In September 2016, the Franklin Park Zoo opened its renovated children’s zoo titled “Nature’s Neighborhoods.” A year later, the exhibit is still widely advertised and flooded with visitors. And it is easy to see why.
As a modern exhibit, the enclosures appear more natural than other parts of the zoo, which feature unnatural chain link fences and a somewhat mundane appearance. In the new exhibit, enclosures are built to fit the needs of the animals in terms of space and surroundings. The animals are simulated to believe that they are in the wild because of how their enclosures are constructed. This is an observation made by casual zoogoer Alison Hackett, who thinks the zoo’s other exhibits could be better designed for both the animals and the visitors
Those who look down on zoos and see them as prisons may be surprised to see the improvement in the exhibit design. The animals, which include red pandas, prairie dogs, muntjacs, and a variety of birds, seem more at home here. This is due to the more natural-looking environments that allow the animals to be more active.
There are also some activities for young children, such as a miniature playground and a maze. Kids can also learn about conservation of animals in terms they can understand.
Visitor Corey Bushong thinks encouraging kids to take better care of the world is a great idea, and that the children’s zoo puts more effort in explaining it than other exhibits. There is no small part in conservation, and it starts here.
Brooke Wardrop, Director of Marketing and Communications at Zoo New England, stated that “the children's zoo was designed specifically for all of the species that reside in this place.” The designers took great pains to make sure every animal would be comfortable. Wardrop is satisfied with how the exhibit turned out, showing the employee’s true passion for what they do.
On the whole, you will not want to miss “Nature’s Neighborhoods.” It has natural-looking and inventive enclosures and great activities for kids. It is certainly a welcome addition to the zoo’s collection.