What Is an Immersion Exhibit?
An immersion exhibit is a lushly planted naturalistic environment that gives visitors the sense they're actually in the animals' habitats. Buildings and barriers are hidden. By recreating as many sights and sounds as possible from natural environments, immersion exhibits provide an exciting experience and educate visitors about how animals live in the wild.
Have you ever noticed that in almost every habitat you hear an amazing variety of insect drones and chirps, bird calls and frog choruses? The Zoo has recreated these sounds of nature in its exhibits, thanks to a state-of-the-art audio system installed along the visitor pathways. Keep your ears open for the chatter of macaque monkeys in the trees, the high-pitched squeaks of bats in the cave and the sudden rattle of a Missouri rattlesnake coming from the undergrowth.
The Zoo has also placed "clues" of animal existence along the path. For instance, as you wind your way through River's Edge you may spot a nest full of ostrich eggs, the tracks of a tiger, a warthog skull and other subtle and simulated reminders that the natural world is filled with a wide variety of species.
An important component of most wild places today is humans. Items like fishing traps, logging equipment and cultural artifacts remind visitors that humans share this world with animals.
Several man-made structures along the pathways serve as interpretive "nodes" in which visitors can learn more about animals and their conservation. They are yet another dynamic way that the zoo "immerses" visitors in some of today's complex issues involving humans and wildlife conservation.