Ever wonder what elements makes up an exhibit? The animals and plants are the most obvious component, but there is also an element most people don’t even notice: the exhibit furniture.
All of the stuff in an exhibit that makes it look like a rainforest or helps to accommodate animal husbandry needs are called “exhibit furniture.” At the Academy, these items are created by Exhibits Fabricator Robin Allen. This can be a really big job here, considering the whole rainforest bola is one big exhibit, with three huge “trees” made out of concrete and plastic.
It can also be really small jobs, like the two tiny fabricated Strawberry Dart frogs next to the ramp on the second level, or the home for the baby Cave Rat Snakes (Elaphe t. ridleyi). Usually it’s stuff that’s more of middle range: a “vine” for Leafcutter ants (Atta cephalotes) to climb and get their food, like in this photo:
Also check out this “tree” for the Kuhl’s flying geckos (Ptychozoon kuhli) and Red-Tailed Green rat snakes (Gonyosoma oxycephela) to lounge on near their heat lamps.
Next time you visit the Academy try to guess which things are real and which things we made to help make it seem more like a forest for our guests and our animals. As the Exhibit Fabricator, I get the always challenging and really fun job of making the exhibit furniture at the California Academy of Sciences. I hope you enjoy looking at our exhibits as much as I enjoy making them!