon and pick food through little holes. Visitors love it. It is a working, and technically simple way for a zoo to have monkey feeding which can be regulated and supervised at will, has no risk of monkeys biting people or people teasing monkeys, and no direct physical contact with the monkeys.

    I imagine a fairly normal viewing shelter with glass windows looking into a monkey exhibit. At the base of the window, there would be a long panel of thick transparent plastic with a row of holes. This would be normally blocked by another long plastic panel on the monkey side of exhibit, kept in place by a padlock. And this would be an ordinary viewing shelter.

    1-3 times a day, there would be supervised feeding presentation. A keeper would go and talk about monkeys and habitat destruction. Then, visitors would be given some chopped food, maybe pellets or boiled egg or vegetables. One plastic panel would be slid away. Monkeys would jump on the window, and could pick food. Then the panel is closed, and this is a normal viewing window again.

    There could be variation how these holes would precisely look like. Knuthenborg seems to use a sort of a drain divided by glass, so the food falls to the bottom between monkey and visitor sides. Ideally, they would be vertical holes, so a human could put a hand below, monkey would reach with its hand from above, but the plastic would be thick enough so that a human could not put a fingertip all the way through, and the hole would be small enough that the monkey could not put a muzzle inside and bite.
    Lota lota likes this.