2019-2020 ZOOMS Design Challenge presented by Flint Hills Resources

NEW High School Level Available this year!

Looking for ways to engage your students in integrated STEM? Register your class to develop a solution to a real problem at the zoo! This year, students will be challenged to develop solutions to update the Tropics Trail nocturnal hallway exhibit space and enrich the four visually impaired Hawaiian Monk Seals found in Discovery Bay. 

Enrichment Design Challenge

Level 1: 3rd – 5th Grade
Level 2: 6th – 8th Grade
Level 3: 9th – 12th Grade

Develop an innovative enrichment for the Hawaiian Monk Seals
It has almost been 5 years since the 910,000 gallon tank in Discovery Bay became home to three female Hawaiian Monk Seals: Koa, Paki, and Ola. Currently, the Minnesota Zoo is the only location outside Hawaii to see this critically endangered species.  These animals pose a particularly unique challenge for zookeepers when providing enrichment as majority of the seals have visual impairments that must be considered when safely introducing anything new for them to explore. Zookeepers would like to find new and creative ways to encourage the natural behaviors and senses of these deep water divers while carefully considering their safety and sight restrictions.

Enrichment Design Challenge Guidelines

To register contact Liz Gilles at [email protected]

Exhibit Design Challenge

Level 1: 3rd – 5th Grade
Level 2: 6th – 8th Grade
Level 3: 9th – 12th Grade

Reimagine the Tropics Nocturnal Hallway with a new Creatures of the Canopy Theme
For 10 years, most of the nocturnal exhibit hallway located at the center of the Tropics Trail has sat nearly empty and boarded up.  Currently the zoo is seeking funding to revitalize this space with a new theme: Creatures of the Canopy. The zoo hopes for the space to lead visitors on an immersive walk through the layers of the rainforest and encounter animals that live in each level while also providing an interactive children’s play area. Included in this plan are the current nocturnal hallway residents: The Linne’s two-toed sloth pair and baby, Norman, Lily and Tofu, and the 14 ft. Burmese python, Nikita. The zoo would like help in redeveloping this area for these animals and choosing new smaller rainforest species to add to the space.  The final plan should balance keeper, visitor, and animal needs while also highlighting important rainforest conservation issues.

Exhibit Design Challenge Guidelines

To register contact Liz Gilles at [email protected]

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2018-2019 ZOOMS Design Challenge


2017-2018 ZOOMS Design Challenge
2016-2017 ZOOMS Design Challenge
2015-2016 ZOOMS Design Challenge
2014-2015 ZOOMS Design Challenge


ZOOMS is Sponsored By

Burlington Northern Santa Fe
Donaldson Company
H.B. Fuller