December 26, 2018

Denver Zoo Launches First Virtual Reality Experience

Get a Behind-the-Scenes Look Into the Zoo Though Our New Google Expedition, The Birds of Denver Zoo

Ever wonder what it’s like for zookeepers to raise rare species of birds? Or how they prepare food tailored to meet the needs of the many types of birds that call the Zoo home? Now kids can get a look at the inner workings of animal care at Denver Zoo through our new Google Expedition, The Birds of Denver Zoo. Denver Zoo is the second zoo to launch an Expedition on the app, which is designed to help teachers take students around the world to explore different places through virtual reality.

This virtual reality experience is part of a new initiative within our Learning & Engagement department to explore the use of technology in education programs, especially with youth audiences. We are looking to integrate virtual reality experiences into other programs over the next year to explore more topics, ranging from animal exhibit design to the Zoo's conservation efforts.

"Our goal is to give students a chance to visit Denver Zoo, whether it's through an in-person experience or virtual reality, and see the amazing work that's going on to care for and protect animals," said Tom Schermerhorn, Youth Programs Coordinator at Denver Zoo. "We really want to highlight the awesome science that happens here every day and give students an opportunity to see what they wouldn’t normally get to see when visiting the Zoo."

The Expedition starts in the rainforest of Bird World and takes students on a journey that includes going behind the scenes to watch keepers prepare food for birds in the Avian Propagation Center, monitor an endangered bird species and make enrichment to help stimulate the birds’ minds and bodies.

The unique component of this new experience is the final scene: a backyard where students can learn about what they can do to help birds in their own neighborhoods, no matter where they live. There are specific “points of interest” in the pictures that help teachers show students different aspects of each scene, and supporting questions and background they can use to further enhance student engagement.

If you’d like to experience the new Expedition, download the Google Expeditions app through the App Store or Google Play and search “Denver Zoo."

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