A Moscow Zoo interactive pavilion will open at Manezhnaya Square opposite the State Historical Museum between 18 and 22 October, as part of Russian Environmental Week being held in the city on the same days. The 280 sq m gazeebo, 10 m high, will plunge visitors into the world of virtual animals. Interactive panels along the perimeter of the pavilion will help create the impression of being inside a real zoo. Virtual animals that look almost real will appear in front of visitors, and nature sounds and animal noises will contribute to the authenticity of the effect.
Russian Environmental Week is a good occasion to remind people about how important it is to preserve nature and look after its beauty,” said Svetlana Akulova, general director of the Moscow Zoo. “In the interactive zoo, we show people animals that are on Russia’s Red Book endangered species list, and demonstrate the Moscow Zoo’s new approaches to educating people about the environment. A fine example is the Eco-cultural Tourism project that teaches people rules of behavior in nature as they travel and also introduces them to the flora and fauna of the Moscow Region. We welcome everyone to our gazeebo.
Virtual zoo organisers will also recreate a nature corner with grass, real trees, a rest zone among rocks, and even a creek that visitors will be able to cross on small bridges.
The interactive zoo will include 10 rare animals that are on Russia’s Red Book list including the polar bear, the Amur tiger, the Przewalski horse, the red wolf, the Far Eastern leopard, the Manul cat, white crane, snow leopard, Steller’s sea eagle and the black stork. There will also be an added reality interface where visitors can use a special tablet to see wild animals come alive and even pet them. Those who want to be zoo animal keepers can use a special sensor unit.
The interactive zoo will contain a new game, Feed the Animal, for young and adult visitors to learn where rare animals live and what they eat. Once the eco-festival is over, the game stand will be moved to the Moscow Zoo.
A 4x4 vehicle will be in the gazeebo, equipped with special screens, for those who want to take a virtual safari tour across Moscow Region nature reserves or sign up for a real journey by the Zoo’s Eco-cultural Tourism project.
Another attraction will be to put on a virtual reality helmet and travel to a savannah in Kenya. Also, a large screen inside the pavilion will show a video about the various climate zones in Russia and the animals that live in them.
All the raised money will be used for looking after real zoo animals that were either saved from traffickers or rescued after a nasty accident in the wild.
In addition to the interactive zoo, a tent will be put up on Manezhnaya Square, as part of Russian Environmental Week, for workshops on a healthy diet, building energy efficient buildings, a globular cinema, children’s and sports grounds, an eco-art gallery, and also a food court with eco-beverages and eco-meals. Visitors will also be able to buy various goods from eco-manufacturers at special markets. More details about Environmental Week are available on the project’s website.