When’s the last time you went to the Melbourne Zoo? For the first time when you were six? For your first date back when you were 15? For most of us, once we reach our twenties, the Zoo is the stuff of childhood memories. That is, of course, until we start becoming parents.
Melbourne Zoo is bringing something completely new to the table with their latest campaign I, Animal – a night of adventure at the Zoo dedicated entirely to adults.
Part multimedia experience, part choose-your-own-adventure tour (with the odd animal encounter and a touch of theatre), I, Animal is many things. But above all, this hour-long experience – produced in collaboration with Adelaide’s award-winning theatre company The Boarder Project – is unique re-engagement with one of Melbourne’s icons.
Upon arriving, every visitor is given an iPod touch (created by Art Processors, the makers of MONA’s ‘O’ device), called Zöe. It’s your personal guide for evening. Two minutes before the Zoo gates open, Zöe asks you to choose one of four adventures: giraffe, elephant, baboon or penguin.
As the gates open, Zöe splits the herd, guiding each listener through the Zoo via headphones. Whether your group is stopping at the tiger’s den, visiting the butterfly sanctuary, or participating in an animal funeral ceremony, the journey remains immersive and highly personal, as the only voice you hear is Zöe’s.
Spilling witty and some times provocative (think detailed description of how artificial insemination really works) information about the Zoo’s inhabitants and past, Zöe is the tour guide you always wished you had. And while Zöe is highly entertaining, I, Animal isn’t all about fun and games. There is a serious focus on animal extinction and conservation. Paralleling our lives with the animals behind the fences, I, Animal blurs the boundary between human and animal, giving us a new understanding of what it means for a species to die out.
And to top off the whole experience, visitors can enjoy full access to the Zoo gardens after hours, which, sans screaming children, is a major highlight of the experience.
I, Animal runs nightly at 6.30pm from November 23.
Update: Tickets are now $39 for general admission, $35 for Zoo members and concession, and $99 for an 'I, Return' 3 Visit Pass. Group discounts available. Food and drinks are available for purchase.