An ideal zoo not only displays animals for the public to view but also works to maintain the natural habitats of those animals. Some zoos have themes--such as Zoo America in Hershey, Pennsylvania. The zoo's theme is North America, and the zoo houses animals from that continent. Some--such as the Baltimore Zoo--have zoned areas. Open space and botanical gardens also help make the zoo appealing to the eye. Zoo design plans should also include where the zoo is physically located and the neighbouring businesses.
Visit several zoos. Take note of their layout and what works and does not seem to work. Talk to zoo keepers and animal handlers at other zoos. Talk to guests. Determine what they like and do not like about the zoo.
Determine which animals, habitats, and other services you wish to include. Research the animals to ensure you provide the appropriate habitats. Include waterways. Plan which animals should be housed near each other. For example, the Baltimore Zoo has an African section, which houses giraffes,leopards and zebras with other animals you would find in Africa. In a separate section is the Arctic region, which houses three polar bears and an arctic fox.
Sketch a plan. Experiment on paper. Include rest rooms, a food service location, a souvenir shop, admissions office, and an on-site animal hospital. Include areas for education stations. Ensure there are plenty of non-public areas for the animals as well. This could include feeding areas, bathing areas and private areas. Ensure that all exhibits and food service areas are wheelchair and stroller accessible.