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Difference between traditional zoos vs aquariums, butterfly houses, botanic gardens, safari parks, e

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by La Cucaracha, 19 Nov 2023.

  1. La Cucaracha

    La Cucaracha Well-Known Member

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    Without using "private vs public" as a reason, what do you think intrinsically separates zoos from other, similar facilities accredited by the AZA?
     
  2. Osedax

    Osedax Well-Known Member

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    While some places you mention have clear differences (aquariums, butterfly houses, botanic gardens and one could argue safari parks), really the only difference between many zoos, wildlife parks, safari, animal parks etc is what they like to call themselves.
    Here in Australia, a “wildlife park” is usually a collection that focuses mainly on native species, some with a few common exotics as well (with meerkats being the most common), but not always. Mogo Wildlife Park is one of the only Australian collections that focuses entirely on exotics, and Hunter Valley Wildlife Park also seems to have a large focus on exotic species. Admittedly, both of these examples were family-owned and called “zoos” until Chad Staples (“Zookeeper Chad”) bought them.
     
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  3. TinoPup

    TinoPup Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    ... They're zoos? They have a variety of animals in a setting where you walk around?
     
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  4. La Cucaracha

    La Cucaracha Well-Known Member

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    You just described all the other related facilities.
     
  5. TinoPup

    TinoPup Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    No, I didn't. Aquariums have only animals that live in the water, not a variety. Butterfly houses have butterflies and insects, not a variety. Botanic gardens don't have animals. Safari parks are drive through.
     
  6. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member 15+ year member

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    I don't even understand the purpose of the thread. Is this actually just the same old "what's the difference between a 'zoo' and 'x other animal collection name' " question, or is it supposed to be asking something else?

    And what does it have to do with the "Without using "private vs public" as a reason" in the opening post? What would private vs public have to do with calling something a zoo or a safari park?
     
  7. La Cucaracha

    La Cucaracha Well-Known Member

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    Butterflies are animals, and lots of botanic gardens display captive wildlife.

    It's a philosophical question, and it's not mundane to me from a zoo designing perspective.
     
  8. BenFoxster

    BenFoxster Well-Known Member

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    Zoos - A public facility that holds exotic species (sometimes only native species, usually species from around the world) viewable to the public. Usually incorporates educational signage and participates in animal breeding and/or conservation efforts, while also having vets and the care necessary on hand to help care for their species. May also participate in animal rehabilitation and participate in public events within the community (ex, brew at the zoo, Zoo Christmas events, local charity events, family get togethers, rentable venues, etc.) Zoos typically exclusively hold land animals or marine mammals (sea lions, seals, penguins, etc.), with little to no aquatic species other than maybe a few small fish tanks here or there. The exception are zoos with zoo aquariums like Henry Doorly and many others, even then they are often advertised as "zoo aquariums," implying a difference between a zoo and an aquarium, similar to places like Camelot Park or Chuck E. Cheese which are often advertised as a simultaneous restaurant and entertainment venue.

    Aquarium - A public facility that usually holds exclusively aquatic fauna, herps, and invertebrate. Although there may be many exceptions (most commonly sea lions, seals, aquatic birds, sea otters, sea turtles, etc.), the majority of aquariums will hold exclusively fish and other sea related species (crabs, lobsters, octopuses, jellyfish, etc.). This means guests won't be expecting to see land animals like lions or meerkats here. Mammals and birds in general will often be nonexistent or extremely limited. Will also usually participate in animal rehabilitation, conservation, and breeding programs. May also participate in public community events like charity events, public get togethers, events, etc. Vets and research may also be available on site. Educational purposes are also often emphasized, such as informational signage and banners.

    Botanical Garden - A facility open to the public focusing almost exclusively on plants and plant conservation. The facility least likely to include any animals; the majority feature zero live animals with the focus being on plants and appealing to plant enthusiasts. Some zoos like San Diego and Busch Gardens double as botanical gardens, containing a variety of plants from around the world and areas of the zoos devoted to plants. On the contrary, very rare for a botanical garden to double as a zoo, it usually only occurs the other way around.

    Butterfly Gardens, petting zoos, carnival/fair attractions, etc. - Public facilities allowing guests to interactive with certain species. They are usually seasonal events that may even rotate through various cities like traveling zoos/fairs. In the case of butterfly gardens, guests are allowed to enter an aviary with plants and free-roaming butterflies (usually not allowed to touch them). Petting zoos are facilities (usually) limited to domestic species like goats, pigs, chickens, lamas, rabbits, etc. where guests are allowed to feed and/or pet the animals. Petting zoos are extremely common within zoos, without getting the same advertising or attention as "zoo aquariums" or zoos with botanical gardens due to how common (and perhaps) overdone they are. Many carnivals or fairs feature attractions featuring live animals (usually petting zoos), sometimes containing exotic animals on display which guests are not allowed physical interaction with. From personal experience, back when I was about nine-years-old my parents took me to the Kern County Fair (a traveling fair/carnival which rotates through various cities once a year) and I saw a venue displaying animal pens with kangaroos and wallabies, plus cages/tanks with kookaburras, cockatoos, parrots, small mammals like sugar gliders and hedgehogs, and various herps. I then revisited the Kern County Fair, this time attending it in Fresno California, sometime back in 2012 I believe, this time seeing various separate venues within the fair where you had to pay to enter a trailer containing captive animals for $5 each. One contained large snakes (I believe pythons), the only one I entered, one containing monkeys, I believe Rhesus Macaques, and I can't remember if there was a third trailer or what species it could have held. The fair also had a venue displaying a large tank (free with admission) containing various sharks, though I can't remember the species. Most recently back in October I attended the Bakersfield Kern County Fair again, this time seeing a lorikeet walkthrough venue and a camel riding attraction. Of interesting note, the camel ride featured a lone zebra (not sure the species, but perhaps mountain zebra) displayed alone in its own little pen to the side of the attraction (not available for rides, feeding, or petting). All three visits also featured domestic animals, an Alaskan Pig racing show, a duck race, and a bull-riding rodeo.

    Safari Parks - Similar to zoos but holding land animals in massive wide, seemingly open-range enclosures. May also contain a few animals in more traditional scaled enclosures. Often the majority of their species will be kept in traditional enclosures while featuring a few animals in open-range style areas (for example, the San Diego Safari Park with its African and Asian savannahs). Either way, they usually have at least one or two large (seemingly) open-range enclosures, usually African, Asian, or North American ungulates. Will often feature educational signage and participate in public events, animal conservation, and rehabilitation.

    Museums - Facilities open to the public which may feature taxidermized animals, animal skeletons, or fossils. The majority do not feature any live animals, though there are a few exceptions, usually featuring small mammals, birds, fish, or herps small enough to fit in tanks within an indoor building. Educational signage and banners are extremely prevalent, though participation in animals conservation and breeding is usually nonexistent, with the funding being dedicated to museum maintenance and research. May be open to community events, local charities, etc.
     
  9. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member 15+ year member

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    So the thread is just asking "why is x called a zoo and y is called a safari park"? Sorry, I'm not clear on if that is what your reply meant.
     
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  10. TinoPup

    TinoPup Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    I didn't say butterflies aren't animals? Butterfly houses have butterflies. That's not a variety. Even having insects, arachnids, etc. isn't a variety.

    I'd love to know the "lots" of botanic gardens that have animals. Of the few I can think of, they only hold a couple of small species, save for one, which has several natives but nothing more than an average nature center.
     
  11. La Cucaracha

    La Cucaracha Well-Known Member

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    There are no right or wrong answers, but detailed, well thought-out answers like this are just what I'm looking for!
     
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  12. La Cucaracha

    La Cucaracha Well-Known Member

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    Yes.
     
  13. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member 10+ year member

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    It's entirely possible for something to be a zoo *and* a butterfly house, botanic garden, aquarium or so forth.....

    By which definition collections such as Oceanário de Lisboa, L'Oceanogràfic Valencia, Berlin Zoo-Aquarium, Hull The Deep, Den Bla Planet etc don't count as aquariums :p which is nonsense.

    North Anston Tropical Butterfly House, among numerous other UK collections, begs to differ.

    I think that if you intend to claim that Wilhelma in Stuttgart doesn't count as a real botanic garden you'll be throwing a lot of cats among a lot of pigeons :p not least with @Tim May I reckon!
     
  14. TinoPup

    TinoPup Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    Really, Dave? Something that is "a zoo and something else" is, foremost, a zoo. Wilhelma, like Cincinnati, Los Angeles, and dozens of other places, is a zoo that is also a botanic garden. Their central missions focus on animals, their websites and media and gift shops and everything else are almost entirely animals. They wouldn't exist if not for the zoo part. Berlin is a zoo that added an aquarium inside of it. This adds to the variety of the zoo.

    For the aquariums you listed, I don't know enough about them and google/wikipedia are only showing typical aquarium animals. Yes, aquariums sometimes have non-aquarium species. But that isn't their focus and they rarely have more than a few. No one says "let's go to the aquarium, I bet they have tigers!" even though there's multiple that do have tigers.

    North Anston seems to bill itself as as a Wildlife Conservation Park and has only retained the "butterfly house" as part of its name, not what it is.
     
  15. BenFoxster

    BenFoxster Well-Known Member

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    What about that one aquarium with hippos, or Dallas World Aquarium with its jaguars and three-toed sloth? To guests that aren't zoo enthusiasts who base their knowledge on zoos and aquariums on their local experiences, they'll just assume that it is the norm. Some people might actually go to the aquarium to see hippos or sloths.
     
  16. TinoPup

    TinoPup Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    No, they don't assume it's the norm, because aquariums are commonly mentioned in media. People know the definition of an aquarium. The hippos are an exception, like the tigers. DWA hasn't been an actual aquarium for a long time.
     
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  17. birdsandbats

    birdsandbats Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    There facilities that are a zoo and something else but are not a zoo foremost. ASDM springs to mind.
     
  18. TinoPup

    TinoPup Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    Everything on ASDM's website bills it as a zoo first - "The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is a world-renowned zoo, natural history museum and botanical garden, all in one place". I personally don't think of it as a zoo, I focus on the desert aspect; it's all encompassing of what the desert is, which includes wildlife.
     
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  19. birdsandbats

    birdsandbats Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    In the past it has certainly marketed itself as a zoo first - those days are long gone. It's still a major focus of the facility, for sure, but the botanical garden, natural history museum, and art museum are all prioritized nowadays.
     
  20. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member 10+ year member

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    Wilhelma was a botanical garden for over 30 years before it ever held animals, as it happens....

    The name "Zoo-Aquarium Berlin" refers solely to the Aquarium, not the overall Zoo Berlin; my point is that the restricted definition you originally gave - "aquariums have only animals that live in the water, not a variety." - would disallow it from being classified as an aquarium at all, along with the other aquariums (which are not part of wider zoological collections) which I cited.

    Having visited, it is a butterfly house - merely one which has added some exhibits around the exterior of the main building over the last decade or two, and contained numerous non-invertebrate species within the main house even before these expansions and (significantly more recently) rebranding. As for a butterfly house which remains entirely located within one building, but contains multiple non-invertebrate species, Williamson Park Butterfly House in Lancaster is a good example. The fact both of these count as both a butterfly house and a zoo is kinda my point! :)

    Or to put it another way, and answer the original question:

    Nothing intrinsically separates them - they are all subsets within a single spectrum comprising a range of specific focuses, and often the actual name of a collection owes as much to politics and PR as it does identity.
     
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