On-site Initiatives

Interactive Educational Attractions
In today’s world, technology plays a powerful role in education.  The Wild Adventure Ride is the country’s first animal-based virtual reality voyage. The Wild Adventure Ride is a unique “you are there” experience that connects visitors to the world of nature as they “see the world through the eyes of animals.”  Wilderness Adventure addresses the issues and importance of animal welfare, and instills empathy for the stories of our fellow living creatures.

The Detroit Zoo continues to provide memorable and engaging family entertainment with a state-of-the-art 126-seat 3-D/4-D effects theater at the Ford Education Center.  The multimedia attraction delivers 3-D technology enhanced with 4-D special effects including wind, mist, scents, back “pokes” and leg ticklers.

DTE Energy Foundation Humane Science Lab
One of several interpretive studios in the Ford Education Center, the DTE Energy Foundation Humane Science Lab will be the hub of many of the Academy’s programs.  The Lab provides an opportunity for students to learn about utilizing humane methods of study like virtual dissection models and simulations.  Additionally, students, teachers and visitors experience other programs that model gentle ways of teaching and learning science.  Currently outfitted with eco-friendly décor, the DTE Energy Foundation Humane Science Lab will be enhanced with graphics added to the walls and activity stations implemented throughout the room.

Backyards for Wildlife Site
The Backyards for Wildlife site shows visitors ways they can create desirable habitats for indigenous animals and plants.  This area demonstrates that helping animals begins in your own backyard.  Interpretive graphics emphasize the need and benefit of this type of backyard program.  This is a model that can also be used to inspire a Schoolyard for Wildlife.

EdZoocation Stations
EdZOOcation Stations are offered to guests at various locations throughout the Zoo. Some of the activities include a life-sized Petopoly game themed around pet care responsibilities, a City Critters station, creating seed balls, storytelling and creating Nature Circles inclusive of a nature activity or question to help children explore the outdoors.

Performing Arts
The nationally acclaimed Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit was commissioned to create a humane education production, Zoomanity.  Working with DZS staff, this talented group of youth produced a piece that promotes a better understanding of how we affect the world of animals, including the ones that live with humans – our pets.  This production instills a strong sense of empathy for our pets, promotes responsible pet choice and care and motivates audiences to treat animals with respect and kindness.  They also created a humane education medley.  This medley is appealing to youngsters and has been used in a wide variety of programs.  The Society's visitors vary in their learning styles and aural learners are particularly receptive to song.

Docents, or volunteer educators, have contact with thousands of Zoo visitors each year at both facilities, through guided tours and informal learning experiences. They promote a humane ethic when interacting with audiences of all ages and backgrounds.  Each docent training class includes a session dedicated to Humane Education.  This includes a presentation that discusses humane education issues and the stories of the many rescued animals at the Society in order to better share humane education concepts with tour participants and guests.  Annual re-certification for docents also includes a humane education component.

Humane Education Film
The Society has produced a film by Academy Award winner Sue Marx.  “From Animal Showboat to Animal Lifeboat” illustrates the many ways animals in entertainment are exploited and suggests a different course for the future.  This film won an Emmy and was co-written and co-produced by Society Director Ron Kagan.  This film is available to view in its entirety on the Zoo’s website.

Zoo Movies
There are nine Society-commissioned films that are available to our guests in the theater of the Wildlife Interpretive Gallery and at area libraries and public schools.  The movies were created by Academy Award winner Sue Marx and Society Director Ron Kagan to highlight aspects of the relationships between humans and animals.

Humane Education Award
A Humane Education Award will recognize individuals who have made significant achievements in humane education (beginning in 2012).

Media and Signage
The Society’s frequent press releases about issues involving animal protection and substantial on-site signage about rescue animals create visibility for the problems associated with keeping exotic animals, animals in entertainment and other welfare topics. They also encourage people to become animal advocates.

Web Site Development
A major section of the Detroit Zoo's web site is being developed to incorporate humane education content, activities and recognition. This humane education section will be launched with feature stories and pictures of the Society’s rescued animals.  Other topics in this section of the web site will include additional information for Shades of Green, tools for educators/parents, activities for children and links to other animal welfare related websites.