Immersion concept

This philosophy was an attempt to involve or place the visitor in a naturalistic backdrop for a specific theme. These types of exhibits are often characterized by paths that wind through areas built to resemble natural habitat. Small mammals and birds are sometimes free-ranging in the entire exhibit, including public areas. Species of similar geographic origin and habitat are mixed in the exhibit, interacting with one another if they peacefully cohabitate. Larger mammals are housed within the same space, but for safety and function are enclosed within the exhibits with visually hidden barriers. Therefore, some of Hagenbeck's techniques are used in immersion exhibits. The primary purpose of this exhibit is to give the visitor an appreciation of an animal's natural habitat and educate them on the natural history and need for conservation of that habitat. One of the first good examples in the 1970s was the gorilla exhibit at Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle; more recent examples of this technique can be found in the Congo exhibit at the Bronx Zoo and the Amazonia exhibit at the National Zoo.

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