NASHVILLE, TN – Sept. 16, 2019 – Nashville Zoo’s Expedition Peru: Trek of the Andean Bear received the Top Honors in Exhibit Design Award by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums at the AZA Annual Conference in New Orleans.
The award is the highest achievement for exhibit design given by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and is judged by 18 seasoned zoo and aquarium professionals on exhibit design, contribution to conservation, interpretive programming and how the exhibit fits in the Zoo's long-term strategic goals.
Expedition Peru, which was completed in March 2018, is a fully immersive Peruvian experience that showcases 14 different species. Two Andean bears are the stars of the exhibit, marking the first time Nashville Zoo has ever had a bear species in its collection. Expedition Peru is also home to critically-endangered cotton-top tamarins, southern pudu, guinea pigs, and a multi-species aquarium representing the biodiversity of the Amazon River Basin.
Nashville Zoo has pledged a total of $300,000 in financial support over five years to three in-situ partners – Andean Bear Conservation Alliance, Proyecto Titi and the Spectacled Bear Conservation project. The two Andean bears at Nashville Zoo also act as animal ambassadors for their species, educating guests about the many threats they face in the wild.
The Zoo reached more than 1,000,000 annual visitors in 2018 with the help of this new exhibit, as well as added another event rental space. The opening of this exhibit added another 2,226 sq. ft. of air-conditioned space for guests, as well as shortened the walk between animal exhibits to give visitors a better overall experience during their visit. The Nashville Zoo team collaborated with the leaders of the Andean Bear Species Survival Plan® when designing the exhibit to ensure adequate den space and promote stress-free breeding and cub rearing.
Expedition Peru: Trek of the Andean Bear has also ranked within the top four exhibits in North America by USA Today’s 10Best contest and has been recognized by many media outlets as having the most elaborate women’s restroom in the country, which features a family of six cotton-top tamarins.
Nashville Zoo's education department was awarded the Innovation in Education Award for its partnership with Croft Design Center Middle Prep, part of Metro Nashville Public Schools. Through this partnership, the Zoo offers collaborative learning opportunities, interdisciplinary projects in all subject areas, field trips and animal exhibits on school property. This particular program seeks to create a long-term experience for Croft Middle students that connects them directly to the conservation work of Nashville Zoo and motivates them to be stewards of wildlife and wild places throughout their lives.
For more information, visit www.nashvillezoo.org.
Photo credit: Nashville Zoo