The Living World


 Opening in 1989, the Living World at the Saint Louis Zoo instantly became a benchmark... describing a new, broadly expanded standard of interpretation in both manner and voice, of natural history within Zoos and Aquaria. Setting out to make the critical connections between the display of animals and the revelation of ideas and forces that control our lives, it models how places as this can be places of wonder and awe that celebrate life and discovery... and beauty and connections... and how, in nature, all things fit. It sought to instill not just and understanding of, but a love for, the workings and wonder of life on earth strong enough to bring about changes in personal priorities needed if we are to survive.
The north entry to the Zoo, the 55,000 square foot pavilion houses two exhibit halls, a 400 seat theater, four classrooms including an Apple "Classroom of Tomorrow", a library / resource center, cafe, retail, and education department offices and general administrative areas.

" Leading Zoos

into the into the

21st century..."


"High technology and live animals are delightfully intertwined to make learning often complex issues fun and easy..."


"This marvelous Center... An amazing array of sights, sounds and sensations..."


Zoo Life


 An animatronic Charles Darwin is host to the exhibit Hall, Introduction to the Animals. Celebrating the great family of life he notes: " In this room is the greatest variety of animals under any roof in North America... or Britain for that matter."
A skylit central rotunda, 65 feet high, rests at the heart of the building, providing ways generally for getting around and importantly, a grand public space for after hours events.


" An information packed,curiousity-provoking environinment... the ultimate science classroom."



 In the Hall: 150 species of animals, from one celled organisms to mammals arranged according to their taxonomic position celebrate the richness and diversity of the Animal Kingdom. Five and a half hours of video "Peep Shows" shown on 40 overhead screens illuminate the daily goings on within and among their "Families" while twenty five media based interactive exhibits and hypertexts bring great depth to the discourse. Unique films open new windows on the Living World. Animatronics become guides, holograms teach... while Information Rails enrichen content... and house collections.
The Living Stream was a focal exhibit in the Hall "Introduction to Ecology". "Extinction" and "Deforestation" counters enumerated changes since the Center opened... "Since You Were Born"... since you were born. Carrier Pigeons were on exhibit. The high definition video "Orbit" carried you around the Earth in twelve minutes, describing the environmental state of affairs as you flew. "What"s It Like Here" allowed you to interview shamans and elders in eleven different biomes! "Invent a Habitat", to invent a Habitat.



Stream Lab encourged hands on exploration... The Scholars area, quiet study on state of the art computers
A look at just one of the movies made forThe Living World: Conceptualized and directed by Chip Reay, written by Sue Hubbell, "A Tour of a Bee" was photographed within a scanning electron microscope by David Scharff. For the first time fully cinemagraphic moves, pans, tilts and zooms were accomplished within the scope. No bees were harmed in making this movie.
The Living World was realized while I was at HOK. The exhibit design team included Bevin Grant, Phillip Reay and--------. George Johnson did the writing. It opened in 1989.