A trampoline for baby-goats and a slide for ducks

21 August 2018

In fall, a large-scale reconstruction of the children’s section of the Moscow zoo will be completed. It might be open for visitors as early as in the beginning of next year.

«The main work will end in the fall — hopefully, in September: everything depends on the builders. It might be open to visitors as early as next year», — said Oleg Shapiro, partner of the Wowhaus architectural bureau that was in charge of the reconstruction project, to Moscow 24 portal. The children’s zoo will change dramatically but the former concept of a farm with pet animals will remain.

«Only domesticated animals that are safe for children will be kept here, so our visitors will be able to come close to them and, in certain areas, to play with the animals under the supervision of a zoologist», — said the interviewee of Moscow 24 portal. «The farm will have goats, sheep, geese, ducks, chickens, rabbits, deer, cows, and many others». From zoo to school Children and parents will find a lot of interesting activities here, despite the small area of the Zoo.

The architects made sure that children can easily spend half a day here. The renovated zoo will not have any swings or merry-go-rounds. The main attraction for children is watching the animals, playing with them and learning.

«The visitor route will pass through the complex and the interesting landscape with nicely-architectured buildings for animals, children’s playgrounds, information stands, and areas where children can play with animals. Our idea is to create a space where everyone feels welcome: children, parents, and animals,» said Oleg Shapiro.

The zoo will build a new farm with an education-by-contact area, a pigeon-house, an aviary, a glass enclosure for rabbits, an Info Center with a café, a gift shop, playgrounds for animals, and children’s playgrounds. "The route to the children’s zoo will be educational, but the education will come through playing. Special stands will be placed throughout the zoo. Our idea is to turn the children’s part of the zoo into an educational and enlightening environment. Children will be able to listen to lectures, live commentary about animals, for example, about the history of domesticating certain animals by human, the animal psychology, the psychology of the relationship between animals and humans, and other topics,«— said Shapiro.

Helen and the kids The renovated zoo will have playgrounds for animals, so, they never get bored. «Animals also need activity and fun, that’s why we proposed to build a playground,» — said Anastasia Izmakova, a leading architect at Wowhaus.

For baby-goats who like to jump, a big tower and a trampoline will be build. «Baby-goats, like children, need to play, and normal farm life becomes boring, so, a high tower on a wooden base is being built for them with various additional structures: tires, coils, and other things that will be replaced by something new from time to time. Baby-goats easily get used to repetitive activities and get bored, so they need new levels of the game, new challenges,» said Izmakova.

The large goat mountain was fenced to prevent injury to children. Looking at the animals, young visitors will also want to jump around, so a rocky platform will be installed, where children will be able to climb. Moreover, the goats will get a trampoline. «Baby-goats need constant movement, otherwise they get bored. A simple trampoline, the same kind children use, will keep them entertained», — said the leading architect.

The trampoline will be closed to children, but they will be able to watch the frolicking baby-goats from afar. Additionally, the goats will have a swing, the ducklings — a slide, the geese — a ramp-trail. Animals will relax in spacious paddocks accessible to visitors. The farm will also have a contact area where zoologists will observe children’s interaction with animals, they will tell them how to behave around animals, so as not to hurt them.

Free-flying operation Behind the farm there will be a forest area and an aviary for birds — a long winding tunnel. According to Anastasia Izmakova, the aviary will be divided into several parts, somewhere it will be just a shelter from the sun, and somewhere — an aviary with free-flying birds.

«So, the birds wouldn’t fly away, space for them to be separated by a system of lobbies. If nobody scares and grabs the birds, they are no longer afraid, and you watch them from a short distance,» she said.

Birds will live in the aviary all year round, so the species will be adapted to spend the winter in Central Russia region. On the opposite side of the aviary the area for birds will be built, where geese, ducks, and chickens are going to be, and a large house will be made for pigeons. The exposition of the nests that birds make themselves will be arranged there for children, and also bird houses can be viewed: starling-houses, nest boxes created by people. Near the exhibition there will be another playground with several types of nests that children can see, touch and even climb. Generally, there will be a lot of playgrounds for children.

On the site with the construction set children will be able to design animals with huge parts and learn about evolution. There is a steep rock-climbing wall for young visitors where they can learn how different animal species adapt to climbing. Behind the aviary, there will be a forest with free grazing deer. It will be isolated from the tour area with a see-through fence allowing children to watch these amazing animals. Harepolis. A whole city will be created for rabbits in the children’s zoo.

A large enclosure will be filled up with sand and surrounded by glass walls. It will be possible to watch their life on the ground through the glass or from the overhead observation deck. The most inquisitive guests can peek through the open window at the base of the glass wall. On the playground by the polis, young visitors will be able to play rabbits in the holes and on the hills. Visitors will be not be allowed to bring food for animals. However, one can feed the animals with food available at the vending machines. «Vending machines will be placed around the territory with food that’s good for animals. You can buy carrots, for example. However, the portions will be quite small to protect the animals from overeating,» said Anastasia Izmakova, adding that machines with seeds will be installed for birds.

Come to study During the tour, one can read information on the special stands. Young visitors will be able to see the world through the animal’s eyes on the screens. Here information from surveillance cameras will be broadcast. Watchers would see how animals move, interact with the surrounding environment; visitors will learn their habits and behavioral patterns. Special screens will show the world through the animal’s eyes: cats, dogs, frogs, cows, birds of prey. For example, the cow cannot see red color and frogs can only see moving objects; the hawk’s sharp eyes see things five times sharper than humans’. On the big Map of the World children will see animals people grow on farms in different countries.

At the stand «How much animals eat» will have filled containers with traditional animal fodder for a day or a week. For example, a crocodile eats considerably less in one week than a rabbit. There will also be a container with human food — the daily child’s requirement.

«Children will compare how much different animals eat compared to a human child» — said Anastasia Izmakova. The «Why animals need horns» stand will showcase horns in glass boxes, and children will be able to see whole sides of them, as well as learn their purposes. Game module «Jump like a rabbit» will show the jumping patterns of frogs, cats and rabbits. Children will rate their physical abilities, everyone will be able to jump along the stand with length marks, and then see which of the animals jumps farthest. Exhibition of bird eggs will be made in the aviary. Children will be given the task to guess which birds they belong to. Eggs will be placed under glass, and a magnifying lens will allow comparing them. Across from each egg, on top, plates with images of the corresponding birds and information about them will be placed.

Children will find many interesting things on the stand about farm animals using a spinning drum. The stand will tell what animals subordinate to other animals; ants, for example, pasture aphides like cattle, and crocodiles ‘hire’ small birds to clean their teeth. The bird migration calendar will show, which birds living in the aviary fly away to the south in winter and what birds stay in Moscow. With other stands children will learn how pets have changed in the process of evolution, how far postal pigeons fly. In the Info Center, children will communicate with biologists, zoologists, and watch films about animals.

According to Oleg Shapiro, the project of the game and education part of the children’s zoo was created together with the biologist, popularizer of science Dmitry Knorr. The Info Center will have two multifunctional halls with screens, and lecturers will be able to bring animals there, discuss them, and display films on the screens about them.

Images: Wowhaus



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