Category — Jungle Trails
The American Alliance of Museums has chosen the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden for two exciting new awards in excellence: the Sustainability Excellence Award and the Excellence in Exhibition Award. These award competitions were chosen by a committee from the American Alliance of Museums and in the midst of a competitive lineup between other zoos, museums, and aquariums.
The first award obtained by the Cincinnati Zoo is the Sustainability Excellence award. The purpose of this award is to educate, facilitate, and encourage green practice and to acknowledge and celebrate leaders in environmental sustainability. The Zoo has been made a model for environmental sustainability based on this award.
The second award given to the Cincinnati Zoo was the Excellence in Exhibition Award. This award was given to the Zoo on behalf of their Jungle Trails exhibit for “Special distinction, exemplary model of creating experiences for social engagement.” The judges on the committee for this award were impressed with the Zoo’s social engagement and listening to their visitors’ voices in creating a multi-sensory experience.
The photos above show a few examples of the interactive experiences that guests can explore in the Jungle Trails Exhibit. The Swing like a Gibbon interaction, on the left, is two parallel sets of monkey bars – one at kid height, one at adult height. This encourages guests to race as well as to collaborate to get their whole troop across without touching the ground like a family of gibbons would do in the wild. The Balance like a Lemur interactive experience is two parallel ropes that are suspended a few inches off the ground. The main goal is to get across, walking on the ropes and holding onto the dangling ones for balance – our most popular with guests!
The Cincinnati Zoo is very pleased to have been awarded these honors, and will continue to strive for award-winning exhibits as well as sustainable facilities around the Zoo as they continue their “Greenest Zoo in America” campaign. For more information about the American Alliance of Museums and their awards, please visit http://www.aam-us.org/.
June 12, 2014 No Comments
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.
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.
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!
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.
After all, who else gets to walk through a rainforest on their way to a meeting or hang out with orangutans on their breaks!
August 28, 2013 No Comments
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.
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!
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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!
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