Zoos are facilities in which animals are confined within enclosures, displayed to the public, and in which they may also be bred. Zoo animals usually live in enclosures that attempt to replicate their natural habitats, for the benefit of the animals and the visitors. They may have special buildings for nocturnal animals, with dim white or red lighting used during the day, so the animals will be active when visitors are there, and brighter lights at night to help them sleep. Special climate conditions are created for animals living in radical environments, such as penguins. Special enclosures for birds, insects, reptiles, fish, and other aquatic life forms have also been developed. Some zoos have walk-through exhibits where visitors enter enclosures of non-aggressive species, such as lemurs, marmosets, birds, lizards, and turtles. The position of most modern zoos is to breed animals for conservation.
Aquariums are the aquatic counterpart of a zoo, housing living aquatic species for viewing. Most public aquaria feature tanks larger than those which could be kept by home aquarists, as well as smaller tanks. Since the first public aquariums were built in the mid-1800s, they have become popular and their numbers have increased. Most modern accredited aquaria stress conservation issues and educating the public.
The Vancouver Aquarium was one of the first facilities to incorporate professional naturalists into the galleries to interpret animal behaviours. Prior to this, at the London Zoo Fish House, naturalists James S. Bowerbank, Dr. E Lankester, Mr D. Mitchell and Philip Henry Gosse (the creator of the word aquarium) had regularly held "open house" events, but the Vancouver Aquarium was the first to employ educational naturalists on a full-time basis. (Read more...)