Get wildly close to leopards!
It's a truly thrilling experience. To create the strongest feeling of no separation between you and the leopards, seven-foot-high glass panels are set within a recess of a rock textured concrete pad – no curb or edge to break the illusion. The cats and you can stand nose to nose on the same even surface separated only by just over an inch of clear zoo-grade glass. Living trees, a recreated kopje rock feature, and other features provide natural elements for the leopards to interact with.
As the name suggests, the exhibit features rockwork. Leopards enjoy climbing and being up high in their environment so immediately in front of the glass viewing area, the cats relax on a large naturalistic rock outcropping known in Africa as a kopje (pronounced “COP-ee”). Also known as inselbergs, or island mountains, kopjes range in size from a few yards across to the enormous Stone Mountain in Georgia or Ayers Rock in Australia's Northern Territory.
In the wild, kopjes are veritable islands in a sea of grass complete with their own flora and fauna as well as serving as oases for traveling animals. Leopards and other cats use the high rock to survey the surrounding grasslands for prey and as well as using the rock crevices and plants to hide their cubs.
Sands to Snows
The leopard has the widest geographic range of any of the cat family. At this educational exhibit, you'll learn about how leopards adapt to almost any environment from snowy mountains to Africa’s Kalahari Desert to Indonesian rainforests. You'll also discover how leopards even establish territory in urban areas. The leopard’s diet is equally diverse – everything from beetles weighing less than an ounce to antelope weighing nearly half a ton. All leopard subspecies are listed as endangered or threatened under the United States Endangered Species Act.
This premiere exhibit was made possible by a gift from The Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national nonprofit conservation organization.