Earlier this month, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums honored both the Fort Worth and Dallas Zoos with prestigous awards.
The Fort Worth Zoo opened MOLA - The Museum of Living Art - in March of 2010. It is a 19 million dollar marvel of concrete and acrylic, a unique convergence of nature and art and architecture, and has now been awarded top honors in Exhibit Design by the AZA..
"Not only for the public experience but for the work being done behind the scenes," said Alexis Wilson.
"There are so many thing happening here that are happening no where else in the world. There are species found in this building that are extinct in the wild and cannot be found anywhere else .
"This building is a combination of beautiful architecture, which is part of the award. Unbelievable conservation work which is part of the award and extraordinary entertainment and education," Wilson explained.
Thirty miles to the east, the Dallas Zoo has also been honored by AZA for Significant Achievement in recognition of its spectacular new exhibit, Giants of the Savannah. It is 11 acres of habitat for elephants and giraffes and some 25 other species, often sharing and interacting.
Giants of the Savannah is not only winning awards, it's attracting visitors. The zoo recently shattered its attendance record by nearly 100,000 visitors. And that's despite a brutally hot summer.
"We wanted to make this as natural as possible," said Sean Greene. "When you come out here you see elephants and other animals on natural grass, you see undulating hills, termite hills, you seen all these activities that you would see in the wild.
"We've really tried to layer in all these opportunities for these animals to enrich their lives and create natural behaviors which the public loves, but also it's really fantastic for the animals.
"The other things that is unique," Green continued, "is that we have an interpretive layer where you can see things you will not see at other zoos. For example, you can see a crowned crane fly over the head of a 15-foot-tall giraffe, guinea fowl, so people can get up close with these African animals."
One metropolitan area, blessed with two World Class Zoos.
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