Zoo Exhibit Design Considerations List

Great Plains Zoo

I was reading the book An Introduction to Zoo Biology and Management by Paul A. Rees and it included an exhibit design considerations list which I thought people might find useful for designing realistic habitats in Planet Zoo.

Animal needs

  1. How big are the animals?
  2. How much space do they need?
  3. Are they active or sedentary?
  4. Are they social or solitary?
  5. Where will they feed?
  6. Where will they sleep?
  7. Where will they breed?
  8. What vegetation and substrate are suitable?
  9. What resting places do they need?
  10. Do they need structures to climb, water, rocks, open space?
  11. Do individuals need to escape from conspecifics and other species?
  12. Where can they hide from visitors?
  13. What are their temperature, humidity, light, water quality and other environmental needs?
  14. Are any toxic plants or other toxic materials present?
  15. Are there any dangerous structures?
  16. Is there any shade?
  17. Are there any risks to the animals' safety?
  18. Are there any risks to the animals' health?
  19. Has suitable enrichment been provided?

Keeper needs

  1. How will the keeper enter the enclosure?
  2. How can the keeper escape from the enclosure in an emergency?
  3. Is the enclosure secure?
  4. Where will food be prepared?
  5. How and where will food be provided?
  6. Are there isolation areas for veterinary access?
  7. Are there off-show areas for breeding and sick animals, etc.?
  8. Can animals be easily viewed for health checks?
  9. How will waste be removed and how will the enclosure be cleaned?
  10. Can pathogens and parasites be controlled?
  11. Is there access to electricity and water?
  12. Are enrichment devices and other equipment easy to maintain?
  13. Can contact with dangerous animals be controlled or avoided?

Visitor needs

  1. Can the visitors see the animals clearly?
  2. Are viewpoints accessible to young, elderly and disabled visitors?
  3. Are hand-washing facilities available if the visitor enters the enclosure?
  4. Is the exhibit attractive?
  5. Does it reflect the animals' natural habitat?
  6. Does the visitor feel immersed in the exhibit?
  7. Are the barriers intrusive?
  8. Are visitors safe?
  9. Is there adequate information available about the animals?
  10. Is the signage up-to-date?
  11. Is the exhibit educational?
  12. Where should the interpretation signs be located?
  13. Are safety notices adequate?
  14. Can the visitor view a video or CCTV link if the animals are off-show or hiding?

Sustainability needs

  1. Are the building materials from sustainable sources?
  2. Can existing facilities be reused?
  3. Can recycled construction materials be used?
  4. Is the animal house properly insulated?
  5. Can water in pools and other water features be recycled?
  6. Can rainwater from roofs be collected?
  7. Can solar heating be used?
  8. Can solar panels supplement the electricity supply?
  9. Can waste be recycled?
  10. Can natural light be used to illuminate the animal house?
  11. Can energy-efficient electrical devices be used?
  12. Does the animal house incorporate a green roof?
  13. Can the design of the enclosure be used to encourage visitors to think about sustainability?