Zoo in Winter: Managing Animal and Visitor Habitats
When most people think of the ideal zoo day, they imagine lots of families walking around a zoo in hats, sipping on cold refreshment, and hiding out under the shade in between visiting different enclosures.
Of course, zoos are more popular in the spring and summer because of the tourism season, summer break, and ideal outdoor weather. Another reason that zoos see less visitors in the colder seasons is because of a cultural misconception about animal activity in the fall and winter.
Guests will assume that animals are less active in the winter, which limits visitors’ abilities to get exposed to the many animal species that thrive in colder months.
What zoos have here is an opportunity to turn the winter, which lends itself to a lot of downtime during the holidays, into a more active visiting season for guests. By utilizing social media, online content, and educational content, zoos can boost their visitor engagement and memberships in the winter.
Planning for winter months at the zoo
It’s important to remind guests that plenty of animals are still outside during the winter months. In fact, many animals are more active in colder months than hotter months, providing a unique opportunity for guests to see more active animals than they would in the hotter months.
One way zoos can plan for the winter months is to highlight their winter month animals. Posting videos on their social media accounts and sharing behind-the-scenes content with trainers is an excellent way to draw a bridge between your animals and your guests.
Animals that guests can expect to see in the winter months include:
- Cheetahs with the help of heated termite mounds
- Gray seals
- Beavers and otters
- Amur tigers (Siberian tigers)
- Red pandas
- And more!
Part of the challenge with zoos is educating the public that there are indeed a number of unique animals that thrive and are active in the winter.
Another way to encourage visits is to host seasonal events. Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and Kwanza are all winter-time holidays that you can create fun events around.
Animals at the zoo in winter
Zoos have guidelines that require them to have regular habitats and modified enclosures for animals. This means that some animals will need to be moved indoors or their enclosures will have to be adjusted with heating aids in order to create healthy animal living conditions.
Again, this is all about educating your audience and showing them how they can enjoy animals in the winter, whether through an indoor exhibit or a modified outdoor enclosure.
Some zoo animals that you might have to move inside or provide heating for include:
- Lowland gorillas
- African lions
- Sumatran tigers
- Clouded leopards, once temperatures drop below 40 degrees fahrenheit.
While it’s true that some zoo animals will need modified living spaces or indoor enclosures, that doesn’t mean visitors can’t interact with them. Below we’ll get into how you can host fun and engaging winter-time events.
Humans visiting the zoo during winter
There are several ways to engage with visitors at the zoo in the winter months.
Special events you can host include:
- Indoor zoo exhibits
- As mentioned above, you can move several zoo animals, like the great apes, into indoor enclosures. Be sure to post videos and photos of your indoor enclosures online so your guests are aware of their availability.
- Special online or indoor events
- Indoor petting zoos, behind-the-scenes time with trainers, and special online and virtual events are all great ways to engage with visitors and escape the lower temperatures.
- Special members events
- Engage your members with special members-only events. Member morning events, indoor family gathering, and members-only indoor events can help remind members of how much you value them.
- Winter wonderland and lighting events
- Especially around Christmas time, winter wonderlands and light events are a great way to capture the spirit of the holiday season. Engage families, couples, and guests looking for a fun winter-time event.
- Beer gardens
- Similar to the winter wonderland event, engage with adults by creating a colorful, well-lit winter garden and setting up beer tents throughout your zoo. Visitors can try the best local beers with their loved ones in a sparkling winter garden.
ACME can help make your winter events a reality
One of the challenges for zoos in the winter is educating their visitors and generating excitement around winter time events. ACME ticketing solves this problem by offering cutting-edge ticketing and membership management tools that can help zoos manage their members, implement seamless benefits programs, and understand visitors interests with a robust CRM.
Transform your winter-time zoo and try the ACME demo today.