zoo

A look at the Cincinnati Zoo: What does the next ten years hold…

“10 years ago we wrote our first review of the zoo in CincinnatiThis year we decided to return and see how the Cincinnati Zoo has changed over the years… So what does the next ten years hold?…”

Plenty. According to plans recently announced the zoo is expanding many exhibits, adding to them, and giving the overall visitor experience an improved wow factor.

The parking will be expanded and changed going from a lot to a garage. The entrance will be more grand and inviting. Almost immediately visitors will see the animals. The Elephants are planned to move across the zoo and into a new open area, like the Africa section, that is five times as large. The Rhinos also will move in to this area.

Like the continent of Africa before it, Australia is getting a home in the Zoo. Wildlife Canyon will be transformed in to a two-story home for kangaroos and other animals of the land down under. The little penguins, which are native to Australia, are also getting an expanded home in the new section. Above the animals will be a new ropes course. This course will give visitors a chance to challenge themselves as the climb and swing high up in the air.

All of the changes and expansions are expected to be completed by 2025.

Beyond the cosmetic changes coming the Zoo is using the improvements to help enrich the lives of the animals they take care of. As has been seen in zoo across the world, happy animals breed better. The new expansions will be designed to both enrich the visitors experience and the lives of the animals. By using evidence based understandings of animal behaviors the Zoo hopes to be able to expand its world famous husbandry program. Their commitment is to animal care has grown over the years and will expand along with the coming years:

“We will transform the Zoo’s physical landscape by renewing facilities, habitats and gardens so that the Zoo setting matches our growing expertise in animal care, education, conservation and horticulture. We strive to lead in the ever-progressing world of zoos and aquariums, learning from the latest in evidence-based understanding of how animals behave, and implementing changes to promote animal excellence. We’ll advance behavior-based husbandry, increase complexity of habitats, and introduce pioneering animal health techniques and reproductive strategies in the pursuit of outstanding animal care.”

Over the past ten years the Cincinnati Zoo has become one the “Greenest Zoo’s” in America. The Zoo was transformed with the addition of a rainwater collection system. The current system collects over 25% of the water used in the Zoo. The plan is to use this system to supply 100% of the non-potable water needs. As mentioned in the previous post the Zoo also has one of the largest (the largest at time of installation) publicly accessible solar arrays in the nation. With future expansions expect the array to expand too. This array currently creates almost 25% of the zoo energy. Along with the solar, wind, and geothermal the Zoo is exploring Biomass energy options. Biomass is the “leftover waste products” from the plants and animals around the zoo. As they state on their website, the Zoo has a commitment to net zero waste facility.

As part of this ambitious capital campaign, the Zoo is taking their groundbreaking, robust storm water management program to the next level to drive down non-potable water use to zero.  By capturing 100% of the storm water and reusing it in the habitats, the Zoo can divert the water out of the city’s combined sewer system.  The Zoo will also focus on being net zero energy by driving efficiencies throughout the existing systems and pursuing advanced energy options including solar, wind and biomass.  And, with proper organic waste management, the Zoo will strive to become a net zero waste facility.

 

 

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A look at the Cincinnati Zoo: Ten years later

3400 Vine St, Cincinnati, OH 45220

http://www.cincinnatizoo.org

10 years ago we wrote our first review of the zoo in Cincinnati. Over the past decade we have been to almost all the other major zoos in Ohio (sorry Akron). This year we decided to return and see how the Cincinnati Zoo has changed over the years.

The Cincinnati Zoo opened in 1874. Over the years it has changed with the times. In the early days it was not as conservation minded as it is now, but neither were most zoos. Now the zoo seems very conservation minded and animal focused. It’s not just the animals that are the focus of the new mind-set. The visitors too play a big part in it. Everything the zoo does is now more focused on producing less waste and proper use of the waste that is produced, such as recycling. While this was the case 10 years ago, it seems more so now.

The first thing we noticed is that parking has expanded and moved across the street. The new space was covered, a welcomed relief in on a hot spring day. Like the Toledo Art Museum the zoo did not waste the covering either. On top were solar panels converting the sun’s rays from car heating annoyance to power that could be used to cool the buildings instead.

Most of the attractions at the zoo seemed the same as we saw in the past. This was too be expected as a few of the buildings are on the National Historic Landmark list. The Reptile House still being the oldest zoo building in America. Even with the same exterior nothing looked run down. Everything had gotten a fresh coat of paint and been up kept. The world of wings still having wet paint signs up.

The zoo seems to have focused on a more of the same but better expansion plan over the last decade. The major change was to the African animals. The entire section of the zoo has been expanded and reworked into a modern open exhibit area with each exhibit not being a focus, but part of a whole. The animals are still semi separated, as the predators cannot be kept with their prey, but are less single species exhibit. The overall openness makes it feel as if one is transported from the southern Ohio to the open savannas of Africa. This section is also where Fiona, Cincinnati’s most famous resident, is housed.

The zoo also built and opened an indoor Gorilla viewing area so that they can be seen in their winter enclosure. We went in the spring and did not see this in use.

The last ten years have been good to the Cincinnati Zoo. It hit a record attendance in 2013. If our visit was any indication it is still as popular as ever. With a long and varied history the zoo has changed a lot since opening day and will be forever changing as time goes on.
So what does the next ten years hold?…

 

Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens

3400 Vine St, Cincinnati, OH 45220

http://www.cincinnatizoo.org

As historic as they come, the Cincinnati Zoo is one of the best medium sized zoos in America. It has all of the animals one would expect at a zoo but doesn’t pander to the customer to see them.

The zoo is broken up into different displays like most others. It categorizes most of the animals by type, (nocturnal, mammals, giraffe, reptiles) and not by continent. This actually works out well because the zoo is historic and this keeps the historic feel without having to redesign the entire place.

All of the animals seemed happy and content to live where they were. None of them seemed to be stuck in small concrete cages, but where still easy to view without problems.  The larger animals are not the only focus of the place. All animals seemed to get equal attention with the larger one being slightly more noticeable. Some animals do get more than deserved attention but this is normal because of the recognizably that children have with them.

The informational placards about the animals are easily visible and highly informative. The zoo has many a school program that is offered throughout the year and even a four year college preparatory academy located on the grounds. With many chances to see a show (some try too hard to entertain, like the bird show), meet a zoo keeper, or watch a feeding, the park offers plenty of opportunities to learn and be educated.

The Cincinnati zoo is one of the oldest zoo’s in America. Opened in 1875, the same year as the park, the reptile house is the oldest building in any zoo in the nation. The park does a good job keeping the history upfront and vivid but not stagnating in it. Yes the buildings are old, but the methods for keeping the animals do not seem to be. Even major historical events are given the respect they deserve. One of the best examples of this is the Passenger Pigeon and Carolina Parakeet Memorial. Both species became extinct at the zoo, but the park does not hide the truth of what happened.

Overall the Zoo keeps very true to its goals of conservation, education, and preservation with respect for the visitor as a consumer of information and the main reason for it existence.