“Serengeti Interactives” will change the way how visitors will experience their zoo visit. Being the ﬁrst in the world, visitors of Serengeti-Park Hodenhagen are not only able to observe the animals but will get the opportunity to interact with the animals, stepping into the role of the animal caretakers.
Through several placed themed objects in the Serengeti-Safari, visitors can activate different functions to contribute to the well-being of the animals. Visitors can remotely activate brushes for scrubbing, water for drinking, food for eating, sounds for hearing and salt blocks for licking, improving the animal’s physical and psychological health through a practice called ‘behavioral enrichment’. Visitors can also take a selﬁe with the beautiful themed objects as background. To use the “Serengeti Interactives,” visitors only have to install the Serengeti-Park app and they are ready to go.
Fabrizio Sepe, Director and Owner of Serengeti-Park, explains: “I was searching for a healthy approach towards digital innovation into the safari experience. An innovation that would give visitors the possibility to interact and get more in touch with the animals, giving them the satisfaction to do something good for their well-being. Both during a visit to the park and from the comfort of home. All, off course, with full respect for the animals and not disturbing their natural environment. The ‘Serengeti Interactives’ are a world ﬁrst!”
The company who brought this idea to life is Jora Vision, responsible for the design and production of the “Serengeti Interactives” along with the team of Serengeti-Park.
“We do not shy away from a challenge but when Fabrizio ﬁrst pitched to us his idea, we were scratching our heads” explains Robin van der Want, Project Development Director at Jora Vision. “Although the general working sounds easy, the complexity is ﬁerce. In close collaboration with the animal caretakers we ﬁrst deﬁned the dos and don’ts of the interactive functions in relation to the animal welfare. Through their daily work, the animal caretakers know what the animals like. We have included some of their favorite things. Secondly we have chosen the locations in the Serengeti-Safari and with that a themed design that ﬁts into the area surrounding. Thirdly all mechanics, electronics and necessary software has been developed and written. Finally everything has been integrated together with the special designed app (Von Affenfels, Germany), bluetooth beacons and all ground works on site.
The effort has resulted into the launch of two “Serengeti Interactives”. One interactive is in the East Africa section, disguised as a 13 meter Baobab Tree and three are in the North America section themed as Totems.
The heart of the system is the app through which visitors activate the different functions of the Baobab and Totems to interact with the animals. Some functions are free of charge, others cost between 1 to 3 euro.
Fabrizio continues: “The Totems and Baobab are just the ﬁrst interactives to be launched but we expect to introduce new interactives in the near future. Even when the Park is closed in the evening, you can take a look and interact from home or anywhere else. Through the ‘Serengeti Interactives‘ you are not only a visitor, but you will be part of the Serengeti.”
“We are proud to have been part of this project since we believe that interactivity and immersion – designed to unlock emotional responses – are rapidly becoming essential and proven tools that engage people and ‘make them care’. This philosophy has now been added to Serengeti-Park in a unique way for visitors to enjoy!”, concludes Robin.