The Pittsburgh Zoo
has unleashed an interactive wall of fun and learning in the aquarium this summer. The kids are on it like seals to sardines.
“It’s amazing how the little ones know exactly how the touchscreens work,” says Amy O'Neill, development coordinator for the Zoo. “It’s great for all ages, although the kids are probably helping out their grandparents.”
Gone are the monitors of old. In their place is a wall with six 42-inch high-def touchscreens. Children and families are encouraged to touch the map and interact with it as they learn about the animals and the areas of the world where they live.
Circles on the screens reveal what species of fish live beneath the waters in different parts of the world. Children learn about the zoo’s water conservation programs and tips on how to save water at home.
Another part of the wall features a game similar to "Where's Waldo?" with watery wonders hidden in a floor-to-ceiling mural. The mural was created by local illustrator Dave Klug, a contributor to national publications including The Wall Street Journal, Nickelodeon and Highlights for Children.
The great thing about advanced technology is it transcends a photograph or a stagnant paragraph on the wall, O'Neill says. “We are able to build learning in layers, drilling down to provide visual information or offer a quick video clips.
“We hope it will encourage people to take a closer look, maybe go back to see something in the exhibit they may have missed.”
The wall highlights projects and research underway through the PPG Conservation and Sustainability Fund, a program that supports research worldwide that has helped save sea turtles, coral and polar bears.
worked with local vendors for the interactive programming and construction of the exhibit, which was funded in part through PPG’s new 10-year, $7 million partnership with the zoo.
"This exhibit combines technology, education and fun all in one. It appeals to kids and keeps them busy, and hopefully gives parents a little break at the same time," adds Bill Garrison.
Source: Amy O'Neill, Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium