‘Islands’ Becomes a Multichannel Attraction
New digital technologies form part of £40m Islands at Chester Zoovisitor attraction
Islands at Chester Zoo, the biggest and most ambitious zoo project in UK history, has become more than a physical experience for intrepid explorers to discover new and exciting exhibits in six tropical environments of South East Asia, recreated in the heart of the UK, it’s a digital one too.
Chester Zoo has introduced digital technologies that make the experience of seeing rare, endangered animals in the flesh, such as Visayan warty pig, Sumatran tiger and rhinoceros hornbill,much more exciting.
Chester Zoo’s Islands scheme has introduced iBeacon technology and has a mobile companion app to support the visitor experience – before, during and after a visit.
Designed and built by Code Computerlove, one of the largest digital agencies in the North West, the new app and digital activities that form part of a visit to Islands are available through the attraction’s responsive website www.chesterzoo.org/islands
The new Chester Zoo Islands app offers visitors a host of innovative interactive features, transforming mobile devices into personal hand-held expedition guides.
Visitors can prepare for their adventure by applying for a travel visa, giving their expedition a name and packing their virtual rucksack before their arrival at the zoo. They can also use it to book tickets in advance and view the latest zoo news and photographs.
When they arrive at the attraction the app’s interactive GPS map will take them on their individual Islands journey.
Nine new Bluetooth beacons guide the app to help visitors become real-life conservationists along the route with relevant content relating to the animals and plants of Islands based on a visitor’s location, unlocking special features as they explore different areas.
Mini games that help tell the story of each island give visitors the opportunity to learn conservation skills and tackle new challenges, collecting badges as they go to ultimately become an `Expert Explorer.’
It also features a day planner, talk time reminders and information/fun facts on all of the key species throughout the zoo.
Free to download, the app is available now on iOS and Android platforms. www.chesterzoo.org/app
Chester Zoo’s online marketing manager, Simon Hacking said: “The majority of visits to our website are from mobile devices so we know that there’s a big audience for our app. Our previous app, which launched in March 2014 achieved well over 100,000 downloads in its first 12 months and received a number of industry awards; we expect our new Islands version to be even more popular.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to enhance the visitor experience by engaging with visitors before, during and after their visit. The app will really get people thinking about what’s around them and will help them immerse in the zoo experience like never before.”
Chester Zoo has previously won awards for its impressive use of mobile technology including: Winner of ‘Best Use of Mobile’ and ‘Grand Prix’ award at The Big Chip Awards 2014; Winner in the Dadi Awards and pan-European Lovie Awards, and named FWA ‘Mobile of the Day’; Winner in the Travel and Leisure category at The Digitals.