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Night Hunters: Under Construction

Ever since the Cat House officially closed on November 1, the wrecking crew has been hard at work ripping out carpet, tearing down walls, and removing old signs and interactives. I put on my sturdy construction hat and went down to check out the progress.

So what have I been doing while all this destruction is taking place? Planning for the new exhibit interpretives, of course! Right now I’m identifying particular animal sounds for the night noises soundtrack that will play in the front half of the new exhibit. Check back soon for another update!

Learn more about Night Hunters >

November 12, 2010   2 Comments

BNL gives a shout out to the Zoo!

I went to the Barenaked Ladies (BNL) concert last night and I can’t tell you how excited I was when lead singer Ed Robertson talked about his visit to the Cincinnati Zoo earlier in the day.

He wrote and sang a song about the baby bonobos and baby manatees and baby cheetah. (Yes! We have babies so come see them.) I’m pretty sure it was actually the cougar cub he saw though, not a cheetah. Cougar cubs have spots so I can understand the mistake. The cubs are currently being raised in the nursery and will move into the brand new cougar exhibit when it opens next year following the new Night Hunters building.

I also have to say that it makes me so happy to know that Ed took the time to read some of the interpretive signs. He recalled a fun fact about bugs that he picked up in the World of the Insect building. Even though the interpretives in that exhibit were developed before my time (nowadays, I write most of the interpretive signage text around the Zoo), it’s still pretty exciting.  And our insect keepers will be happy to know that Ed encouraged the audience not to kill spiders and centipedes because we need them around to eat bugs. Thanks, Ed!

To top it all off, they sang the “froggy song”, as my 4 year old son likes to call it, Pollywog in a Bog. They’ve actually written several great nature-themed songs featured on their children’s CD called Snacktime.

I appreciate all that BNL does to speak out and act on behalf of wildlife and am proud to be a fan!

November 10, 2010   3 Comments

From Cat House to Night Hunters

In three days, the Cat House will close for renovation. Originally built in 1950, the Carnivora House was renovated and transformed into the award-winning Cat House in 1985. The time has come once again to revitalize this exhibit building, which is showing signs of wear and tear. In addition to a new roof and an upgraded ventilation system, the entire public viewing area will be redone. The carpet’s coming out, the walls will be repaired and repainted, and the whole visitor experience will be transformed.

That’s where I come in. I’ve been working with the exhibit design team to develop an exciting new Night Hunters theme. Imagine…

It’s dark. A chorus of cicadas sings. You pass under a tree and get a prickly feeling on the back of your neck. What’s that sound? Your senses are heightened. Did that bush just move? You feel a rush of wind and, out of the corner of your eye, you catch a glimpse of an owl flying by. Vampire bats feed. An ocelot patrols its territory. A python slithers. You wonder if something is watching you, stalking you, hunting you. Adrenaline courses through your veins, preparing your body to fight or take flight in the face of danger. You make out the silhouette of a clouded leopard. Its shining yellow eyes follow you as you sneak by. It’s an eat-or-be-eaten world and in the new Night Hunters experience, scheduled to open this spring, you are the prey.

I don’t want to give away all of the surprises we have in store, but I’ll be documenting the renovation process as we go along so check back for progress updates over the next six months!

Here are some “before” pictures:

October 30, 2010   1 Comment