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San Diego Zoo Give First Look at Wildlife Explorers Basecamp

Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team

Date: February 1, 2022 5:02 pm

Wildlife Explorers Basecamp Opening

The logo for the Wildlife Explorers Basecamp zone at the San Diego Zoo

Photo Credit: San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance

Burrowing owls and prairie dogs have moved in to their new habitats at the San Diego Zoo within the Wildlife Explorers Basecamp zone which will open next month. The new area will celebrate its opening with a public ribbon cutting on Friday, March 11, 2022.

Ahead of the public opening the animals have begun to arrive. Moving in to new digs are Orb

weaver spiders who have begun spinning new webs, and other wildlife like Fijian iguanas,

axolotls and dragon-headed katydids.

The new Wildlife Explorers basecamp area replaces the old Children's Zoo at the San Diego Zoo and will bring guests and families close to nature. Within the new zone the zoo will expand its reach with the area designed to be explored by all ages. It will make use of a multifaceted engagement approach, with microscopes and touch screens, plus animation and dynamic lighting installation in the new buildings.

Within the 3.2 acre region is four zones highlighting the wildlife found in certain areas. These four zones are the Rainforest, Wild Woods, Marsh Meadows and Desert Dunes.

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In a release the San Diego Zoo provided the following description of the four zones.


The Rainforest area of Basecamp is centered around the 10,000-square-foot McKinney Family Spineless Marvels, building featuring arachnids, a coconut crab habitat and a real-life beehive with a larger-than-life honeycomb, inviting young guests to become the bee. And at the neighboring Rady Ambassadors Headquarters, guests will encounter a range of animals from all over the planet, including a two-toed sloth and a prehensile-tailed porcupine.

Wild Woods

Wild Woods is an area for wildlife species including coatis and features the impressive Prebys Foundation Discovery Bridge and 20-foot tall structure designed to look like an ancient oak tree. This dynamic nature-play tree structure offers multiple points of access for guests—from a suspension bridge and net tunnel to a spiral staircase in the middle—and provides a parallel-play experience, because it is adjacent to the squirrel monkey habitat. Water-play extends into this woodland-themed area, with a waterfall grotto and splash pad, water jets and a stream—plus, a bluff area with a boulder scramble at the side, for exploration.

Marsh Meadows

Marsh Meadows is designed with an array of plant life designed to evoke a variety of habitats, such as marshes, swamps and estuaries that affect the health of our planet. An outdoor watery habitat, pathways include silhouettes of kid-size frogs and fish to help convey the idea that guests are inhabiting the marsh along with the wildlife that live here. Included in this area is the Art and Danielle Engel Cool Critters building –a two-story herpetology and ichthyology structure that offers 7,000 square feet of immersive environments, digital media, learning opportunities and educational classroom spaces created to engage guests of all ages. The wildlife here includes snakes, amphibians, crocodilians, turtles and lizards, including endangered Fijian iguanas.

Desert Dunes

Desert Dunes, a dry desert wash-themed area, takes center stage in this part of Wildlife Explorers Basecamp, with boulder play opportunities for climbing, scrambling, hopping and more. Hidden reptile sculptures and petroglyphs can be found among the rocks and cool caves that offer shaded areas for guests to beat the heat, like their desert wildlife counter parts—including the fennec fox, prairie dog and burrowing owl.

Learn more about Burrowing Owls here – Burrowing Owl Fact File | The Animal Facts

Learn more about the San Diego Zoo on their website – San Diego Zoo

Wildlife Explorers Basecamp Opening

A burrowing owl is seen in its new habitat within the Wildlife Explorers Basecamp area at the San Diego Zoo

Photo Credit: San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance

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