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Review Wildlands Adventure Zoo - Emmen

Discussion in 'Netherlands' started by vogelcommando, 1 Aug 2016.

  1. vogelcommando

    vogelcommando Well-Known Member

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    With the good old Emmen Zoo ( Noorder Dierenpark Emmen ) in mind I was hoping the earlier this year opened Wildlands Adventure Zoo would be at least as good and maybe even better as the old Zoo when I was standing in front of this new Zoo last Sunday.
    The entrance-building was impressing as was the entrance price ( Euro 30 ! ).
    Afterpaying this you come on a large square - the Compass Square. From here you can start to take one of the 3 routes into the 3 main areas : Nortica, Senenga and Jungola. On the borders of this square several shops and restaurants are placed.
    Because the weather forecast had said that it would rain a little that day and it still wasn't raining I dicidedto do first the outside-parts of the Zoo and so I went on to Nortica. The first enclosure here is a harbour-like enclosure for South American fur seals. On the other side of this harbour there Arctic 1 - an interactive movie-theater and if I'm informed right here an informative and interactive movie about the ( Ant)arctic is shown. However, because I don't go to zoos to view movies but want to see the real thing I didn't went in and I don't can tell if it is good or bad.
    I went further along Harbour like and rocky enclosures for the fur seals and Californian sea lions with which also shows are preformed. A large enclosure for Humboldt penguins realy looked good and through 2 barren containers conected with each-other you come to another - smaller square with several smaller shops and restaurants. Here also the enclosure for the Polar bears can be found and althrough the enclosure is not bad, I didn't liked it. The 3 Polar bears I saw were very active and althrough the water wasn't very clear I had some good underwater-views through the windows which are placed in a way that you can see the animals both under and above waterlevel. Along some by-pass ways you again went back to the entrance of Nortica and I must say I didn't realy liked this area : to many commercial items and only 4 animal-species is in my eyes to little for a zoo !
    Now we are back on the Compass square and because it still didn't rain ( :) ) I went to the second out-door area this being Senenga, an area devoted to the animal-life of the drier areas of our planet. You enter this area through a large african-looking building in which there is an indoor-enclosure for a nice group of Dwarf mongoose. The enclosure looked a little strange but the animals were very active and I even saw the young which were among the first animals born in this young Zoo. After leaving this building you find yourself in an African village which is partly a petting-zoo with several walk-through goat-enclosures. For the kids this is realy fun ( don't know how the goats think about it ) but for a ZooChatter this isn't an area to spend to much time so I went on and entered another walk-through area this time filled with Prairi dogs. This walk-through is realy large and nicely done and Prairi dogs are populair by the big public and I also like them. The ones here were everywhere and very active.
    After this walk-through you enter again a small square with a ice-selling car and other commercial thingies, a playing ground ( with gold-digger tower and sand box ) and then we come to a very barren Hippo-enclosure.
    From different viewing-points you can look in the enclosure but I only could discover in the farest corner of the enclosure an Hippo-back half out of the water :(. There is however also tunnel in which you can view the Hippos underwater. The water was however so unclear that it was here also impossible to see anything - even not an animal the size of an Hippo !
    Next to the Hippo enclosure the is the relative green enclosure for some Red-necked wallabies and a quite large enclosure for Guinea pigs.
    Next to the Guinea pigs a way goes down to a large indoor-playing ground but I left that on my right side - didn't feel the need of playing :) - and went on to the next enclosure. This was the Asian desert plain and here a group of Bactrian camels and a small group of Onagers ( saw 3 adults and a foal ). Trough this enclosure and through the next to it laying African plain a Safari-truck is driving and for the visitors this is big fun, for the animals I guess its every time a disturbance.
    At the other side of the path along the Asian desert plain there is the large enclosure for the Lions. The Lions tried ( quite succesfully ) to hide and did where they are best in - sleeping and resting !
    Now we have reached the big African plain and some intresting animals are living here together - ostrich, zebra, giraffe, white rhino, blue wildebeest and impala ). I found the African plain to barren and it didn't give me the old "Emmen-feeling" . Along this enclosure again a small square with a small farm with some domestic cattle and again some shops and restaurants. Funny was the was also a small group of visitors getting a drum course. Here is also the entree for the Safari-truck drive but looking at the row of people standing already waiting I dicided that I wanted to spend the next hour NOT standing in such a row so I went further. Now we have reached the far end of the park and here a large temple is home to a very large group of Hamadryas baboons and they and the enclosure looked realy fine.
    Along the other side of the African plain and the Asian desert plain
    ( the way partly going through some busses which were connected with each other ) we ended up again at the Wallaby-enclosure. We walk the way back now to the entrance / exit of Senenga and are also again on the Compass square. From here we now went to the third and last area Jungola.
    The first enclosure here is an Asian temple building and by entering it we find a large enclosure in which some real large Reticulated pythons are living. After this we enter a Free-flight area for Butterflies and there were a lot of them ! Also here a open-topped enclosure for the Chinese alligators and some turtles and a large aquarium with freshwater-fish from Asia ( and Australia ? ). This walk-through is realy nicely done, well-planted and with a nice collection of animals - I found it the best part of the zoo !
    After leaving this building we walk along the large outdoor-enclosure of Emmens famous Asian elephant-herd and outside I counted 4 animals - among them the large bull with large tuskers. Along this way again a small square with - yes you guessed it, some shops and restaurants !
    At the end of the path we enter the largest tropical hall in Europe ( at least that is what they claim ) and I must say : it is large !
    First part of the hall is a free-flight area for birds and althrough there should be Touracos, starlings and pheasant pigeons ( among others ) inhere I only saw 1 Java sparrow, 2 Victoria crowned pigeons and coundless Rainbow lorikeets - for which you can by nectar at a small shop in the walk-through !
    Next part of the hall is a walk-through for Ring-tailed lemurs and along a small river we walk along some islands in this river which are home to a small group of Spider monkeys and White-handed gibbons.
    At the end of the hall again a squire with - you got it - shops, restaurants and the standard crashted aeroplain ! From here you can also view the indoor-elephant enclosure which is huge and there were 2 smaller animals during my visit inside. Also near this squire is the place were you can went into small boats to take a ride on the river along the monkey-islands and the elephant indoor enclosure.
    Here again a waiting-row to become affrais off so no river-ride for me !
    Along the other side of the hall you enter the exit of the hall and along the other side of the elephant-outdoor enclosure you come to the last animal-enclosure, a nice exhibit for Asian small-clawed otters.
    Because I knew Emmen should also have some Green turtles and I hadn't seen them I asked a volontaire and he told me they were in the indoor-playing ground in Serenga so I went for a second time into Serenga and headed to the playing-ground. Here indeed a large but barren Sea-aquarium is home to 3 Green turtles and a nice collection of marine fishes.
    Now I had seen it all and could went home. Because I was by train I had lots of time ( 5 hours to be exactly ! ) to think about the things I had seen I came to the conclusion that :
    - it's ways to expensive !
    - the number of animals and even more the number of species is ways to small for a zoo of this size
    - it's ways to commercial - some shops and restaurants is Okey but here it realy is reducilous !
    - ways to little education - a point in which the old zoo was SO good !
    As already told in other threads on this forum I loved the old zoo and the feeling it gave me. The new zoo lackes this completly. For the enormous amount of money spend on this place I had expected a world-class zoo but that is surtainly not the case. Maybe ( and hopefully )it will improve in time but I'm affraid that it will not and I also fear that it won't survaive for a real long time. Emmen is far away of the more populated areas of the Netherlands and there is to little offered for the money you have to pay to get in.......

    ( will up-load photos of my visit in the Emmen Zoo ( new ) Gallery soon )
     
  2. Nikola Chavkosk

    Nikola Chavkosk Well-Known Member

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    Interesting story/description, vogelcommando. We are looking forward for additional comments and for the photos.

    Visitor can buy nectar for the loorikeets - isn't that too comercial thing?
     
  3. vogelcommando

    vogelcommando Well-Known Member

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    Yes it is !
     
  4. Loxodonta Cobra

    Loxodonta Cobra Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the review of this new establishment. According to the concept plans for this zoo on this site, a number of other animals where to be included such as indian rhinos, orangutans, spectacled bears, amur tigers, and manatees to name a few. All would greatly increase the experience of the zoo animal-wise I imagine.
     
  5. korhoen

    korhoen Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the review Vogelcommando! I've also visited earlier this year and I've been wanting to write a review aswell, but couldn't get round to it, and as I agree with most of the points you bring up here, I think I'll just add my thoughts here, if you don't mind:D

    I agree with your opinion on the Nortica area. I just wanted to add that I have seen the 4D-show and I thought it was terrible. In fact, I think it is the embodiment of everything that is wrong with this place. It is completely aimed at sensation, completely uneducational (they've placed penguins and polar bears on the same pole!:confused:) and completely zoo-unworthy. There are some onride clips of the show on Youtube, I'll put the link to one of them here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ZtC9k3I6mY) so you can see for yourself. I didn't read anything in your review about the "elevator" in Nortica. This is a small room, themed as an elevator that is supposed to take you down into the earthlayers below the poles. A pretty interesting idea, you might say, but the Wildlands thing is, like the rest of Wildlands, a huge disappointment. They only show a one-minute clip of some dinosaurs and then it's over. Nothing special, nothing educational, just pure rubbish. I didn't see the sea lion show, so can't comment on that either.

    I again agree with most of your thoughts on Serenga, except for the baboon "arena". I didn't like the enclosure at all. The enclosure is designed to look like an archeological digsite taken over by the baboons, so it has scaffoldings all over the exhibit, and barbed wire all over the walls. It gave me a very prison-like feeling which I didn't like at all. As the safari-ride waiting-line was very busy when I visited aswell, I can't comment on that either.

    As for the Jungola part, I did do the boatride. The ride takes you past the islands for the monkeys and gibbons and the indoor elephant enclosure in the hall. As with most of the rides and attractions in Wildlands, it adds nothing to the experience, as you can see everything you see from the boat by foot aswell. It is not educational either, as nothing is told about the animals you see from the boat.

    I agree with all of your general thoughts and conclusions you've put up here, I just wanted to add that I don't think Wildlands is suited for accomodating large crowds. When I visited there were more than 10.000 visitors in the zoo and the path network just can't handle such a large amount of people, the paths aren't wide enough and the length of the path network is definitely not long enough, which means that when it is busy you are constantly pushed forward by the crowd and you can't take your time to view the animals.
    Wildlands is definitely a huge disappointment and a major step back from the old zoo. The zoo looks pretty good but there is no message whatsoever behind the good looks, it is all empty. I sincerely hope that improvements will be made to make the zoo survive, but I really doubt that. The director of Wildlands has stated that he thinks nothing is wrong with the zoo and I get the feeling that he felt the placing of educational signs after continuous complaints by zoo visitors was a defeat, so I don't think we can expect anything else from him. In fact, he has even stated that he wanted the next development in the zoo to be a roller-coaster...:eek:
     
  6. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    wow that polar 3-D ride thing (in the Youtube link in korhoen's link) is just bad. They literally did put polar bears and penguins in the same place! And I was watching it thinking, "why have this in a zoo?" Really you can't expect visitors to treat the live animals with any respect if they are in the midst of amusement park rides.

    The boat ride through the rainforest aviary looks pretty nice from the following video - kind of what I think the Singapore River Safari was going for and failed at. There are an awful lot of "cliffs" either side though! I don't understand more than the basics of the language but the commentary content does sound rather, shall we say, "unchallenging".
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1Lhnr_V2Qk

    I have no idea what is going on here though:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BRqP9758FW4
     
  7. Nikola Chavkosk

    Nikola Chavkosk Well-Known Member

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    Amazing experience, - first video, I don't know for opportunity for a similar experience in Europe, except maybe Chester Islands.

    Second video: experiencing the feeling on a small unstable wooden boath in a river (or in the ocean), I guess :)
     
  8. Giant Panda

    Giant Panda Well-Known Member

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    It looks very similar to the boat ride in Leipzig's Gondwanaland.
     
  9. korhoen

    korhoen Well-Known Member

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    It is actually not an aviary as there are very little to no free-flying birds in that part of the hall (I think I saw some superb starlings there but I'm not sure), the other birds are restricted to the part where you can feed the lorikeets. So besides the spider monkeys, the occasional lemur or elephant, the gibbons and loads of tropical plants, there is very little to see during the ride. Combine that with very long waiting lines and very childish and non-educational commentary during the ride and it makes for a very disappointing attraction.
     
  10. vogelcommando

    vogelcommando Well-Known Member

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    I did go into the elevator, thinking it was a real elevator bringing you down to an underground area with intresting enclosures - like the Biochron in the old zoo for example - but as you discribes it, it was just pure rubbish and I even thought it was not worth mention it !
     
  11. MRJ

    MRJ Well-Known Member

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    What a shame! I remember the old zoo from my visit 18 years ago now(!) as truly inspirational and original. This just looks so much like so many other theme parks.
     
  12. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Moderator Staff Member

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    A real shame based on the descriptions.

    That second video link, with the people on the raft that will not stay upright, is just bizarre. As an American I also find it hilarious because a "ride" like this would be so totally illegal in our country.
     
  13. KevinVar

    KevinVar Well-Known Member

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    I think the raft is ment to be used by kids - not adults, and especially not four at once. Personally disappointed that no-one ended up in the water. :p

    Haven't visited Wildlands myself yet but don't plan on doing so in the near future either. I have only visited the old zoo once but from what I have seen and read online a visit to Wildlands doesn't even come close to the satisfaction of a visit to the old zoo - even though it was already half empty when I was there.
     
  14. zooman

    zooman Well-Known Member

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    Hi V,
    Thank you for your review, it is so disappointing as like you I was expecting something special. I won't be rushing over to visit.
     
  15. vogelcommando

    vogelcommando Well-Known Member

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    Came across a small problem with the Lorikeets. The large group in the enormous tropical house is signed as being Swainson's lorikeet ( Trichoglossus ( haematodus ) moluccanus ) and as far as I could observe them, they are Swainson's.
    Zootierliste however mention Pale-headed lorikeets ( T. h. caeruleiceps ) as being the subspecies kept at the new Emmen Zoo.
    This subspecies is quite rare in European public collections ( only 7 listed at Zootierliste ) and it would be intresting to know A ) who placed this subspecies for Emmen on Zootierliste and B ) where did the animals from Emmen came from ?
    To have a look at the birds themself, I've up-loaded some photos in the Emmen Zoo ( new ) Gallery.
     
  16. korhoen

    korhoen Well-Known Member

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    The Pale-headed subspecies was kept in the old zoo in the Oasia greenhouse. I believe (and I'm not entirely sure about it) that they decided to go out of the Pale-headed Lorikeets and instead keep Swainson's Lorikeets because they could have a bigger group of lorikeets in the feeding area when the park opened as Swainson's Lorikeets are more readily available (there weren't many Pale-headed Lorikeets left in the old zoo). Where the Pale-headed birds went, I don't know. As I said, I'm not entirely sure about this so I'm happy to be corrected.:)
     
  17. vogelcommando

    vogelcommando Well-Known Member

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    Thank you very much for this information korhoen! Didn't know they had such a rare subspecies in the old zoo, would realy be intresting to find out were they went.
     
    Last edited: 9 Sep 2016
  18. Tim Brown

    Tim Brown Well-Known Member

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    Was at Wildlands last weekend ,and this thread is basically quite correct..it is VERY disappointing and totally dummed down from what it was.If everywhere is going to throw education out of the window in this manner then we might as well have big dippers and dodgems in between the animal exhibits right away.Actually it is still possible to visit the old [empty] zoo which time has not yet reclaimed and to shed a tear at the idiotic decision that has been made.Even the exhibits in the old" new "grounds have been replaced, resulting in the best penguin exhibit I ever saw becoming the worst new hippo exhibit ive seen in years.Not everything about Wildlands is bad and there are one or two decent things - the baboons,the elephants are better,and if they can get the grass to grow possibly the new African savannah.But the character,the style ,the culture,has been left 500 metres away I'm afraid.
    PS Oh,and the new zoo now has virtually no labelling,apparently you can find out all you need to know from an App(yawn).