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Zoo entertainment and education

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by Jurek7, 9 Feb 2018.

  1. Jurek7

    Jurek7 Well-Known Member

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    Hello,
    Common topic on this forum is zoo entertainment - what makes exhibits really attractive, and zoo education - how to make visitors really learn. I put a presentation with my thoughts on these.

    It started as a fictional exhibit design play for a German site, but I removed the fictional part. So I think it belongs here.
     

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  2. Zooplantman

    Zooplantman Well-Known Member

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    A terrific summary of what zoo professionals and zoo designers believe to be true. But I often wonder if it is true
     
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  3. Jurek7

    Jurek7 Well-Known Member

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    Well, one zoo recently built a very expensive playground with a three-headed dragon as a theme without any other animal or education... And I did not see yet a zoo putting education for adults in places where grown-ups watch over their children. So not all zoo people believe it. ;)

    But you may have a point, in a sense that zoo visitors are diverse. So a zoo should best have several different styles, each of which targets different group of people. I written about it.
     
  4. Zooplantman

    Zooplantman Well-Known Member

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    Well when zoo professionals get together and plan, these things are generally presented as facts, as approaches to engage visitors and educate them. But do visitors, in fact, care and do they learn? When children use a ropes course next to a red panda do they come away talking about red pandas? I believe there is inadequate research.
     
  5. BeakerUK

    BeakerUK Well-Known Member

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    Noah's Ark Zoo Park has entirely the WRONG kind of "education" all over their play barn for the adults. Perhaps thankfully, it seems to provide evidence that parents do not really pay any attention to such things when their children are playing.
     
  6. Jurek7

    Jurek7 Well-Known Member

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    I agree with you that there should be more studies on how effective is education.

    I, as a layman would answer so: the zoo should put a rope course primarily as entertainment, because many visitors want other attractions besides animals. However, the zoo might squeeze some education too.

    First, the zoo might think what exactly it wants to tell, because it can tell very little. It could put a stand collecting petitions for a national park in Nepal, or ask visitors to pay $2 for a rope course going entirely to red panda conservation. But not both. It might put along the rope course, a series of clear photos showing red panda eating bamboo, roosting in a tree hole, walking in a snow, and against the mountain landscape. No text. The zoo might also put a tree-house shaped like an old hollow tree undercut by a chainsaw. Part of visitors might learn that it is a herbivore, arboreal, from a cold climate and mountain forests, and is endangered by tree cutting. The zoo might also put a link to the zoo website with cool photos where a child can make itself what looks like a selfie with red panda, and learn about a project in Nepal after it returns home. If the zoo puts only a standard information table with big colorful photo, few visitors would learn even that.

    Interesting is, that it all would not cost much more than a rope course without red pandas. And might even generate profit compared to no rope course.
     
  7. Zooplantman

    Zooplantman Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps any Zoochatters who have spent time at Bristol Zoo watching visitors enjoy ZooRopia can share insights from that.