Visitors help shape the Zoo of the Future

In early 2015, the Denver Zoo asked patrons and neighbors to help shape the "Zoo of the Future" by offering feedback on concepts for the new Facility Master Plan. The Master Plan guides future decisions related to animal needs, community experience and global partnerships, all in the interest of securing a better world for animals through human understanding.

Serving nearly 2 million guests annually and caring for 3,000 animals, the Zoo must consider factors like guest flow and parking inventory in addition to providing top-notch animal care when planning for the future. Zoo staff are considering a recent Facility Assessment, eight Guiding Principles and seven Site Planning Strategies as they develop the new Master Plan.

In order to gather community insights about priorities during this Master Planning process, UIS developed an interactive website using the Urban Design Feedback app from the EngagingPlans Suite. Users begin by ranking priorities related to educational opportunities, animal interactions, integration within the surrounding neighborhood, improvements for animals, and parking. Users are then directed to an interactive map of the draft master plan, complete with flags, photos and descriptions of new exhibit concepts.

Because the map is optimized for tablets and mobile phones, Zoo patrons can access it while they are on the campus, giving them firsthand insight into the proposed changes and how they might impact visitor experience. After reading background information and viewing renderings of the exhibits, users can rate each design and submit their feedback for Zoo staff to consider. The Zoo incentivized participation by offering giveaways like general admission passes, special event tickets and even a few annual memberships.