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This book belongs in all of our libraries!!!

Discussion in 'United States' started by okapikpr, 6 May 2008.

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  1. okapikpr

    okapikpr Well-Known Member

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    Hey Everyone,

    I received in the mail today the newest zoo book in my collection.

    America's Best Zoos: A Travel Guide for Fans and Familes.
    By Allen W. Nyhuis and Jon Wassner.

    Nyhuis wrote a similiar book in the early 1990s and this is the updated version. It gives a well written summary of almost every major zoo in the United States. And also includes future plans for the zoos. The book begins with sections on tips for visiting a zoo and a list of rare and common species - and what zoos they can best be seen at. The midsection is the bulk of the summaries divided by regions of the US. And the last section contains ranks of the "best of" in American Zoos. For example:

    Kansas City has the best African collection, followed by SDWAP.
    Fort Wayne has the best Australian collection followed by Cleveland.

    Omaha's Lied Jungle is ranked the best with the Bronx's Jungleworld in 2nd for Indoor Tropical Rain Forest. The authors explain below the section title "based on animals and overall realism" - interesting to note based on a current thread.

    Both author rank individually their top 25 exhibits because the both viewed zoos in very different manners (as many of us do too). I wont go into details here, but if you have a little money left over from last month I highly reccommend that you all go to amazon.com and get a copy yourself.

    Enjoy!
     
  2. Zooplantman

    Zooplantman Well-Known Member

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    Thanks okapikpr,

    I don't mind disagreeing with a writer when they state their reasons as you describe these writers do. Helps open the mind to thinking about my assumptions.
     
  3. boof

    boof Well-Known Member

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    ordered it this morning. Looking forward to it arriving.
    I have a book called "zoo; profiles of 102 zoos, aquariums and willife parks in the united states". It was published in 1994 but it's good aswell. It gives a history of each zoo and a run down on things like exhibits, how to get there and education and conservation. it's old now but worth a look if you can find it.
     
  4. snowleopard

    snowleopard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    @okapikpr: thanks for the update, as I've been waiting for the new version of Nyhuis's book to be released. It's amusing that the 1994 copy is already far behind the times in terms of zoo exhibits.

    What is shocking is that the infamous Lied Jungle exhibit still ranks so high on the list, even after 15 years of many excellent exhibits popping up in North American zoos.
     
    Last edited: 6 May 2008
  5. sooty mangabey

    sooty mangabey Well-Known Member

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    I was in correspondence with Mr Nyhuis as he completed this new edition - I'd reviewed the original for International Zoo News, and he wanted to quiz me about some of the criticism I had made. My impression of him was that he was a decent chap who wanted to write a decent book, but he was by no means a zoo expert. Thus the angle from which he approaches the American zoo world upon which he is commenting is a very different one from that which many of us will have - hence, possibly, his liking of the Lied Jungle. I'm sure this book will be well worth reading, but it may well stir up debate in what it says (no bad thing). A definitive guide to zoos in the USA it still needed!
     
  6. okapikpr

    okapikpr Well-Known Member

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    The book is co-author by a zookeeper from Indiana who also traveled to many zoos for the book. So this new book has both visitor and keeper perspectives'. The summaries of zoos that I have read describe them well, however it leaves out most flaws of these zoos also...its trying to get people to travel to zoos.
     
  7. Zoo_Boy

    Zoo_Boy Well-Known Member

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    maybe a link would be helpfull if it is on a website somehwere- amazon.com for instance?
     
  8. snowleopard

    snowleopard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    [ame=http://www.amazon.ca/Americas-Best-Zoos-Travel-Families/dp/188714076X/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1210172480&sr=1-3]Amazon.ca: America's Best Zoos: A Travel Guide for Fans & Families: Allen W. Nyhuis: Books[/ame]

    That should help Zoo_Boy! I've already ordered the book myself.
     
  9. Rookeyper

    Rookeyper Well-Known Member

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    I just glanced at a copy this morning in our zoo office. One correction for Fort Wayn'e Australian aviary--we don't have hundreds of rainbow lorikeets! At this point there are none out there--too cold--but when the weather warms up there will be something like 12!
     
  10. Ituri

    Ituri Well-Known Member

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    For those who have or have seen the book I'm curious. Did Zoo Boise make it in there?
     
  11. okapikpr

    okapikpr Well-Known Member

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    Yes. But it doesnt have a full summary like the others. At the end of each chapter is a subsection "The Best of the Rest", and Zoo Boise is included there.
     
  12. okapikpr

    okapikpr Well-Known Member

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    The authors also have a website to continue zoo updates and add more reviews/summaries. It is still under construction at this moment, but check back at the site in a few months to see what they have...according to the book there will also be canadian zoo information.

    America's Best Zoos: A Travel Guide for Fans and Families -
     
  13. ANyhuis

    ANyhuis Well-Known Member

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    Hello Everyone, this is Allen, one of the authors of the book you're discussing. Thanks SO much for your interest in our book. If you don't mind, let me address a few of your points about this book.
    1. First, it is meant to be a TRAVEL guidebook. Jon, my co-author, has indeed worked in three different zoos, so he does offer an "insider's" viewpoint. Still, our book is aimed at tourists and zoo visitors -- not at zoo employees (though we hope you enjoy it too). While Sooty Mangabey is correct that I am not a "zoo expert" (not from an insider's viewpoint), I really DO believe we are very much in touch with what "the people" want to see at zoos. I have been to over 200 zoos and aquariums all over the world, including all of the major zoos in the USA. I have not only looked at the animals and exhibits, but also watched and talked to the people -- to gauge what they like and don't like.
    2. As a travel guidebook, our book is NOT a "critique" book of zoos. We wrote about what we liked when we visited the zoos. If there was something we didn't like, we simply kept our description brief -- or, if there was a lot not to like, this zoo would not make it to a full review.
    3. As for the "infamous" Lied Jungle -- I am stunned at that comment. I've never seen anything in that excellent exhibit which merits calling it "infamous". To me, it remains the definitive indoor rain forest zoo exhibit in America, despite its 15+ years of age. This is based on the animals exhibited, the realism, and the overall visitor experience. If you disagree, that's fine. As Sooty said, debate is healthy. Feel free to enlighten me on why some of you feel differently about that Lied Jungle. I'm very curious!
    4. To Rookeyper: I'm disappointed to hear you only have a dozen or so lorikeets in your Australian aviary. Last year, when I toured it, I didn't really count them, but I noted quite a few birds flying around me. Certainly, in my past visits there, I've experienced having "hundreds" of Aussie birds flying in flocks around me. Finally, please note that we sent every zoo's chapter to the zoo's PR director for review. We had hoped they would check us for inaccuracies. Apparently, this one got through the cracks.

    Any other questions?
     
  14. snowleopard

    snowleopard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    @Allen: thanks for joining ZooBeat, and hopefully you will feel enticed to offer up your personal opinion on the over 200 zoos and aquariums that you have visited worldwide. I myself will have visited around 60 zoos and aquariums by the time September rolls around, as I'm significantly adding to my total this summer, but there are many members on this site that have surpassed that number. If you glance through the countless threads then I'm sure that you will find an enormous amount of information that would interest you, including new exhibits scheduled to open in 2008 and 2009.

    There are a number of ZooBeat members that have described the so-called "infamous" Lied Jungle in unflattering terms, and there is the general feeling that the fake-rock background turns off hard-core zoo fans. I have never visited Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo, but the Lied Jungle exhibit definitely is a contentious one amongst zoo goers. There have actually been a number of debates surrounding it here at ZooBeat.

    As far as your book is concerned, I have ordered it from amazon and am now awaiting delivery sometime in the near future. I own the 1994 edition, and am extremely grateful that you have chosen to update the facts and figures 14 years later as there has been a wealth of new exhibits that have opened across North America. Keep up the great work!
     
  15. snowleopard

    snowleopard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    To touch once again on the Henry Doorly Zoo's Lied Jungle: In David Hancocks's 2001 book "A Different Nature" he rips into that exhibit. He mentions the "cramped and sterile holding spaces", "everything the animals come into contact with is fake and useless", it is a "demonstration of what NOT to do", etc. To be fair he also bashes many other tropical rainforest exhibits, but does throw some praise towards the Bronx Zoo's "Jungle World". Perhaps there is a large gap between what the general public perceives within a zoo exhibit and those that are members of the fraternity. I've never worked in a zoo, and so find myself wavering between the two different categories.
     
  16. ANyhuis

    ANyhuis Well-Known Member

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    Different perspectives

    SnowLeopard:
    You are totally correct in that the typical zoo visitor gets a different view and different experience from what a zoo insider sees. Again, our book is aimed at those typical zoo visitors.

    As for Mr. Hancocks and his critique of the Lied Jungle (and most other zoo exhibits), with all due respect, if you look at his editorial in June, 2007, he starts with the following "First, a confession: I don't like zoos." In fairness, he later says, "I believe we need zoos", but he sounds apologetic at that. This is the basis of what I believe would make up lots of disagreements between Hancocks and me. He doesn't like zoos, while I LOVE them! That is why he sees the glass as "half empty", while I see it as "half full" -- when it comes to zoos.
     
  17. Sun Wukong

    Sun Wukong Well-Known Member

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    Hi ANyhuis,

    Congrats for being so brave to appear here as an author. About David Hancocks's comment: to really love and appretiate zoos, You also have to acknowlegde their shortcomings and think of ways of how to fight & abolish these for good. Just euphemising everything doesn't help; constructive criticism is more appropriate and needed-and that's exactly what Hancocks does.

    Anyway, back to Lied Jungle. I have been there, and there are some positive things one can say about it; most of the animals looked healthy, there are interesting species on display and visitors surely appretiate gadgets like Indiana-Jones-like plank bridges, noisy waterfalls, active Common Vampire bats and a pool full of large arapaimas. However, there are several aspects which Hancocks rightfully animadverts in his book-and I would add that the lack of outdoor exhibits, especially for the larger mammals, and the otherwisely rather bare, artificially looking (the "trees", f.e.) and not really original, smallish exhibits (think of the Clouded Leopard or the Pygmy Hippos) aren't what one expects from modern zoo animal husbandry. It's rather eye candy for the American visitor, but not really suitable exhibits for various species. And Hancocks and I are not the only ones thinking so. I recently talked to one of the zoo curators of Leipzig Zoo. To get ideas for the currently built Gondwana Hall, he recently went to Omaha and visited the Lied Jungle-and was rather disappointed, remarking they would try to learn from the mistakes at Omaha to create the project at Leipzig differently.
     
    Last edited: 13 May 2008
  18. ANyhuis

    ANyhuis Well-Known Member

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    Thank you, Sun. Let me just say that I meant no disrespect to Mr. Hancocks, and I know that some of you revere his opinions. My only point, which I hope you all understand, is that before we just accept his view (about the Lied Jungle, or anything) as "gospel", we should consider his OVERALL opinion of zoos. He is on record (June 2007) as saying "I don't like zoos." Let me ask you: If you wanted to improve your golf game, would you go and ask someone who said, "I don't like golf"? I wouldn't.
     
  19. Zooplantman

    Zooplantman Well-Known Member

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    I would care less what a person was quoted as saying, then what he or she has actually done. (Who cares whether Tiger Woods is quoted as saying...or overheard saying...he hates golf? He knows how to play!)Hancocks helped move zoo design from the 1930s into the immersion exhibits that remain the standard today.

    But back to Omaha vs. Bronx

    Omaha: too much rockwork, an indoor tropical mall with animals
    Bronx: (especially the main room) appears as a living forest, where surprising and dramatic animal appearances are typical (this does not apply to the smaller exhibits in the entry, of course)
     
  20. Sun Wukong

    Sun Wukong Well-Known Member

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    @ANyhuis: You're welcome. I usually judge a person's integrity and importance by his/her actions and achievements, not by the one-liners or quotes they're supposed to have uttered. Therefore, I do respect and value his opinion about the Lied Jungle and zoo architecture/zoo development etc. in general, as I know of his role & knowledge in this field-and because I see a lot of my thoughts & experiences mirrowed in his statements.
    However, I do not consider him "preaching the (zoo) gospel" or "revere" him in fanatical fever, as I disagree with him in certain aspects, like the future of zoos as the electronic multimedia centers he envisions.

    Basing one's opinion about someone on a single line he/she said once doesn't usually meet said person as a whole. Zoos aren't perfect, as they are, no matter how You twist it, the artificial confinement of animals in human custody for human amusement, with all its shortcomings and flaws. The worthwhile, yet unfortunately currently unrealistic optimum would be a world in which zoos wouldn't be needed. However, as they are needed nowadays due to several reasons, Hancocks' statement can be considered a expression of the general dismay of an animal-lover about the imperfectness of the current state of affairs.

    @Zooplantman: Regarding Omaha = "an indoor tropical mall with animals". Bull's eye!