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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

Cat Canyon Construction Continues

With beautiful weather like today, the construction crew down at Cat Canyon is busy. The snow leopard and tiger enclosures are really starting to take shape and the tiger viewing shelter is going up. Most of the public paths have been paved and the footers are in for the tiger sculpture and an artificial tree sporting claw marks. Horticulture has started bringing in plants and getting ready to landscape. Next week the sound system and speakers will go in and we’ll start planning where to pipe in the tiger roars and such. Our signs are still in production, which is fine because they are usually the last elements to be installed. See how the exhibit construction is coming along for yourself in Thane’s latest video.

May 18, 2012   No Comments

Cat Canyon Tiger Sculpture

The Graphics team and I visited the Kingdom Productions Inc. studio today to check on the progress of a tiger relief sculpture they’re working on for the Cat Canyon exhibit. Zoo Curator Mike Dulaney came along to provide his expert opinion on the tiger’s shape and color.

Here is a mock-up of the tiger’s face in detail. I love the effect of the bouncy ball eyes, but I imagine they’ll be replaced in the final piece.

Detailed prototype of tiger face

Detailed prototype of tiger face

This is the foundation for the life-size tiger relief made of concrete and clay. I didn’t get a real crisp image, but you get the idea.

Full body

Full body

Here is a close-up of just the tiger face. I wish I were so talented!

Close-up of tiger head

Close-up of tiger head

Now that the full body tiger has Mike’s stamp of approval, the next step will be to make a rubber mold. The final piece will be made from that with fiber reinforced concrete. Then, they’ll add on some nylon whiskers and paint the body. After checking out the painting sample below, Mike suggested that the colors need to be a bit darker and more muted.

Painted tiger head

Painted tiger head

We were very impressed with what we saw. It will be exciting to see the final piece come together over the next couple of months!

 

April 25, 2012   1 Comment