Creating a business opportunity for the Metro Richmond Zoo through research, strategy, and experiential design.
The Metro Richmond Zoo is a privately owned, for-profit zoo about 20 miles southwest of Richmond. The zoo opened to the public in 1995 and was home to 167 animals of 15 species at the time. Today, it houses around 2,000 animals of 190 species. The zoo is accredited by the Zoological Association of America (ZAA), and has one of the largest primate collections in the United States.
Featuring a Safari Sky Ride, Jungle Carousel, Safari Train Ride, Kids' Playground Area, Treetop Zoofari Zipline and Adventure Park, the zoo is a great place to bring children for a day trip.
A feasible solution needs to be engaging, budget-friendly, and encourage empathy and conservation-behavior.
For zoo visitors who desire more interactivity, the Sense the Wild exhibits inform the visitors in engaging and compelling ways that utilize several senses. Unlike text-heavy signage, our product encourages people of all ages and abilities to participate and play, generating interest and empathy for the animals.
My research revealed that “signs that reinforce visitors’ sense of wonder, awe, excitement, and that encourage imagination, empathy, and reflection can enhance the long-term impact of visiting a zoo or aquarium” (Packer & Ballantyne, 2010).
As any parent knows, “opportunities for mental and physical stimulation are needed to keep small children engaged and interested in any experience, including zoos” (Scott Ramser, 2017).
It is widely known that play is the work of childhood. It is how the primary method in which children learn and engage with the world. I found that “we can nurture empathy in children by providing them with perspective-building play materials.” (London Children’s Museum, 2020).