An immersion exhibit is a naturalistic zoo environment that gives visitors the sense they're actually in the animals' habitats. Buildings and barriers are hidden. By recreating sights and sounds from natural environments, immersion exhibits provide an indication about how animals live in the wild.
The landscape immersion term and approach were developed in 1975 through the efforts of David Hancocks at Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo. This led to the zoo's ground-breaking gorilla exhibit, which opened in 1978. The concept became the industry standard by the 1980s, and has since gained widespread acceptance as the best practice for zoological exhibits.
Today there're ten immersive zoo in the world, four in Spain, three in the United States and one in Germany, Italy and Singapore:
- SPAIN: Terra Natura Benidorm in Benidorm, Terra Natura Murcia in Murcia, Bioparc Valencia in Valencia and Bioparc Fuengirola in Fuengirola;
- UNITED STATES: Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Bronx Zoo in New York City and Disney's Animal Kingdom in Orlando;
- GERMANY: Erlebbnis-Zoo Hannover in Hanover;
- ITALY: Zoom Torino in Cumiana, near Turin;
- SINGAPORE: Singapore Zoo in Singapore.
- "What Is an Immersion Exhibit?". Retrieved 2007-08-10.
- Schaul, Jordan Carlton (2012-03-13), "A Critical Look at the Future of Zoos–An Interview with David Hancocks", National Geographic
- "Inside Out Cage". Retrieved 2011-03-06.
- Coe, Jon Charles; Lee, Gary (1996). "One-Hundred Years of Evolution in Great Ape Facilities in American Zoos: 1896 - 1996".
- "Immersion Design". Retrieved 2007-08-10.