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Vote of the week: Animals in theme parks - Yes or No?

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Published: September 7, 2007 at 12:13 PM

This week we've seen plans for an amibitious new animal exhibit at Busch Gardens Africa in Tampa, Fla.... as well as a deadly fire which claimed the life of a giraffe at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, outside San Francisco, Calif.

So, let's talk about live animals in theme parks.

Discuss your position in the comments. Previous votes of the week

Readers' Opinions

From Anthony Murphy on September 7, 2007 at 1:16 PM
I put "who cares" just for the reason that I would still go to theme parks eve if they do not have animals. However, BGA and AK are a few of my favorites!
From Franki Brock on September 7, 2007 at 1:23 PM
I enjoying parks if they have animals or dont equally! =] Go Yankees! =]
From Chris P. on September 7, 2007 at 1:27 PM
I don't care either. Animals won't make me more interested in a park and they won't make me less interested. However, I do think that parks that have the intention of being a 'zoo', and built up thrills and other rides around that zoo concept are fine (eg.BGA. Mainly a zoo but has a fine collection of coasters and other attractions). I don't think parks that are intended to be only amusement/theme parks should have animals (eg. SFGAdv. I understand the tigers are part of the 'theme' in the golden kingdom, but they don't belong there.)
From Bradley Robertson on September 7, 2007 at 2:27 PM
I put who cares simply because having animals isn't going to make me more or less likely to go to a park. I am interested in just the rides, and usually more specifically the coasters. I am going to BGT in a month and I probably will go through some of the animal exhibits, but that isn't the main reason I am going.
From Susan Pfeil on September 7, 2007 at 4:15 PM
I think we have to remember that Busch Gardens Tampa is classified as a zoo and always has been. I believe they are the 4th largest zoo in the USA if not in the world. Therefore the care and setup is much different. Disney learned the hard way when they first opened AK. Many of the exotic animals were dying. It's costly, too, to upkeep them. I was actually hoping Disney's AK would change into the Central Florida Zoo since they have a wonderful setup. Zoos are obviously fine for animals but I voted no for theme parks.
From Claudine Deshaies on September 7, 2007 at 10:14 PM
I think it's great as long as they take the same care as the zoos do when it comes to habitat and treatment. As long as they can maintain the proper environment, there's no reason not to mix the two.
Putting animals too close to rides just to try to make the park more interesting would make me not go back.
It's kind of nice to mix a day at the park with a day at the zoo, and it's good for little kids that can't go on the bigger rides.
From Kevin Beil on September 8, 2007 at 7:28 AM
i only like seeing animals when they are near a certain attraction and kind of incorporate with the ride (for example, journey to atlantis in san diego with the dolphins). but other than that, i dont like when they take up a huge space that's big enough for a decent sized attractioin
From Robert OGrosky on September 8, 2007 at 8:15 AM
While I would go to a park if they had aninmals or not, I do think it is a bonus if a park has animals!!! I love zzo's so for me going to a place like BGT or AK or SeaWorld that it is a big addition to see animals besides going on great rides and seeing excellant shows!!
From Bruce Lane on September 9, 2007 at 4:39 PM
Great poll! Voting 'no' here for numerous reasons.

Very few parks, from what I've seen, have been successful at mixing thrill rides and an animal presence (and I do NOT limit my measure of "success" just by how many more, or how many less, visitors there are!)

Those that are truly "doing it right" in my view are those that have a very clear and very distinct dividing line in the park for the 'animal' side vs. the 'rides' side. In other words, such places are like having two parks in one perimeter. You have a 'zoo' section and a 'rides' section, and never shall they collide.

Examples of places that I've seen (or seen pictures of) that seem to be "doing it right" include Busch Gardens in Virginia, Cedar Point in Ohio, and (gotta give them SOME credit) the Sea World parks. It is also my understanding that Knotts, at one time, had an animal presence, and that they also had a very clear dividing line between it and the 'ride side' of the park. Good job!

Right now, there's only one glaring example of a park I can think of that's doing it all wrong, and that would be (yes, you guessed it) Sick Flags Discovery Kingdom. When they started installing rides, they didn't even bother to create the necessary dividing line(s). They just built stuff overhead, around, and through. BAD idea! The increased noise level alone cannot be good for the critters in the long run. Don't even get me started on how much they shrank the land animal areas to make room for support beams, new pathways, etc.

Happy travels.

From Adriel Tjokrosaputro on September 9, 2007 at 5:46 PM
I think it should be no.

You know, it's theme park, means, anyone can be in it. Not everyone is always being nice to animals. I'm afraid the animals will be kind of... violated.

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