Safari Adventure: Developing a family zoo exhibit to better connect our community to nature

July 31st, 2011 - July 31st, 2014 | PROJECT

In 2011, the Institute of Museum and Library Services awarded the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) a Museums for America – Engaging Communities grant to explore the development of a new family exhibit at the Bronx Zoo, "Safari Adventure." Our aim with this exhibit is to provide better connections to nature for families in our community and foster a life-long sense of environmental stewardship. The exhibit concept was born of the issue that, today, there exists a greater need to connect people to nature than ever before, a topic especially relevant for our community—part of the largest urban population in the United States. The IMLS grant allowed us to take a multi-faceted approach to inform our current thoughts about useful nature exhibit practices and what resonates with our audiences. Through evaluation, prototyping, visits to other institutions, workshops, and community focus groups, we explored themes of child nature play, intergenerational learning, community engagement, and barriers to access. We are disseminating the various reports and products from this process to publicize our findings to the larger professional community. The Wildlife Conservation Society, founded in 1895 as the New York Zoological Society, saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. We are the world’s most comprehensive conservation organization, currently managing about 500 conservation projects in more than 60 countries and educating millions of visitors each year at our five living institutions in New York City: the Bronx Zoo, New York Aquarium, Central Park Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo and Queens Zoo. Our conservation programs work directly with animals such as gorillas, elephants, condors, and penguins, and we manage more than 200 million acres of protected lands around the world.

Project Website(s)

(no project website provided)

Project Products

Front-end Evaluation: Safari Adventure
Formative Evaluation: Safari Adventure
Visitors’ Experience of Congo Gorilla Forest 15 Years After Opening at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo
Safari Adventure: Designing & Evaluating for Better Connections to Nature (poster)
Safari Adventure Advisor Workshop Summary
Safari Adventure Logic Model

Team Members

Wildlife Conservation Society, Contributor
Sue Chin, Principal Investigator, Wildlife Conservation Society
Lee Patrick, Contact, Wildlife Conservation Society
Sarah Werner, Contact, Wildlife Conservation Society
Sarah Edmunds, Contact, Wildlife Conservation Society


Funding Source: IMLS


Audience: Families | General Public | Museum | ISE Professionals
Discipline: Education and learning science | Life science | Social science and psychology
Resource Type: Project Descriptions
Environment Type: Aquarium and Zoo Exhibits | Aquarium and Zoo Programs | Exhibitions | Park | Outdoor | Garden Programs | Parks | Outdoor | Garden Exhibits | Public Programs