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San Diego Zoo launches new immersive attraction for children

The new 3.2-acre experience features water play elements, sensory attractions and interactive touchscreen games.

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san diego zoo wildlife explorers basecamp

The San Diego Zoo has opened the new $88m Wildlife Explorers Basecamp, a state-of-the-art experience for kids constructed on the site of the former Children’s Zoo.

The 3.2-acre experience combines immersive technology with animal exhibits. Sensory attractions include a huge treehouse, water play elements, and interactive touchscreen games.

Additionally, the Denny Sanford Wildlife Explorers Basecamp features animation that uses artificial intelligence (AI), as well as dynamic lighting, microscopes and scented environments.

“Wildlife Explorers Basecamp speaks to the budding conservationist within us all and shows us the marvels of the natural world,” said Paul Baribault, president and chief executive officer of San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance.

“Through these gates millions of world changers will begin their journey with nature, and demonstrate the power of empathy and compassion as they join us to become allies for wildlife,” he added.

Wildlife Explorers Basecamp

Wildlife Explorers Basecamp features eight buildings and habitats across four zones – Rainforest, Wild Woods, Marsh Meadows and Desert Dunes.

The Rainforest zone is home to invertebrates such as arachnids, crustaceans and insects. The new pollinator experience features giant beeswax-scented honeycombs.

Wild Woods offers a look at unusual wildlife including coatis and squirrel monkeys. It also boasts a 20-foot-tall ‘Tree of Dreams’ play experience, as well as a waterfall, splash pad and water jets.

Marsh Meadows boasts 7,000 square feet of immersive environments, digital media and learning opportunities. Wildlife includes snakes, amphibians, crocodiles, turtles and lizards.

The Desert Dunes zone houses animals such as the fennec fox, prairie dog and burrowing owl. Children will find reptile sculptures and rock carvings as they play.

Elsewhere, San Antonio Zoo has announced that gorillas are returning to the attraction, which is developing the new $15 million Congo Falls habitat, one of the largest gorilla homes in the US.

The zoo’s last gorilla resident, Mopie, relocated to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in 1990.

Images: San Diego Zoo

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Bea Mitchell

Bea is a journalist specialising in entertainment, attractions and tech with 10 years' experience. She has written and edited for publications including CNET, BuzzFeed, Digital Spy, Evening Standard and BBC. Bea graduated from King's College London and has an MA in journalism.

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