Sunday, December 18, 2011

Zoo Exhibit Design Interactions: Sniff Port

While at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium today I discovered a very cool interactive feature at the brown and polar bear exhibits in the Polar Frontier section. The bear enclosures feature a "Sniff Port", a small covered hole in the exhibit wall, located on the far left side of the polar bear's above-water viewing space. It allows the bears to easily smell you, and if you look through the tiny holes you can see their noses and hear them smelling you!

Here's a tip a zoo volunteer gave us to lure a polar bear over to the sniff port - eat some peanut butter! At the sniff port, you can breathe out and the scent that wafts through to the other side often lures the polar bears over. And peanut butter is the smell that seems to be the most alluring.

Are there any other exhibits that you know of that have such exciting and innovative features?