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Tweaking Night Hunters

We’ve been collecting some great feedback from those of you who have experienced the new Night Hunters exhibit. Thanks to all who have shared their thoughts and advice via Facebook, blog comments, exit surveys, and so on. It is much appreciated and greatly helps us in being able to provide the best experience possible.

One of the major concerns that visitors have expressed is that it’s too dark. Yes, it is a nocturnal exhibit, but we certainly don’t want people stubbing their toes or losing their loved ones! We’ve added in more of the twilight blue lighting along the front hallway recently that should help with that. We’ve also added a bit more light to some of the darker exhibits such as the potto and Burmese python.

Another comment we’ve heard is that the animals are always sleeping or hiding. To this I say, come back and see us again on a different day and time! The beauty of it is that you have a different experience each and every time you visit.

We can’t expect the animals to be right up front and active all the time. What you’re observing is more true to life, not a documentary that pieces together just the best, most exciting moments of an animal’s life. Just like housecats, wild cats spend much of their day resting and sleeping.

We do provide enrichment to keep our animals happy and healthy and make sure they get enough exercise and activity. At different times throughout the day, the keepers introduce snacks, scents, and other novelties into the exhibits, which certainly gets the animals up and moving. Ocelots, in particular, go crazy for the scent of Obsession cologne, and you should see our fishing cats move when live minnows are put in their pool.

On the other hand, we also have to give the animals plenty of time to rest and relax to meet their needs. Imagine if you had people peering at you through your windows at home all day long as if you were the star of your own reality TV show. I bet you’d want to escape at times to have a few quiet moments to yourself. Our animals can choose to take a break, too.

That said, keep in mind that Night Hunters has only been open for a little over a month. For many of the animals, this is a brand new home. As they acclimate to their new environment over time, they will become more comfortable and more likely to hang out where people can see them. Some of the animals are also getting used to a new day-night cycle as well. The cats, for example, have had their days and nights switched as they are now on a reverse light cycle. As they adjust, so should their patterns of activity.

Another frustration visitors have expressed is that it’s too crowded. As a brand new exhibit that opened during the beginning of our peak visitor season, Night Hunters is definitely seeing a lot of traffic. It’s definitely a different experience depending on how crowded it is inside the building. You can avoid the crowds by making Night Hunters your first or last stop of the day or coming on a less-than-perfect weather day when there are less people at the Zoo. Try coming back in a few months when the excitement of a new exhibit has calmed down some, too.

Keep the comments coming! Let us know what you like so we can continue to offer those types of experiences and let us know what you weren’t too crazy about so we can try to address those issues in the future. I’d especially love to know how your opinions might have changed after walking through Night Hunters a few different times. We really do care about what you think and want to make YOUR zoo the best it can be.


1 Molly { 06.30.11 at 4:38 pm }

It drives me crazy when people tap on the cages or scream at the animals to try to wake them up or get their attention. Also, a lot of the glass on the cages gets all smeared by the afternoon from the people who lift their kids up to bang on the glass. Animals can be amusing and we expect some amusement when we go to the zoo, but you cannot demand that every animal be on display and doing a little dance for you whenever you happen to walk by. Please people, let the animals be animals and try back later if someone is sleeping.

2 Ethan { 07.05.11 at 11:29 am }

In some way the the Night Hunters exhibit is a major up-grade for the zoo; it shows they are always updating and making the zoo better all the time. However, I know that the two young cougars; Tecumseh and Joseph are not on display. I have only seen photos of the brothers and wish that they were on a temperary display until the Cat Canyon opens. Also the animals in the old nocturnal house such as the sugar and feather-tailed gliders are no longer on display. Other wise the zoo has done a great job with this exciting exhibit.

3 Ethan { 07.08.11 at 2:56 pm }

I think besides the fact that the zoo has not put the young cougars; Tecumseh and Joseph on display they have done a great job with the exhibit. Some of the animals from the old nocturnal house that are presently not on exhibit, such as the sugar and feather-tailed gliders should be encorperated into other exhibits. Don’t get me wrong though, love the cinncinati zoo and botanical gardens, and have been a member for a while now, just bringing up some things I thought of. Also I’m sincerly sorry to the zoo staff for the loss of Zuri the baby giraffe.

4 Doug { 07.18.11 at 5:24 pm }

Ethan, the sugar gliders are no on display at the Asian portion of the Jungle Trails. They are where the pygmy slow loris used to be. Just wanted to let you know. 🙂

5 Doug { 07.18.11 at 5:25 pm }

NOW*** on display. LOL

6 Ethan { 07.24.11 at 12:15 pm }

Oh thank you I haven’t been in about a month so that is good that they are on display again. Thank you for telling me I’ll have to go see them, do you happen to know anything about the cougars; I want to see them SO BAD!

7 elizabeth { 08.19.11 at 4:30 am }

I like the new night hunters exhibit, but still wish there was a little more lighting (blue is fine) so we can see the animals a little bit better, and if we want to take non flash pictures. I love to take pictures everytime we go to the zoo so I can show others what I have seen and to look at them again at home when we cant go to the zoo. If the gliders are where the pygmy slow loris use to be, where did the pugmy slow loris go. Also, last year on one of our many trips to the zoo, I took a picture of a bird that I have not seen since. It was in the lorket landing area. It was shaped a little like a dove, with a light blue head, pinkish throat, and different shades of green on its pack and wings. It was standing on the ground so I only have a shot f its back. If someone cloud help me find it again or tell me a little about it, that would be great. I am also sorry for the zoo’s loss of Zuri. I know when someone loses a pet it is hard and I would think it would be the same at the zoo.

8 elizabeth { 08.19.11 at 4:33 am }

what is going to happen to the old noctural house? would love to see it used for some of the animals that are not on display now that it clsoed, or some other new habitats for new animals. Wish we could get some of the sharks, fish, and other water items that use to be at the zoo before the fire years ago.

9 elizabeth { 08.19.11 at 4:34 am }

oppps typo clsoed should be closed

10 Zhand38 { 08.26.11 at 7:19 pm }

The nocturnal house will be turned into offices. 🙁 While the Hudo’s indoor exhibit will be expanded (the back wall will be pushed back).

11 Zhand38 { 08.26.11 at 7:22 pm }

also the pygmy loris is next to the pottos and across from the common vampire bats in Night Hunters. but it is impossibly dark to see them

12 Zhand38 { 08.26.11 at 7:28 pm }

and the birds in lorikeet landing, are Rainbow lorikeets, Ornate lorikeets, Red lories, Black-capped lorikeets, Magpie goose, Cape barren goose, Nicobar pigeon (Which is the one you took a pic of), Pied-imperial pigeons, Ruddy shelducks, and a Victoria Crowned Pigeon.

13 Zhand38 { 08.26.11 at 7:32 pm }

also kuvua the okapi that was born from Lisala Li (who died last year) is now pregnant and will give birth in December of 2012, anything else you want to know?

14 Zhand38 { 08.26.11 at 7:33 pm }

and the African Savannah exhibit will be finished in 2014

15 jeff { 11.09.11 at 10:03 pm }

i have not been to the zoo since the cat house closed. i absolutely loved the incredible aesthetic of the old cat house exhibits. they had incredible murals for backgrounds, that along with very naturalistic rock and tree foregrounds really created a sense of looking into a vast landscape . can anyone tell me if any or all of the old exhibit backgrounds were painted over for nighthunters? were the old foreground features removed as well? if so i am very disappointed.

16 Counter Strike Internet Business Promoter 11 9 + Serial . { 02.25.12 at 11:49 am }

He spent two decades working studying and establishing a reserve for the elusive forest giraffe known as the okapi.

17 LK { 07.24.12 at 4:28 pm }

I noticed photos online of an ocelot getting some exercise during a demonstration at the zoo. I was wondering, how often do the other cats in Night Hunters get a chance to exercise outside of their habitat enclosures? It seems they all should have a chance to do that. I was curious why the bobcat and the Siberian Lynx do not have larger enclosures? I realize they would have to be completely enclosed. I think the Cincinnati Zoo is great and hope that in the future, even more animals can benefit from changes.

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