Living Exhibits is a Phoenix based company that designs, builds and manages interactive Stingray and Shark exhibits for zoos and aquariums throughout North America. Founded in 2005, Living Exhibits has produced more than 20 exhibits and have provided memorable experiences to more than 9 million visitors.
Our animal collection includes Cownose Rays, Southern Stingrays, Bonnethead Sharks, Leopard Sharks and Bamboo Sharks. Our staff provides all husbandry and life-support functions while the host zoo or aquarium provides crowd control and poolside education interpretation and animal visitor oversight. Most of our exhibits are seasonal, operating between May and October. We provide animal transportation between our holding facilities and your zoo or aquarium.
IF YOUR INSTITUTION IS CONSIDERING HAVING LIVING EXHIBITS PROVIDE YOU WITH STINGRAY COVE, HERE ARE SOME DETAILS YOU WILL WANT TO THINK ABOUT
Our standard exhibit requires a space of approximately 60’ X 35’. This provides for an approximately 18,000-gallon pool that is 24” deep, 50’ long and 25’ wide. The entire area must be covered either by tent like structure or more permanent structure that allows for side curtains, sun blocking and rain blocking. We can build smaller or larger exhibits as required. In addition to the primary exhibit footprint, we require an additional approximately1000 sq. ft. for the associated Life Support System which needs to be located adjacent to or near the primary exhibit.
We will need a minimum of a 1 1/2” fresh water supply. We will provide treatment to the water supply to make it appropriate for our life support system. Additionally, we will need a nearby waste water drain for backwash water and water change discharge. Please keep in mind that the discharge water will be salt-water.
Our life support system will require 200 Amps of service with 3 phase 220 volts available. Additionally, backup power must be available to the exhibit or a temporary backup generator can be provided for backup power.
Our typical process is that once the exhibit design parameters are approved by the zoo, Living Exhibits contracts with a local construction firm to build the pool and life support pad. Living Exhibits LSS staff installs the life support equipment and piping and all permitting is handled as part of the Living Exhibits install. Living Exhibits also provides a hand rinse station for visitors’ hand rinsing at the exhibit entrance. Once the exhibit design is approved by the client, we can generally have the pool and life support built and functional in 8 weeks. An addition 4 weeks is required to make the pool “animal ready”. The host institution is responsible for support facilities such as gift shop and admissions.
LIFE SUPPORT SYSTEM (LSS)
Living Exhibits provides a robust life support system with redundant systems and intuitive alarming. Our LSS is comprised of multiple sand and gravel filters, carbon contact systems, Protein Fractionation and a Moveable BioBed. Additionally, we utilize UV and Ozone contact processes. Salt mixing is done in our 1000 gallon reservoirs. For temperature management we utilize 15-ton heat pumps for chilling and separate heater/boilers. We maintain our water temperature at 78 degrees. Our standard turnover rate is 30 minutes and our pool water is “gin clear” at all times. We employ an alarm system that constantly monitors vital LSS functions and places automated calls to our staff if any system parameters are out of range or if there is a power loss. Our exhibits are designed so that in the event of power loss, the system automatically switches to “backup power”.
We maintain a large animal collection of “conditioned” animals for all of our exhibits. Our staff will be on site during the entire run of the exhibit and will provide all animal husbandry needs including feeding and daily care of the animals. In a standard exhibit, we provide 25 Cownose Rays, 4 Southern Rays, 2 Bonnethead and or Leopard Sharks and 8 Bamboo Sharks. We have a very low mortality rate and typically have animals being born in our exhibits on a regular basis. Our animal collection is a combination captive born animals or rescued animals. Our animals have off-season housing in the Florida Panhandle.
The pool perimeter for our standard exhibit is 145 linear feet. On the average, we allow 24” per person along the pool wall which provides for a capacity of approximately 75 visitors at poolside. The average stay time at poolside is 15 minutes which work out to a little under 300 visitors per hour.
UPCHARGE OR NO UPCHARGE
The vast majority of our clients require visitors to pay an upcharge to attend this exhibit. The exhibit is generally considered to be temporary and seasonal thus justifying the upcharge. Most upcharges are $3.00 for non-members and $2.00 for members. On average, our capture rate of visitors to the exhibit is 22% – 30% of total attendance.
Stingray Cove presents multiple revenue streams including admission fees, animal feeding, Education visits and programs, birthday parties and special events, after hour events, Wade with the Rays program and merchandise sales. Stingray Cove provides a strong sponsorship opportunity.
OPERATIONS – WHO DOES WHAT?
Living Exhibits staff is responsible for the daily care of the animal collection including husbandry, feeding including food prep, record keeping, enrichment, veterinary care, life support operations and maintenance. Living Exhibits will have a full-time staff of 3 on site during the entire operational term of the contract. The host zoo will be responsible for admissions and cash handling, crowd control including queuing and access to the exhibit, marketing, and poolside interpretation for guest management and animal safety as well as helping guests maximize their experience.
ANIMAL / VISITOR SAFETY ISSUES
The host institution is required to provide 2 – 4 interpretive staff who are either in the pool looking out at the crowd or roving the pool sides helping visitors interact with and/or feed the animals while at the same time acting as “lifeguards” for the animals preventing visitors from grabbing animals or other inappropriate behavior.
Living Exhibits provides full graphics packages for our exhibits. All graphics will be produced by our vendors and will include your logo. Graphic options will be presented to you for modification and approval during the development process.
EXHIBIT MARKETING SUPPORT
Living Exhibits provides marketing images including “B-Roll” video and high-definition images suitable for all marketing media.
Our standard Interactive Stingray Exhibit has a startup cost of approximately $600,000. This includes the pool, life support system, start up, animals, and start up staffing. Exhibit cover and structure is an additional cost. After start-up, a monthly fee for operations that can also include a revenue share if preferred by the client will begin. Costs will vary depending on exhibit size and other factors to be negotiated.
From the time that a contract is signed until exhibit opening averages 6 months depending upon the local permitting process.
To move forward with the process of obtaining our Interactive Stingray exhibit at your institution, please contact:
Living Exhibits, Inc.