This week, I met with some other Education staff members and two of the Night Hunters zookeepers to talk about opportunities to lead guided tours for education program participants behind-the-scenes once the new exhibit opens.
The main program we talked about was our Nocturnal Adventures overnight program. During an overnight, participants get to take a sneak peek behind the scenes in different buildings, including Manatee Springs, the Nocturnal House, and the Wings of the World bird house. Once Night Hunters opens, they will get to see the new kitchen prep area there.
The zookeepers are happy to work with us on designing a space that fits both their needs and those of our education programs. Participants will get to see where the keepers prepare the diets for the animals, including the blood for the vampire bats! They will also see the access doors to some of the exhibits and maybe even meet some special critters that aren’t on public display.
Since no one else is around at night, except the Night Watch keepers who make rounds throughout the Zoo to check on all the animals and buildings, the participants sometimes get to see the animals behaving differently than they do during the day. The observations that participants make can actually be very valuable to the keepers. It’s important to note when animals are breeding, for example. If participants witness any reproduction or other interesting behaviors, they’ll be able to leave comments for the keepers on a whiteboard. The keepers might leave messages for the participants, too, asking them to keep an eye out for certain behaviors.
We’re very excited to be able to offer this unique opportunity for participants to catch a glimpse of the inner workings of our newest exhibit!