Visitor behavior in the reptile house
Visitor behavior was evaluated in the National Zoo's reptile house. Nearly 600 visitors were tracked; time spent in the house and time spent looking at exhibits were noted. These parameters were investigated by sex, age, and type of visitor grouping.
The most looked-at exhibits were determined. For 573 visitors, the mean time in the reptile house was 14.7 minutes. Only about 8 minutes was spent looking at exhibits, and this time was strikingly similar for age, sex, and group type. Time spent looking at exhibits was negatively correlated with visitor density. Amphibians and lizards were looked at for less time than snakes and turtles. Crocodilians were looked at longer than the other taxonomic groups, while larger animals in all groups were looked at longer than smaller ones. This study and other similar studies imply that the public does not respond to exhibits with the expected interest and enthusiasm. It is hoped that with a better understanding of the public through research, zoo staff can improve visitor interest in the exhibits.
Title: Visitor behavior in the National Zoo's reptile house
Authors: Dale L. Marcellini, Thomas A. Jenssen