Join our zoo community

ZooChat Cup finals: Bronx vs Omaha

Discussion in 'ZooChat Cup' started by CGSwans, 17 Jan 2020.


Bronx vs Omaha: Aquatics

Poll closed 20 Jan 2020.
  1. Bronx 3-0 Omaha

    0 vote(s)
  2. Bronx 2-1 Omaha

  3. Omaha 2-1 Bronx

  4. Omaha 3-0 Bronx

  1. TZDugong

    TZDugong Well-Known Member

    17 Nov 2017
    Toronto, ON
    Ah ok, I thought that might've happened. As for the San Diego one, I remember that one well, considering I was one of those individuals:D.
    Agreed with your thoughts on the Amazon tank in Pittsburgh, it's the main reason I like the PPG Aquarium so much. Thanks for explaining why there are so few photos of the Scott Aquarium. Considering how popular Omaha is I was surprised that there were only 2-3 pages of Aquarium photos.
  2. Gondwana

    Gondwana Well-Known Member

    17 Sep 2019
    FWIW I like Pittsburgh's aquarium more than Omaha's also, because it does a better job of featuring the breadth of aquatic life than does Omaha, which focuses mostly on star power. Omaha's aquarium is still very good, however, and obviously Pittsburgh has no relevance to the challenge.

    The interesting thing when comparing Omaha to Bronx is that there are a lot of comparable aquatic exhibits and taking them together gives insight into each zoo's approaches to displays.

    Take the big walk-through aviaries. As noted by others above, both focus on water birds. Omaha's is absolutely massive, and is pleasant with full-sized trees, ponds, and grassy areas. It doesn't really attempt to represent any one place, and the birds themselves come from all over the world. Mostly, the birds seem to have been chosen based on showiness. Thus, the exhibit is spectacular, but for many species you don't really get a sense of what they're doing in the wild. Flamingos on a lawn drinking carrot soup out of a dog bowl doesn't exactly bring to mind a coastal mudflat. To be fair, that describes 90% of the flamingo exhibits I've seen, and I don't think the husbandry of the flamingos is being compromised. Meanwhile, Bronx's seabird aviary is smaller and has far fewer species, but it clearly evokes the Pacific coast of South America with limited vegetation, rock formations, varied substrates, etc., and as a result you get insight into wild behaviors: Inca terns popping in and out of burrows, wheeling overhead, and raining fishy guano everywhere while penguins swim below. I wish more zoos would take a cue and exhibit birds that actually like flying in their free-flight aviaries.

    Moving on to the tropical halls. Bronx's gharial/barb/gourami river actually looks like a river, with directional flow, realistic rapids, and a mix of sandy and rocky banks. The corresponding exhibit at Omaha is the arapaima moat, which is spacious and even vegetated, but it looks like a moat surrounding a monkey island. The arapaima are undeniably impressive though.

    One more comparison. Bronx's Madagascar hall has a few aquaria, featuring endemic cichlids and rainbowfish. Not the most exciting fish in the world but of conservation importance and perfectly fitting the theming. Omaha's desert dome also has a few fishes, including cichlids and toothcarps. The cichlids are in the Namib section, but instead of exhibiting the critically endangered Namibian endemic Tilapia guinasana, they are more colorful Malawi cichlids. The toothcarps are in the Sonoran section, but instead of being desert pupfish, they are goodeids.

    In sum, Bronx's exhibits do a much better job of evoking specific places, while Omaha's may be more spectacular. I much prefer the former, though I can understand others prefer the latter. Bronx also doesn't have anything comparable to Omaha's marine displays, so I certainly think Omaha deserves the win (btw, I'm not voting since I didn't participate in previous rounds).
  3. CGSwans

    CGSwans Well-Known Member

    12 Feb 2009
    @Gondwana - you don’t need to have voted in earlier rounds to vote in this one. Each match is independent of the others.