We know enough about zoo visitors to understand that they are not all the same. While most will be enthralled simply by the opportunity to see animals close up, many visitors want to learn and understand more about the animals they see. Delivering an experience that fulfils these expectations isn’t easy, but it’s necessary if we want to engage, inform and enrich our visitors.
Some zoos have moved beyond the traditional ‘This is a lion, it lives in Africa and it eats antelopes’ type of info panel, but many still rely on such fact-based information. It’s important to appreciate the difference between ‘education’ and ‘interpretation’ when creating information for zoo visitors, whether it be species-specific panels or a zoo guidebook.
It’s good to see zoos and wildlife parks are gradually appreciating the importance of good interpretation and many are now catching up with and often surpassing, the heritage sector with enriching visitor experiences. I count Welsh Mountain Zoo among these forerunners and I was honoured to re-write and edit their zoo guidebook.
Thankfully I didn’t have to translate the copy into Welsh. Despite being half Welsh myself, my knowledge of the language is embarrassingly poor.
Cael diwrnod gwych!
Visit the Welsh Mountain Zoo‘s website