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Category — Night Hunters

Under Construction: Night Hunters XIV

Now that the signage is out to print, I’m focusing my attention on the digital interpretive components. In particular, I’m pulling together the plan (and text and images) for what we’re calling the media wall.

The purpose of the media wall is to visually capture the visitors’ attention and draw them to the message that wild cats, even the small ones, play a vital role in nature and that the Zoo is working to protect them.

Four flat screen monitors are tucked into a larger photo collage of a variety of cats. Images, brief video clips, and quotes/text are displayed on each monitor. There is no intended linear progression within the programs that would require visitors to stick around and watch each one from beginning to end. It’s more like the digital images are just a dynamic part of the collage.

Night Hunters media wall

The current state of the Night Hunters media wall. It still needs a bit of work.

We are proud to be a leader in small cat reproduction, research, and conservation. The five small cats we focus most of our work on are the fishing cat, sand cat, black-footed cat, Pallas’ cat, and Southern Brazilian ocelot. These are the species that are featured most prominently on the media wall. Learn more about our cat programs on our web site.

Five small cats

The five small cats on which we focus our conservation and research programs.

Here are some other recent snapshots of the construction process:

Rolling in glass

Construction crew rolls in the glass window front of the new fishing cat exhibit.

ID sign placement

Graphics Manager, Greg Hanson, checks the placement of an ID sign mock-up. Can you find the error on the sign itself? Good thing it's just a mock-up!

Painting the walls inside the vampire bat exhibit

Painting the walls inside the vampire bat exhibit; the mood is blue throughout the building...

April 8, 2011   No Comments

Under Construction: Night Hunters XIII

All of the interpretive signage for Night Hunters is written, designed, and out to production. Woo hoo! See a sample below of the clouded leopard ID sign.

Clouded leopard ID sign

So now that the signage is at the printer, does this mean that my work here is done? Of course not! It’s a great feeling of accomplishment to get this big chunk of it out the door though.

Here are some other snapshots of Night Hunters progress this week:

Working on a wall

Preparing a wall for another coat of dark blue paint

Preparing the walls for a fresh coat of paint

Preparing the walls for a fresh coat of paint

Owl exhibit tree

The fabricated tree for the Eurasian eagle owl exhibit is nearly complete.

Cat crouches above you

The original artwork of a cat crouching above as you walk through the building was retained and given a fresh coat of paint for a new look.

QR code on Coming Soon sign

Scanning a QR code on the "Night Hunters Coming Soon" sign that links to a video preview of the exhibit; QR codes within the exhibit building will provide opportunities to see videos of the animals in action to enhance the interpretive experience.


March 31, 2011   No Comments

Under Construction: Night Hunters XII

This morning, I met with Steve Foltz, Director of Horticulture, to talk about the landscaping plan along the paths that lead visitors from the main path to the Night Hunters building and then from the building towards the cougar exhibit (which will open later this year). I’ve been focused on the inside of Night Hunters so it was great to catch up with the outdoor plans.

Where the experience will begin off the main Zoo path

Here's where the experience will begin off the main Zoo path

The interpretive experience begins before you actually enter the building. The picture above is taken from the perspective of a visitor walking along the main Zoo path coming from Monkey Island. Imagine the green fence is gone, of course. A waterfall cascading down the rock wall into a small pool on the left side draws your attention and invites you in. Passing the exhibit site sign (exact location to be determined), you’ll follow a curved path through a stand of conifers (to be planted).

Steve and Tim discuss plans for the waterfall.

Steve and Tim discuss plans for the waterfall.

As you approach the building entrance, you’ll walk underneath a trellis (yet to be constructed) that prepares you to enter into the dark building.

Night Hunters building entrance and exit

Night Hunters building entrance and exit

One of the challenges to renovating an existing landscape is to protect and save as many trees as you can. We often think of trees as inanimate structures and that they’ll be fine as long as we don’t cut them down or run them over. In fact, trees are sensitive to what’s going on around them and it’s especially important to consider how construction affects their root systems.

Tree here! Watch out for me!

Tree here! Watch out for me!

You exit the building in the same space in which you entered. Once the cougar exhibit opens later this summer or fall, you’ll turn left out of the building and follow a short path to the viewing window.

Site of the future cougar exhibit

Site of the future cougar exhibit

Here, native woodland trees such as maples, oaks, and maybe hemlocks will dominate the landscape. They provide shade as well as continue the feel of immersion in a wild place where wild beings are most certainly watching you from their hiding places.

Look up! Chances are you are being watched by the one who watches. Peshewa is one of the many different names cougars go by and it means “one who watches”. This Native American name accurately describes the cougar’s hunting strategy of watching and waiting for just the right opportunity to leap and pounce on prey passing by. Once the exhibit is ready, our two male cougar cubs, Joseph and Tecumseh, will be able to show off the leaping and pouncing skills they’ve been practicing here.

Joseph prepares to leap.

Joseph prepares to leap.

Joseph in mid-leap

Joseph in mid-leap

Joseph after the leap

Joseph after the leap


March 22, 2011   1 Comment