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and Team / Co
Jul 22, 2013
Arlington, VA
On our behind-the-scenes tour yesterday at BGW, Zachary, Luke, and I chatted with Tim and Kendell from the Zoology Department.  In addition to showing us two great animals from their collection, they talked to us a length about their plans for improving and expanding the forward facing elements of their menagerie.

For more details and some great photos care of Luke, check out the article on the BGWFans page.
It's probably good for Luke to take a break from photographing the sod he normally does.
Alright! I'm glad to see the animal sections in the park back to their former glory and even though Busch has a great history with animals these sections were looking stagnate for a while.
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Wonderful article, Nicole!

I too am also intrigued by the reasoning behind the sod. The Highland Cattle do such a number to the grass during Christmas Town, it's usually more mud than grass by the end of the event, so sodding that area is basically mandatory, as they sodded it last off season too. However, when I look back in my photo archive, The Highland Stables and Wolf Valley seemed to recieve their sod at around the same time, late April/early May. Given that Tim arrived in April, the sod decision was most likely one of his first once he arrived at the park.

Also, Wolf Valley's sod extends much further back into the habitat than it did last year. I think it's not only great for the wolves, but also improves the visual appeal of the habitat, it makes the entire area look very lush.
I'm glad to see animals being a focus again! I would love for this attitude to continue on over to WCUSA. I miss the conservation station and especially the parrots near the palm trees that were removed last year. That's a post for a different thread though. Looking forward to great things from zoological this year!
Actually, I believe this resurgence predates David Cromwell's arrival. Tim moved up to Williamsburg from Tampa last April, and clearly he was reinvigorating the Zoology Department for months. For example, the Tawny Frogmouth we met was acquired from the San Antonio Zoo through the AZA. Also, the wolves initially got new sod last year.

While management turnover may have paved the way for a refocus on the animal programs, I doubt you can reasonably correlate the change in park presidents this month with all of the improvements we saw last week.
Carl Lum also expressed an interest in animals. I could tell that he grew very fond of Zoological attractions before he left. Also, we still have John Reilly to thank for purchasing the Busch Gardens Clydesdales, and refusing Tampa's offer to take some flamingos instead.
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Water Country USA seems to be much less of an afterthought now than in the past. The little animal displays that they had throughout the park need to return. I think it actually added to the beauty of the park.

All SW/BG water parks ussualy strive to offer a little more than what is expected from them. If WCUSA brings back some animal encounters, then I will have even more reason to zero-in on Adventure Island as the park that lacks the most.
Here are my few simple ideas. A swampy outdoor alligator exhibit similar SWO in the woods between Rampage and the theater. Flamingo exhibit in the reedy open area across from Nitro Racer. And a macaw or parrot tree / tortoise exhibit along the main path somewhere. All three would be easy to install and very low impact but would be valuable additions.
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I had a chance ro meet and talk with a few of the zoo staff as i was waiting in line for the announcement. I have to say the energy and enthusiasm I saw and heard from them is refreshing frim what i have seen in the previous years.
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