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Dec 1, 2008

Budongo Trail

Budongo Trail - Interpretation from RZSS - Edinburgh Zoo  
Interpretation accompanying an exciting new chimpanzee experience at Edinburgh Zoo 

This project was an innovative approach to interpretation for chimpanzees at Edinburgh Zoo, with the ‘education story’ and conservation link to Budongo Forest Uganda, being integrated into the development of the new enclosure, Budongo Trail, right from the outset.

Objectives for desired outcomes were clearly defined to focus directly upon chimpanzees and the RZSS conservation and research work in Uganda, to encourage both greater public awareness and support for that work. The interpretation elements were developed over a period of 18 months through a process that included use of external advisors, in-house expertise, and public & focus group consultation and triallin.

The interpretation narrative modified the design of the building, and the construction on the hill, requiring two levels, was utilized to delineate habitat and chimpanzee stories. The resulting interpretation includes; a huge mural; live plants; plasma screens with film clips; sensory interactives; a cartoon film; skeletons; touch screens; a dedicated magazine; conservation messaging using advertising techniques; a themed retail/catering outlet; a 10 minute feature film and lecture theatre; and employment of two ‘interpretation’ staff.

Initial evaluation using un-obtrusive observations, face to face questionnaires and records of donations and sales indicate that:
i) Average visitor dwell time for ‘chimpanzee house’ has increased from 3 minutes to 20 minutes;
ii) Over 40% of visitors are using the inter-actives;
iii) Visitor knowledge has increased (entry/exit questionnaire);
iv) An average of £750 per month is being donated towards the RZSS BCFS project through the exhibit. 

Developed by:  RZSS - Edinburgh Zoo

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