iDesign Sunday: Zoo Designs

Where’s the “i” in this iDesign Sunday?

Well, I’m not quite sure… This was a spur of the moment post!  I went to the zoo this morning with my cousins, and being the inquisitive beings that my older cousin and I am, we spent a lot of time talking about the designs of the animals’ habitats and the zoo’s overall layout… and why the plural of Fish was spelled Fishes… but that’s so off subject.  Anywho, I decided to postpone my original post idea, and hit you all up with a taste of the wild life!  That is, the wild life that is safely secure behind 3 fences, 2 inch glass panes and deep ravines to avoid any type of actual wild life and wild human interaction.

This will be a broad overview, as I have not given myself time to do a lot of research, but here goes!

The History:

Zoos have an interesting history, first starting out as “Zoo Jails,” in which animals were captured only to be shown because of their beauty and for the sake of furthering science (mid-late 19th century: Enlightenment).  The design of Zoo Jails was elaborate, as the purpose was to show how beautiful each specimen was.  During the next phase, there were “Zoos as Art Galleries,” and nature was used to create a beautiful scene to for the spectators to view the animals in (early-mid 20th century: Modernism & Romanticism).  Lastly, “Zoos as Conservation and Education Facilities,” which is what we all know today.  Zoo designers create habitats so that the animals can live in something familiar to what is natural to their species, and so that spectators can have an experience of the animals as a whole, not only as a pretty play thing in a nice box.

Check out more about the history of Zoos by Stacey Tarpley over at Designing Zoos.

The Tulsa Zoo and Living Museum:

Tulsa Zoo opened in 1928 with only 35 animals.

Today it has over 2,800 animals, 3 botanical collections covering 4,000 square feet in green houses, and an extensive accredited museum.  This is all situated on 84 acres of land.

Where my Interest Lies:

I’m interested in learning more behind the overall schematic layout of zoos, the design elements and thought process behind the creation of different habitats, how zoos are funded, and the cost of maintaining the varying types of habitats that create such a dynamic zoo – and how sustainable it is.  I realize I will have to specifically define sustainability to have a better answer for this.

Until I can Research:

Check out my pictures! =)

birdy shadows! these “caged” birds preferred being as close to the sky as possible.

“Turtle Tail”.. the tale of a 219 pound turtle in an iiiity bity slice of water. coming to theaters soon… (not really)..

he turned (about 10 minutes later) and showed us his entire body… all 219 pounds! massive!!

“kickin’ it peacock style” means roaming wherever you like! I suppose the entire grounds is fair game to them.

the flamingos’ indoor area, where they were eating. The human sized sliding door is kind of just right for them, too! #FlamingoFactors instead of #HumanFactors

the outdoor area for flamingos, which is an extension off of the building shown in the previous picture.

my little cousins as we were heading into the “rain forest!” Silly faces!

real orange bird on the right, 2 real golden lion tamarin on the left… fake trees?

they looked at me, then posed together… just my type of model fish! 🙂 #SayCheese

My cousin’s favorite animals are the rhinos! They are stinkin’ huge!!! This is a photo of the him and the girls running to see the rhinos up close.

one baby petting another baby, perched on a tree stump. Too cute 🙂

I saw the word “conservation” and had to snap it, with youngest cousin on my hip and hands kind of full. This picture is somewhat of an accomplishment lolz. This area contained reptiles, birds, and monkeys!

this little one was very comfy just hanging out on the glass… interesting choice of placement when the rest of the habitat was designed specifically for him!

I felt like the animal whisperer! As other people walked up, this little guy hid.. When I showed up, he looked like he was ready to tell me any and everything! Such a cutie!

Mushu??? Is that you?!?

My humps… my humps, my humps, my humps! Now Fergalicious is stuck in your head, hehehe.. and he’s like a 3D turtle!

how the conversation went here: I said, “is it a crow?” My cousin replied, “Never More.” – The Raven.. Get it? Get it? Lolz, well it made us laugh 🙂  It actually was a crow, though!

according to my cousin, these were a pair of 70’s dancing birds (notice the afro-like “hair”)… commence 70’s music. Let’s Boogie!

fishes? well, okay then.  Upon Google and Merriam-Webster investigation, I have learned that this is a legit word!

The lions, taking a nap.  I wonder what the “rock” with the doors/cave-like entrances are actually made of.  They mimic the setting of an actual home to a lion very well, but their strict verticality prevent the lions from actually exploring them.  So is this feature more for the visitors or for the lion?

according to my cousin, I’m good luck at the zoo, because the animals are always asleep when they visit. I even got him to look at the camera 🙂

… and then he decides to chill, living life on the edge! That ravine was more than 20′ deep, and had no area for good footing. Safety measures!

while at the sea lion attraction, all we could talk about is how nice it would be as a back yard pool escape lolz.

Viewing the sea lions from and underground cavern-like space which showed them -behind 2′ or 3′ glass – as they dived under the water before their show. She was so graceful!

I’m not sure where this portal lead, but the design of it and the surrounding landscape were very alluring… Just not more alluring than the elephants, as my little cousins preferred to see them more than this entrance!

There were two elephants in the back of the “elephant display/home.” **Dos elephantes se balanceaba sobre la tela de una araña…** no, just me? ok.. They also had a mini ravine that separated their living area from spectators, as well as an area for the shows they put on, with a mini amphitheater for viewing.

Last, but definitely not least, the entire point of going was to spend a day with family! The urge to learn more about zoo designs was just a bonus 😉

As you are viewing this, it is actually TUESDAY (well, the day it was posted is Tuesday).  What does this mean?  Well, for one, I think I am more busy post spring semester than I was during it!! (Scary!)  Secondly, I couldn’t wait for researching, so I scoured the library yesterday and found some great reads.  The ones relating to this post include:

“Nature’s Museums: Victorian science and architecture of display” by Carla Yanni

“Zoo Design: the reality of wild illusions” by Kenneth J. Polakowski

Stay tuned to see more about Zoo Designs in the future!

Until next time, Ci Vediamo! =)

p.s.  Check out my Facebook and Pinterest pages for more pictures  and some video footage from the zoo!


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