September 15th, 1996 - February 29th, 2000 | PROJECT

The Rhode Island Zoological Society will develop, prototype, install, and evaluate "Habitrek", a 3000 sq. ft. exhibit to be placed in their new Education Center. The center is a circular building and as visitors go through it they will encounter habitat displays of a Urban Providence, Woodlands, Wetlands, and Desert. In addition there will be giant scale replicas of a wormhole, a bat cave, a prairie dog colony, and a stream. Their intent is to use live animals, animal replicas and interactives to shift the visitor's emphasis from simply finding and identifying species to learning about habitats where animals live and where animals and humans often have to interact. In addition to the exhibits, several complementary educational activity packages will be developed. These include a family activity pack of activities that can be completed both at the zoo and in the home. They will relate many natural history stories not obvious from the exhibit alone. To streamline the development process, materials developed by the Bronx Zoo's Habitat Ecology Learning Program (an NSF-supported teacher enhancement activity) will serve as the basis for these family packs. The HELP materials will also serve as the basis for activities developed for use by teachers to complement the already existing Kits in Teaching Elementary Science (KITES) program (another NSF-supported program). The zoo also has cooperative programs with the Rhode Island Girl Scout Council and materials will be modified for their use as well. Of special interest is the attention that is being given to going beyond minimum ADA standards to make the exhibit broadly accessible. Ambient sound will be an important part of all exhibit settings, design considerations will be made for those with limited vision, and sightlines will be consistent with wheelchair standards, are a few examples. The anticipated exhibit opening is early 1998.

Project Website(s)

(no project website provided)

Team Members

Joel Hamilton, Principal Investigator, Rhode Island Zoological Society
Anne Savage, Co-Principal Investigator, Rhode Island Zoological Society


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: ISE/AISL
Award Number: 9627053
Funding Amount: 699638


Access and Inclusion: People with Disabilities
Audience: Educators | Teachers | Families | General Public | Museum | ISE Professionals | Youth | Teen (up to 17)
Discipline: Ecology | forestry | agriculture | Geoscience and geography | Life science
Resource Type: Project Descriptions
Environment Type: Aquarium and Zoo Exhibits | Aquarium and Zoo Programs | Exhibitions | Public Programs