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Category — Jungle Trails

My Summer Interpretive Media Internship

Guest blogger:  Crissi Lanier, Interpretive Media Intern

This summer I’ve had the great opportunity to be  an Interpretive Media Intern at the Cincinnati Zoo.  When I began in June I didn’t know what to expect, but I knew I was excited. The summer experiences certainly haven’t lessened that excitement.  I’ve been assisting Shasta Bray, the Interpretive Media Manager, in three main areas.

First, I’ve been writing blogs on various topics from how to tell our elephants apart to the new Africa exhibit.  Writing about different experiences I’ve had at the Zoo as part of the Advanced Inquiry Program (AIP) has been fun, both because of the actual writing as well as sharing my experiences with others.

In addition to the blogs, I’ve been updating and creating animal pages for the Zoo website.  This has been one of my favorite projects because I have learned so much about species I have never heard of or paid attention to before this summer.  I’ve become much more comfortable with the Zoo and what can be found where in the exhibits. I don’t know where everything is yet, but I certainly feel more at ease than before.

Say Hello to Moe every time I come for a meeting!

I say hello to Moe every time I come to the Education Center for a meeting!

Both of these projects have allowed me to incorporate one of my other passions – photography.  I have been fortunate to be able to include some of my personal photos on the animal pages and blogs, which is very rewarding.

One last project has been helping to find out how visitors feel about the new interactives in Jungle Trails. We have completed observations and short interviews about each interactive as well as the overall opinion of the new installments. Everyone seems to really enjoy them!  Read more about them here.

Morning walk through Jungle Trails

Morning walk through Jungle Trails

The greatest part of this internship has been all the great people I’ve met and had the chance to get to know.  Everyone truly seems to love their job at the Zoo in all departments. Learning from Shasta has been such a great experience. Much of what you see throughout the Zoo has Shasta’s personal touch to make it look just right while also engaging and educating visitors.  She works with a team from Graphics and Marketing to fine tune each piece.  I rarely thought about all the signs and information that are presented throughout the Zoo and how these pieces were produced.  This summer has given me a whole new perspective on them and why certain pieces are located where they are; it’s not by accident!

Shasta Bray and I

Shasta Bray (left) and me (right)

Overall, this internship has been an experience of a lifetime and the only negative part is that it has to end! There has never been a day I wasn’t excited to come to the Zoo. Each morning as I head to the Education Center, I pass through the P&G Discovery Forest, where I say hello to sweet Moe the sloth and beautiful Leroy the blue and gold macaw.

LeRoy in P&G Discovery Forest

Leroy in the P&G Discovery Forest

After all, who else gets to walk through a rainforest on their way to a meeting or hang out with orangutans on their breaks!

Hello Lana!

Hello Lana!

August 28, 2013   No Comments

New Family Fun at Jungle Trails

Have you been to Jungle Trails lately?  If not, make plans to visit this exhibit on your next Zoo trip! We have recently installed some new family-oriented interactive elements that are sure to add more fun, laughter and learning to your day. Find out what it would be like if your family lived in the forest as you take on group challenges that our non-human primate relatives face every day.

Begin by working together like others primates do to explore their surroundings. As a family, seek out hidden plant and animal sculptures throughout the trail.

Look! I found the rock gecko.

Look! I found the rock gecko.

Next, try your hand at swinging like a gibbon. A double set of “gibbon bars” at different heights invite children and adults to swing from one end to the other. Who can swing the fastest in your family? Can you get your whole troop across without touching the ground? Listen closely and you may be able to hear the gibbons cheering you on along the way!

Swing like gibbon! Woop woop, you can do it!

Swing like gibbon! Woop woop, you can do it!

Orangutans create a mental map to remember where to find ripening fruit. If you were an orangutan, could you remember where to find the right fruit? At the outdoor orangutan exhibit, find out which of your family members has the best memory by playing a fruit matching memory game.

I found a match!

I found a match!

Now, get ready to balance like a lemur. Can you walk across a rope without falling off? Use the hanging ropes to help you balance.  Have a race – kids versus grown-ups! Who can make it across first? Can your whole group make it across without falling off?

Balancing like a lemur isn't as easy as it sounds!

Balancing like a lemur isn’t as easy as it sounds!

We primates have opposable thumbs that help us hold and use things with our hands. If you didn’t have opposable thumbs, how would you tie your shoes? Find out just how hard it is to tie your shoes (or Velcro them for young ones) without using your thumbs at this next interactive. We have three different-sized shoes for all ages to try at the same time and see who can do it first.

Thumbs Up for Thumbs

Thumbs Up for Thumbs

Bonobos communicate with each other by drumming a group rhythm on the buttress roots of trees. Create your own troop rhythm on the large hollow buttress root near the outdoor bonobo exhibit. Take turns banging out a rhythm and mimicking what you hear.

Bang out a rhythm here.

Bang out a rhythm here.

Now it’s time to put all the brains of your troop together to solve the “Big Brains at Work” maze outside the Africa building.  Primates are very smart and working together is essential for survival. Work together with your troop to push a stone through the maze with sticks.

It takes teamwork to solve this puzzle.

It takes teamwork to solve this puzzle.

We’ve even created new interactive signage using iPads at the indoor orangutan, gibbon and bonobo exhibits. Learn the names and personalities of the animals. Watch videos of our keepers hard at work to keep the animals happy and healthy. Learn what you can do to help save these endangered primates. Build your own Super Primate through an interactive game. The choice is up to you!

Learning about bonobos on the iPad.

Learning about bonobos on the iPad.

By the time you reach the end of the trail, your family of primates will know what it’s like to be a primate living in the forest. So come  swing, balance and discover with your troop at Jungle Trails today!

 

The Jungle Trails project was made possible with funding from a Museums for America grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to re-interpret the exhibit with a focus on family learning through a two-year process of research, development and design, and prototyping and evaluation.

July 22, 2013   1 Comment