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Art, nature and the zoo

Posted by Ric Brewer, Communications

Art and installations at Woodland Park Zoo help us celebrate animals in nature. Animals, of course, are the subject of an overwhelming majority of the sculptures and interpretive elements around the zoo's grounds. We use art to augment our messages of respect, and to convey the awe and wonder we feel in the presence of other species.
Tony Angell's "Ravens" in the Northern Trail

The art and installations chosen for inclusion here, many of which were part of the city's 1 Percent for Art program, others as pieces donated specifically for exhibits, or part of the interpretive portions of the exhibit, must meet standards of excellence and experiential learning in order to justify their inclusion, further our mission, and call our visitors to action to help preserve the Earth's wildlife and wild places.
Rob Evans's tundra mural in the Tundra Center, Northern Trail

Interpretive art also serves an important role in supporting our mission by elaborating on information in a three-dimensional environment. This provides information about animals including strength, size, social roles, and other features. The baboon family at our South Entrance, created by artist Georgia Gerber, are a vivid example of this.
Georgia Gerber's "Baboon Family"

As the saying goes, "Life is short, art is long." Art and installations placed on zoo grounds often become an integral part of the zoo experience for many years. Many pieces we have were commissioned long ago and have become old friends for long-time members and return visitors.

You can get a good overview of the pieces on grounds by viewing our Guide to Art and Installations at the Zoo, a self-guided tour of art around the zoo. View it on the Maps and Tours page of our website at

Do you have a favorite art piece or installation at the zoo?