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Monday, January 25, 2016

The Night Exhibit rises

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Editor

Indian flying fox fruit bats. Photo: Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.

It’s a new dawn for the Night Exhibit.

Since the popular exhibit closed in the wake of the 2009 recession, we’ve heard one message from you all loud and clear—the dark night must return.

With the all new Banyan Wilds tiger and sloth bear exhibits now complete, and butterflies returning later this year, the time is right to shine a light, so to speak, on nocturnal animals once again.

In 2018, we plan to re-open a renovated Night Exhibit showcasing nocturnal animals in the dark.

The Night Exhibit will be renovated with a planned opening in 2018. Photo: Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.

Our night vision will come together over the next two years as we design, renovate and open the exhibit thanks to a public-private partnership, using funds available for major repairs from the city of Seattle Park District, along with private philanthropy.

Approved by voters in 2014, the Seattle Park District provides more than $47 million a year in long-term funding for Seattle Parks and Recreation including maintenance of parklands and facilities, including major maintenance at the zoo and aquarium; operation of community centers and recreation programs; and development of new neighborhood parks on previously acquired sites.

Artist’s rendering depicts exhibit entry where daytime visitors adjust their eyes as they transition into darkness.

To make the building more efficient and the exhibit more engaging, we anticipate the cost of the renovations to total $3-4 million. While a formal fundraising campaign has yet to begin, we have received a substantial early gift from The Nysether Family Foundation, which in the past has helped build several capital projects at Woodland Park Zoo, including most recently Banyan Wilds and the Historic Carousel Pavilion. You can contribute during this early phase by selecting the "Night Exhibit" from the Area of Designation in our online donation cart.

The zoo’s sloths were relocated to the Adaptations Building after the Night Exhibit closure in 2010. Photo: Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.

When the Night Exhibit closed six years ago, some animals were moved to other zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and others remained on exhibit elsewhere at the zoo. As planning begins, we’ll look at our options for which nocturnal species will call the new exhibit home, such as fruit bats, sloths or small, arboreal primates.

Artist's rendering of an exhibit viewing window.


We heard from so many of you that in addition to the fascinating animals, a big appeal of the Night Exhibit is the sensory experience of being plunged into darkness. You walk a little slower, you breathe a little more deeply, you listen a little more closely and when you finally spot a critter on the move, the heightened moment makes your heart quicken.

Like the original exhibit, we’ll reverse the light cycle so that during the day you’ll be surrounded by the dark, with new features being considered like a night vision station and digital signage to help you find your way and see nature’s night shift at work.

The night shift begins. Photo: Ryan Hawk Woodland Park Zoo.

Look for project updates coming soon with more information about how to show your support. Can’t wait to begin your night watch? Keep tabs on our colony of Indian flying fox fruit bats streaming live 24/7 on the Bat Cam.

23 comments:

  1. Woo-hoo! Yaaaaaayyyyyy!!!!. :) Slow Loris! Bring back the slow loris! :)

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    1. Yes!! I miss the Slow Loris most of all!

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    2. Yes! Please bring back the Slow Lorises!

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  2. I'm so glad! I missed the night house.

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  3. That's great news! I have missed it so much!

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  4. That's great news! I have missed it so much!

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  5. This is fantastic news! My dad used to take us to the zoo when we were kids and we'd always go to the Day and Night Exhibit. He'll have to come with his grandkids when this opens (and some other times until then).

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  6. I want all of the Bats and the Slow Loris!!!

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  7. I just want the whole night exhibit back so my son can enjoy it like i do when i was younger can't wait till 2018 now so my son and i can enjoy this together

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  8. Please, please please, the Slow Loris has been missed. I hope for their quick return. Interesting post, because I heard they were not relocated, but simply not on exhibit. Would you please tell me if they are still on the zoo's grounds?

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  9. 2018?!?!? Jesus, get the molasses outa yer ass people! That's WAY too long.

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  10. That was one of my favorite parts of the zoo (along with the wallabies). I am so glad to hear the Night Exhibit will be coming back!

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  11. Yay! This has always been my favorite exhibit. The only way I could possibly be more excited about it: have "adult only" times when the exhibit was required to be quiet. Having a pack of noisy people, which usually means kids, is disappointing. Heck, while you're at it, some friends and I were discussing how much fun it would be to have a once-a-month adults only event for the whole zoo. I would totally pay extra for that!

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  12. I loved the nocturnal exhibit. I taught my stepsons to go in and WAIT, quietly, for those moments between the crowds and watch for the little motions that start as soon as things are quiet. Then a whole world would open up right before your eyes that most people never had the patience to see.

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  13. The return of the tawny frogmouth? (AKA HardtoseeBird) We let our membership lapse, frankly because of this. We will dig deep into the couch cushions to donate and rejoin. We will see you all on the dark side of the zoon.

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  14. I'm thrilled to hear about the return of the Night Exhibit! It's been my favorite part of the zoo since childhood and I was very sorry to see it sacrificed to budget cuts. I assume that the sloths, Tamanduas, and flying foxes will return, but I hope that the Slow Loris and vampire bat will also make a reappearance.

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  15. I particularly missed the informational material as one progressed from light to darkness. That was so well done, and with the Night House closing, we lost all of that as well. I am sure there will be good introductory material as one goes into the Night House, but I'd be happy just to have back what we used to have...AND the animals! So happy to hear this!!

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  16. Love to also see added the loveable: Aye-Aye, Civet, Fennec Fox?

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  17. I miss the nocturnal house. I was glad that the tamanduas and sloths were kept and are currently on view, but sightings of both can be rare, unlike in the nocturnal house where it seems they were always visible. So happy we will get to see them (and others) in a more natural-like exhibit.

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  18. Having work YEARS at the graveyard shift, additionally been to 58 different zoo's and aquariums throughout United States and Canada. Many jokenly say one must dig those nocturnal shifts: hence there should be the ultimate digger making the nocturnal home: the Aardvark (aka earth pig). Working nights one MUST always keep yours eye's open. LOOK, LOOK there's: the AYE_AYE ( very interesting early primate ). Who's that snooping around the termite mound in the wee hours going unnoticed during the daylight it's: the AARDWOLF! Among the tree's of a cool Amason evening looking for birds, lizards, or bat's it's: the AMAZON TREE BOA! Listening is an art in the night time just watch those adorable: FENNEC FOXES! Got to be careful cause see those eye's glowing in the distance and checking you out? It's a: CLOUDED LEOPARD yikes! O the cool still hours that make up the evening as many sleep away, yet as you rest the freckin place is ALIVE crawling with DANGER surrounding you. As you continue your journey, please be careful and don't bump your head, and remember please turn off the light, and keep your ear's peeled!

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