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Assessing the Impacts of Engaging with a Touch Table on Safari Park Visitors

Knowsley Safari, Prescot L34 4AN, Merseyside, UK
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Academic Editor: Michel Saint-Jalme
J. Zool. Bot. Gard. 2021, 2(3), 370-381; https://doi.org/10.3390/jzbg2030026
Received: 17 May 2021 / Revised: 8 July 2021 / Accepted: 13 July 2021 / Published: 14 July 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Zoos as a Tool for Re-Connecting People with Nature)
Modern zoos are increasingly viewed as educational facilities, with informal education programmes attempting to engage with visitors through a wide variety of methods. A ‘touch table’ consists of two collapsible tables which display a variety of artefacts to the public. This study investigated visitor engagement with touch tables alongside types of conversations being initiated by visitors. Covert observations recorded the type of groups visiting, their dwell time, perceived engagement level and the types of interactions and conversations they were initiating at the touch table. Dwell time was affected by the season, member of staff present, type of group visiting the touch table and engagement level of the group. Engagement level was also affected by group type. Longer average dwell time and higher engagement levels were displayed at a long-established touch table location, whereas more visitors engaged at the touch table when it was at a new location with predicted high footfall. Here, 68.3% of visitors initiated ‘surface level’ conversation, 27.2% initiated ‘deeper level’ conversation and 89.6% initiated ‘other’ conversation. This study resulted in touch table offerings being adapted to further increase their effectiveness as an informal education tool and to suggests ways in which touch tables can continue in a post COVID-19 world. View Full-Text
Keywords: engagement; zoo; education; social; informal; artefacts engagement; zoo; education; social; informal; artefacts
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MDPI and ACS Style

Davies, N.; Sowerby, E.; Johnson, B. Assessing the Impacts of Engaging with a Touch Table on Safari Park Visitors. J. Zool. Bot. Gard. 2021, 2, 370-381. https://doi.org/10.3390/jzbg2030026

AMA Style

Davies N, Sowerby E, Johnson B. Assessing the Impacts of Engaging with a Touch Table on Safari Park Visitors. Journal of Zoological and Botanical Gardens. 2021; 2(3):370-381. https://doi.org/10.3390/jzbg2030026

Chicago/Turabian Style

Davies, Naomi, Ellie Sowerby, and Bridget Johnson. 2021. "Assessing the Impacts of Engaging with a Touch Table on Safari Park Visitors" Journal of Zoological and Botanical Gardens 2, no. 3: 370-381. https://doi.org/10.3390/jzbg2030026

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