Join our zoo community

What is the future of nocturnal exhibits in zoos?

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by DavidBrown, 5 Jul 2015.

  1. DavidBrown

    DavidBrown Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    12 Aug 2008
    Posts:
    3,808
    Location:
    California, USA
    In American zoos nocturnal exhibits have taken some interesting turns in recent years.

    Some nocturnal houses have shut down altogether ("World of Night" in the Bronx Zoo, Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, San Diego Zoo's kiwi house, San Francisco Zoo's nocturnal primate gallery).

    Some nocturnal exhibits are being built or reopened.
    *The Los Angeles Zoo recently reopened their nocturnal Australia house with a wombat, echidnas, woylies, and sugar gliders.
    *Disney's Animal Kingdom is preparing a night safari for their Kilimanjaro Safari Tour. Supposedly this will feature spotted hyenas in addition to species already in the savanna collection.
    *The San Diego Zoo is building a nocturnal exhibit for aye-ayes (and possibly other species?).

    What is the status of nocturnal exhibits in Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, etc. Is there anything new in the works? Are any current nocturnal exhibits slated for closure?
     
  2. blospz

    blospz Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    17 May 2010
    Posts:
    1,432
    Location:
    Hagerstown, MD US
    At the Smithsonian National Zoo in the Small Mammal House, the brush tailed bettong exhibit has reversed lighting. However, the tamanduas, also nocturnal, have a normal lit exhibit.
     
  3. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    13 Jun 2007
    Posts:
    17,347
    Location:
    everywhere
    NZ doesn't have many nocturnal species shown in zoos. Most nocturnal houses are just for kiwi, although often with morepork sharing the enclosure. Some of these kiwi houses have some small side-exhibits for weta etc. Nga Manu has kiore (Polynesian rats) as well. There are about 15 kiwi houses in the country.

    Auckland has by far the best nocturnal house, in their NZ area Te Wao Nui (opened 2011), which has separate enclosures for kiwi/morepork, short-tailed bats, Archey's frog, giant weta and other invertebrates, and some native fish. Auckland also has redeveloped their former kiwi house into a nocturnal house for crested porcupines.
     
  4. Drew

    Drew Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    8 Mar 2010
    Posts:
    193
    Location:
    Wichita, KS
    I know of at least one zoo that is planning on opening a new nocturnal exhibit but they have not made that announcement yet so I cannot say who. Personally, I enjoy nocturnal exhibits and hope the trend is to upgrade/build as opposed to phasing them out or closing them.
     
  5. bigfoot410

    bigfoot410 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    24 Jul 2014
    Posts:
    156
    Location:
    Smithtown, NY, USA
    I know the Bronx Zoo had closed the World of Darkness in 2009; however at least in the Bronx the trend has been smaller nocturnal exhibits in major habitats: Madagascar has some nocturnal exhibits (crocodile cave, ground boa, tenrec, mouse lemur), Jungle World has a nocturnal room (slow loris and mouse deer), Mouse House has an entire nocturnal wing (galagos, spotted skunk, fenec fox and at least a dozen of actual rodent species) and in the African Plains their is a nocturnal exhibit for aardvarks, duiker and scoops owl. And they just renovated a habitat in the Aquatic Bird House for kiwi and frogmouth. So that appears to be trend there.

    As for other WCS zoos- Prospect Park Zoo has a mini "World of Darkness" with fruit bats, kinkajou, brush tailed bettong, pygmy loris, brush tailed porqupine and Madagascan jumping rats. Central Park has a few nocturnal habitats in Tropic Zone for Jamaican fruit bats, ground boa and cloud rats.

    I know Philadelphia Zoo is closing their nocturnal wing of the Small Mammal House. So I agree for many zoos the trend is closing large nocturnal houses; however I am hopeful the World of Darkness may reopen in some sort of way one day at the Bronx.
     
  6. TH29

    TH29 Member

    Joined:
    6 Jul 2015
    Posts:
    13
    Location:
    Mia
    This is my first post but as an avid and lifelong zoo lover, I am happy to have discovered this place.

    On the subject at hand, I was very disappointed to see the World of Darkness closed at the Bronx Zoo as I very much remember it being one of my favorite places in the entire zoo. I noticed as well the other relocated animals in the Mouse House, Madagascar and the kiwi exhibit in the aquatic bird house (even though didnt see it at all) But I too hope there is something done in the near future to bring back an updated world of darkness.

    Locally here in south florida where I currently live (hopefully not for long) I dont believe there is any sort of nocturnal exhibit at the Zoo Miami, or at the Palm Beach Zoo. I wish there were more zoo's here but both are rather nice.
     
  7. Gulo gulo

    Gulo gulo Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    7 Apr 2012
    Posts:
    949
    Location:
    northern forest
    Capron Park Zoo has a Nocturnal Building. It has birds, bats and mammals. I walk by the birds, not sure on bats. They have pygmy slow loris, night monkey, indian crested porcupine, galago, giant hairy armadillo, southern tamandua and others. For a small Zoo, they have some cool exhibits and species. Cheap admission. An hour, maybe two if weather is nice and kids want to use splash pad. You can easily see this Zoo and Roger Williams in one day. They're fifteen minutes or so near each other.
     
  8. Odo

    Odo Member

    Joined:
    28 Jun 2015
    Posts:
    8
    Location:
    England
    In Britain the couple of nocturnal houses I've visited weren't great to be honest. I'm an animal keeperso I ttend to notice little things. However something I noticed is that there is no or minimal outdoor space. That sort of thing is ok ffor some animals but your larger animals could really do with that.

    Something I've noticed is that people tend to pass through the nocturnal exhibits quickly as they don't getto see the aanimals very well if at all, so I don't think they're a particularly popular exhibit. Because of this I see their future not moving forward very much, except in the case of keeping endangered species and breeding programmes, more behind the scenes than anything else.
     
  9. TH29

    TH29 Member

    Joined:
    6 Jul 2015
    Posts:
    13
    Location:
    Mia
    I remember when the Bronx Zoo updated the World of Darkness a bit with the mole rat exhibit inside it, there were some small enclosures in there, but then there were some larger open ones mixing animals that were really cool.
     
  10. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    10 Feb 2009
    Posts:
    5,649
    Location:
    Arizona, USA
    I have seen a handful of USA nocturnal exhibits in my many zoo travels and they are all terrible IMO. Shut them all down I say.

    I am, however, a huge fan of night zoo openings, which is completely different.
     
  11. snowleopard

    snowleopard Well-Known Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    1 Dec 2007
    Posts:
    15,127
    Location:
    Abbotsford, B.C., Canada
    North American zoos that have completely closed their nocturnal houses in the past decade include: Woodland Park Zoo, Bronx Zoo and Calgary Zoo, along with these zoos that have closed smaller nocturnal areas: Minnesota, San Diego, San Francisco, Fort Wayne and Philadelphia. There has probably been an average of one closure per year and it has been very disappointing to see so many nocturnal zones closed, as seeing animals with the lighting reversed is a fascinating experience.

    Since Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo opened the world's largest nocturnal house in 2003 (the stunning Kingdoms of the Night) there have been many closures but I cannot think of a single North American zoo that has opened a brand-new nocturnal house in recent years. Los Angeles Zoo has re-opened their old Australia House and Cincinnati converted their Cat House into Night Hunters, but the overwhelming trend is for those type of buildings to close down.
     
  12. Jurek7

    Jurek7 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    19 Dec 2007
    Posts:
    1,627
    Location:
    Everywhere at once
    Rising costs of energy in Europe hit these exhibits, and the 2000's zoo trend of showing only animals popular from movies and TV. Also, older exhibits are too small and bare for today standards without renovation.

    I think the concept needs to change from the 1970s row of glass-fronted boxes with limited frnishing towards larger immensive night exhibits, perhaps designed after Nocturnorama in Switzerland and walk-through tropical exhibits.
     
  13. Bib Fortuna

    Bib Fortuna Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    18 Dec 2010
    Posts:
    852
    Location:
    Tatooine
    I agree with you-most Nocturnal Houses in the Usa are very bad and they keep animals in in they do not belong into such houses-Clouded leopards,aardwolf,ardvark and many more.

    I think, in the next years more of them will be closed and I think, in 15-20 Years, they are part of the Zoohistory.

    Some europaren zoos have alos closed their old, outdated nocturnal houses, others have rebuild them(Berlin,Antwrepen) and a few llittle new nocturanl departments were opened. Stuttgart wants to build a new Nocturnal house in their upcoming elephant house, and also Frankfurt had the idea to replace the Grzimekhouse, but now, they started to renovate the building instead of replace it in the future-there is no money for a new Nocturnal house in Frankfurt.

    I really hope, Saarbrücken will close its tiny and poor nocturnal house.
     
  14. carlos55

    carlos55 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    19 Jan 2014
    Posts:
    289
    Location:
    mexico,d.f.
    Here in Mexico, only zoomat ( zoologico miguel alvarez del toro) in Chiapas state has a very nice nocturnal house, which is for native fauna. Africam safari park has a nocturnal area built like a small cave for egyptian flying foxes. That is it.
     
  15. snowleopard

    snowleopard Well-Known Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    1 Dec 2007
    Posts:
    15,127
    Location:
    Abbotsford, B.C., Canada
    The stunning announcement of the day is that Woodland Park Zoo is now planning to reopen its Nocturnal House in 2018. Great news!
     
  16. savetherhino

    savetherhino Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    15 Oct 2011
    Posts:
    54
    Location:
    brookfield wisconsin usa
    Milwaukee County Zoo in their nocturnal part of the small mammals building has
    • African Straw-colored Fruit Bat
    • Common Vampire Bat
    • Senegal Bushbaby
    • Fennec Fox
    • Sugar Glider
    • Kinkajou
    • Springhaas
    • Potto
    • Southern Three-banded Armadillo
     
  17. JVM

    JVM Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    1 Nov 2013
    Posts:
    263
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    I find this exhibit a huge highlight of Milwaukee and on my last visit it was extremely active and well-attended.

    Brookfield retired their nocturnal exhibit when they closed/renovated Small Mammal House, but retains nocturnal sections in Australia House and part of The Fragile Desert. LPZ has no dedicated nocturnal exhibits either.

    I was going to make a new thrad when I found this one - why is there a trend to remove Nocturnal houses? They seem to be divisive in the zoochat community here.
     
  18. Coelacanth18

    Coelacanth18 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    23 Feb 2015
    Posts:
    906
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    I too wonder this question. The consensus seems to be that the nocturnal house planned for San Diego's African Rocks has been scrapped, further calling this trend into question. Woodland Park's nocturnal house is set to reopen in a couple of years after its closure sparked a unexpectedly enormous backlash from zoo fans. Why is it that Seattle received that protest when other zoos have silently been putting nocturnal exhibits by the wayside without much public discussion? One reason that has been mentioned is energy costs; does anyone know if that's the reason they are among the first things to be cut when a zoo becomes cash-strapped?
     
  19. JVM

    JVM Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    1 Nov 2013
    Posts:
    263
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    The removal of the Aardvark Exhibit at Brookfield, which was run as a small Nocturnal House, is semi-unrelated as the last individual is really out on breeding loan, but considering they aren't interested in restocking the species, I wonder if that is a further indicator of the trend?

    I think that's a solid theory as to why.