PacSci Blog

Update on PacSci’s Living Exhibits

Nov 17, 2020 | Blog, Living Exhibits

image of people around a tidepool

The animals in our Living Exhibits are one of the many highlights of a PacSci visit. From seeing new butterflies emerge from their chrysalis to learning about our Naked Mole Rat colony, each visit is filled with curiosity, wonder and newfound knowledge. However, the pandemic has forced us to make many difficult decisions, including the decision to rehome (find new homes for) our animals.

We expect PacSci’s onsite operations to remain very limited for the rest of 2020 and well into 2021, and therefore we made the decision to find new homes for them. 

Our animals have been used to consistent stimulation, which they typically got through guest interaction. Over the summer, our in-person camps helped provide that stimuli while our facility was closed to the public, but camps have been over for some time and our onsite operations remain very limited. We determined it was best to send them to good homes to receive the proper interaction they need to thrive. 

Though we miss them, we know the animals are in great homes and will receive all the attention, care and love they need. In the meantime, we are taking this opportunity to plan for PacSci’s renewal. While we don’t have a reopening date set yet, our goal is to deliver an even better experience than before. 

For more information on the rehoming of our Living Exhibits, check out the FAQ below.

FAQs

Where did the animals go? It is important to us that our animals are in great homes where they will receive the same level of veterinary care provided at PacSci. The animals went to homes where the caregiver already cares for that species or is familiar with the unique needs of that species. That includes places where permitting allows rehoming for the animals.

What does this mean about the Tropical Butterfly House? Our butterfly house is two parts. The beautiful tropical plants aren’t going anywhere, but the butterflies are more complicated. We are not currently having pupae shipped to us because we don’t have public to appreciate them. However, in the spirit of curiosity, this is a good opportunity to talk about where the tropical pupae come from. They are raised by specialized farmers around the world, all of whom are impacted in different ways by the COVID-19 pandemic. We have been staying in touch with them as much as possible and are rooting for each of them. These farmers from around the world have become friends and partners, and their work makes them vital stewards of the local ecosystems where they live and work. We can’t wait to reengage them.  

Does this also include the Naked Mole Rats? Yes, this also includes the Naked Mole Rats. They have relocated to The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens in Palm Desert, California. 

What about other Living Exhibits like the animals in the tidepool and insects? All our Living Exhibits such as the insects, critters in the tide pool, and reptiles have been rehomed. 

When are you planning to invite guest back to the physical campus? We expect PacSci’s onsite operations to remain very limited for the rest of 2020 and well into 2021. The actions required to comply with Governor Inslee’s Safe Start requirements in Phase 2 and Phase 3 make it very difficult for PacSci to deliver experiences that are rewarding for guests and economically sustainable. In particular, the “no touching” requirement makes it impossible to provide the hands-on interactive experiences guests expect from us. At this point we do not have a welcome back date, but we will continue to work hard to offer guests the opportunity to virtually experience PacSci through Virtual Field Trips, Curiosity at Home, and other content we offer online.

Will the Living Exhibits be the same after you reopen? We are using this time to plan for PacSci’s renewal. We will consider a wide range of options for Living Exhibits. 

Will you bring back all of the same animals? All of the animals we had onsite helped us tell stories that ranged from methods of reproduction to generalists and specialist and why those roles matter in a warming world. As we develop a plan for PacSci’s renewal, we’ll be thinking about the stories we want to tell and the living animals and plants that can help us tell them. So while it’s easy to say yes, there will be butterflies in the Tropical Butterfly House, we can’t say for sure we’ll bring back a specific animal until we get much further in our planning.