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