Great Plains Zoo and Delbridge Museum of Natural History
Snow Monkey ExhibitKylee Breems, Elizabeth Whealy (authors for Great Plains Zoo)
Jonas Homburg, Barbara Brem, Monika Fiby (editors for ZooLex)
805 South Kiwanis Avenue, Sioux Falls, SD 57104, USA
2015 AZA Exhibit Award Top Honor
It is part of the Great Plains Zoo’s “Monkeys, Magic and More” project, which added eye-catching appeal to the front of the zoo and replaced 50-year-old infrastructure that had outlived its usefulness. Key components of the project included a new greeting plaza for zoo guests, a summer pond for flamingo viewing, a new zoo entry for enhanced guest processing, and the snow monkey exhibit.
The exhibit provides visitors views into the exhibit as they walk through the parking lot. Once inside the main entrance, guests enjoy an open entrance plaza with a fountain featuring bronze snow monkeys. Colored concrete from the entrance gate and throughout the plaza adds atmosphere, with a 'river' of blue concrete leading to and around the fountain to simulate water movement.
The outdoor enclosure, located adjacent to the plaza, is fenced and covered by wire netting. It was designed so that the center of the exhibit is higher than the sides in order to elevate the monkeys above eye level. Rockwork was modeled after similar rock formations found in the macaques’ native habitats. Two water features are located in the exhibit.
Space allocation in square meters:
$ 4,653,500 including 16 % for design.Phase 1:
Design and Contract Admin $545,000
Interpretive Elements and Theming $16,000
Furnishings, Fixtures & Equipment $6,800
Design and Contract Admin $200,000
Technology: New point of sale system, IT, AV, Education Center Tech $95,500
Furnishings, Fixtures & Equipment (Education Center, Kids' Clinic, Guest Services) $54,400
Fountain, art and sculpture $69,800
Beginning: April 2011
Beginning: June 2012
The plant list specifies the Latin names of the plants used for this exhibit.
The macaques can swim and wash their food, similar to how they use hot springs in their natural habitat. Pools can be lowered or emptied when babies or naïve animals are introduced to the exhibit.
The holding building is equipped with various ramps, shelves and levels to accommodate the animals’ desire for vertical climbing. It has both large housing units as well as smaller rooms for housing animals in large and smaller social groups or as singletons, as necessary.
Building has separate HVAC for the animal holding area and the keeper area, including humidity control systems and protection from zoonotic disease transmission. Hardware used to operate animal doors within the building include crank actuators to lift doors remotely and an automatic safety lockout so animals are never harmed should a door be accidentally released. A closed loop system that can be padlocked ensures the animals cannot manipulate hardware to forcibly open containment doors.
The building has viewing windows from the keeper area into the animal areas.
Two covered viewing shelters, one enclosed and heated, with glass panels allow visitors to get close to the animals. The main shelter is 6.4m x 4m (21 feet x 13 feet) and the second viewing shelter is 7m x 3.7m (23 feet x 12 feet).
Zookeeper Chats, docent-led Question & Answer sessions, and Discovery Carts engage visitors in activities and conversations about snow monkeys and the exhibit.
A squeeze wall and an isolation room inside the holding building are used for medical care. The pools utilize both UV lights and chlorine additives for optimal pool maintenance.
Keepers make time for individual operant conditioning training of the animals several times per week, either as part of their morning or afternoon routine. Macaques are brought into the holding building each night for safety and security of the animals.
The zoo has participated in SSP Herpes B virus prevention studies.
The outdoor heated shelter relies on a motion sensor for heat output.
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