To me the best and most effective exhibits are ones that both totally immerse you in the exhibit/landscape, making you feel like you’re in the animal’s native habitat, and exhibits that expand your senses and enrich your understanding of what the particular species is all about. For instance an exhibit for a snow leopard that resembles the mountainous Himalayas where you can watch the elusive snow leopard expertly climb and balance on the rocky outcrops, that’s if you can see him with his snowy/grey coat that helps him camouflage in this terrain.
The following are My Top 10 Favourite Exhibits thus far are not in any order and are followed by excerpts from related posts.
- Ocean Voyager @ Georgia Aquarium
“Georgia Aquarium’s Ocean Voyager exhibit at 6.3 million gallons is the largest aquarium habitat in the world, is the best marine exhibit I’ve ever seen. With over 4,500 square feet and 185 tons of acrylic viewing windows wherever you are in this exhibit you have a fish eye view on a plethora of marine life.”
~excerpt from Ocean Voyager
- Clore Rainforest Lookout @ London Zoo
“This exhibit recreates the South American rainforest and provides forest floor to canopy habitats for a fantastic multi-species, no barrier experience. Whether you’re walking around its forest floor seeing the trumpeter bird strutting about or agoutis foraging, or you’re at canopy level watching emperor and golden-headed lion tamarins groom each other or sloths literally hanging out, you’ll be truly smitten with the multitude of animal life and thrilled by this transporting exhibit”
~excerpt from Penguins Splash While Monkeys Groom at London Zoo
- Jungle World @ Bronx Zoo
“Jungle World, rich rain forest habitats full of so many amazing animals in authentically real environments that also seem to envelop you. It was here that we met a frolicking tapir named Danielle. Also in her enclosure were white-cheeked gibbons who appeared to come out of the trees and down closer to the tapir’s beach to watch her playing in the water and traipsing through the sand.”
~excerpt from Bronx Zoo
- Asia Quest @ Columbus Zoo & Aquarium
“Just like in other areas of the park you are surrounded by music that is specific to that country of origin. With the sounds of Asia, including a large Tibetan drum that beat like a heart, there are the distinct smells of the animals and the sights of Asian inspired buildings to help transport you into the depths of Asia.”
~excerpt from Expand Your Senses in Columbus Zoo’s Asia Quest
- River Scout @ Georgia Aquarium
“Georgia Aquarium says ‘ rivers are a source of life for animals, people and cultures throughout the world‘ and here in their River Scout exhibit you are surrounded by this life source. Imagine yourself walking beneath a North American river with a fish eye view of a variety of different fish swimming above your head. That’s the amazing opportunity Georgia Aquarium’s River Scout exhibit affords you.”
~excerpt from River Scout
- Tundra Trek @ Toronto Zoo
“The Tundra Trek is one of the newest exhibits at the Toronto Zoo and this ten-acre award-winning exhibit is home to snowy owls and the sometimes white Arctic fox to the always white Arctic wolf. The Tundra Trek is home to a state of the art polar bear enclosure with rolling grassy hills, large rocks and a large swimming pool with underwater viewing.”
~excerpt from From the Americas to the Tundra
- World of Birds @ Bronx Zoo
“…we took the winding path up to the amazing World of Birds exhibit. Why amazing? This two-storied building allows visitors a total experience into the world of birds as many you can see from ground level and into the first level of the trees, while many more are not seen until you reach the upper canopy on the second floor.”
~excerpt from The Bronx Zoo continued…
or to read more …Bronx Zoo continues…
- Reptile House @ Rome Zoo
“Once inside the Reptile House there was a beautiful walk-through aviary that was home to the scarlet and Waldrapp ibis’ perched in the trees while on the ground below sauntered Aldabra and African spurred tortoises as well as green iguana. Walking through the next door not only transports you to a lush tropical rainforest but leaves you awe-struck as this rich environment envelopes you. A gradual spiral ramp take you up and passed tortoises, alligators and dense plant life with a tall, striking waterfall in the middle of it all.”
~excerpt from Rome’s Zoo Continues to Impress
- Amazonia @ Smithsonian National Zoo
“It was the second floor of Amazonia that really blew my mind. This 15,000 square foot habitat takes you on an almost literal walk through a forest path deep in the Amazon. Stepping on to the winding path you are immediately surrounded by breathtaking canopies rising high over head, lush and dense greenery envelopes you.”
~excerpt from Immersed in the Depths of Amazonia
- African Plains @ Dublin Zoo
“My stroll then lead me to the African Plains exhibit that is where you’ll find exhibits like the African Savannah, the Gorilla Rainforest and Chimpanzee Island and an assortment of other animal enclosures.”
~excerpt from A Stroll Through Asian Forests Leads to the African Plains
or to read more Rich Environments Abound at the Dublin Zoo
I couldn’t choose one exhibit from the overall African Plains exhibit at the Dublin Zoo as so many impressed me with their overall likeness to that of each exhibit’s species native habitat. Everything from the African Savannah exhibit with its large savannah-like yard with its multiple species to the rainforest-like islands that are home to the zoo’s troop of gorillas and chimpanzees.
This was a hard list to compile as I’ve been to 14 zoos and aquariums in the past few years and have seen many fantastic exhibits.
What is your favourite exhibit?