Zoo Atlanta is a widely popular zoo, featuring more than 1,000 animals, representing about 200 species around the world. Your trip to Zoo Atlanta isn’t complete without visiting giant pandas Yang Yang and Lun Lun, as well as their twins, Ya Lun and Xi Lun – the only giant panda twins in the United States.
While animals are absolutely stunning, zoos face stiff competition from other venues and a balancing act when finding the right mix of conservation, education, and entertainment to sustain operations. Installing entertainment attractions has proved to be a great outlet for zoos, as they offer another fun, exciting activity for zoo visitors.
Like several other zoos around the country, Zoo Atlanta chose RCI Adventure Products to install entertainment attractions at their zoo. After installing a ropes course and a Sky Tykes course, the zoo netted a quick return on investment and saw a spike in attendance.
In our most recent blog, RCI discusses the process of installing adventure attractions at Zoo Atlanta and the positive results the zoo has yielded from the courses.
Zoo Atlanta looked at a couple of different companies but ultimately chose RCI because of their commitment to safety, reputation for being the worldwide leader in entertainment attractions, and their on-site training and ongoing support.
Zoo Atlanta found a true partner in RCI. During the early stages of the project, zoo staff met regularly with RCI to discuss the type of course they wanted, the color scheme, and where to locate it.
“They put a plan together for us, and we went ahead and went with it,” said Shawn Whitman, Vice President, Membership & Guest Experience at Zoo Atlanta. “They were great about the space we needed it to be in.”
Zoo Atlanta commented that the construction was fast and “everything was measured to the millimeter.” They eventually worked with RCI to add three new elements to the ropes course and added a separate Sky Tykes course, designed for visitors 4’ or under.
“Their responsiveness was so fast; we developed friendships with them,” said Rob Thielemann, Guest Services Manager at Zoo Atlanta.
The self-guided courses at Zoo Atlanta require minimal staff to operate – while providing customers a level of excitement they’ll never forget.
The courses are designed for guests to self-manage their own way through. When they reach an element, for example, they can choose to go in several different directions. The uniqueness of the sling line and the way it connects to the course means staff doesn’t have to unhook and rehook visitors each time they reach a new element. Guests can choose to skip an element or try the same element multiple times.
Because the courses are self-guided, most zoos do not need to hire additional staff.
From designing to manufacturing to installing the courses, safety is at the forefront of everything RCI does.
Once the ropes course was complete at Zoo Atlanta, RCI trained a select group of zoo employees on how to perform daily inspections of the courses.
“They make it very clear what’s a pass and what’s a fail,” Whitman said. “They taught our team how to look for those passes and fail items. We can even take a picture and send it to them to see if it’s a pass or fail. They just didn’t come and build it and say, ‘Good luck.’ They’ve been partners the whole way.”
A certified RCI inspector performs an annual inspection and meticulously checks the entire structure, its elements, and equipment. They also ensure the courses comply with all of the required documentation for the daily, quarterly and annual operations.
Feedback from Visitors
Thielemann said visitors’ excitement over the ropes course was already building in the months leading up to its opening as they watched it being constructed. Visitors have been thrilled with the attractions, as the ropes course provided something new and different to try at the zoo.
Also, the addition of new elements allowed Zoo Atlanta to provide a new experience for repeat visitors.
“We highlight tree-dwelling animals at the zoo – what does it feel like to swing like an orangutan, or how does it feel to be at the top of a canopy? It fits in with the mission of the zoo in a very unique but accurate way.”
Contact RCI for More Information about Entertainment Attractions
If you would like to learn more about installing entertainment attractions at your zoo, aquarium, or farm park, contact RCI today.