Ocean Zoo Basically just an aquarium

Design Brief

The Gold Coast is well known for being a city full of tourist attractions. Beaches, theme parks and water parks bring in thousands of those seeking life-changing experiences but we are lacking a zoo. Our task is to design and build a prototype zoo exhibit, whilst demonstrating an outstanding depth of knowledge of creative and critical thinking strategies. Our group is required to build an ocean themed exhibit, showcasing the weird, the wacky and the wonderful creatures of the deep. We will have access to 3D printers to aid us in our building as well as everyday materials that we can manipulate to build a proper prototype.

This guy gives our zoo the seal of approval!

My Definition:

What is a zoo?

A zoo is a housing for animals for either the benefits of them or us. They operate to achieve: conservation, education, entertainment and economic stability. Zoos have greatly changed over time, improving safety for both animals and humans, evolving their principles for operation and making new understandings to contribute to scientific understanding and public education. They are a main attraction in many parts of the world and greatly benefit the communities of which they are in. This is why the Gold Coast is in desperate need of a zoo. Also, our crystal clean beaches would provide perfect reasoning for an ocean themed zoo to be on the Gold Coast. Many people love swimming in them - it is only natural that they would want to know what lurks beneath their surface. Please watch the below video to learn more about zoos and their purpose.

What is a Zoo? - Video

The zoo's main porpoise


Brainstorming - Why is it Important

Brainstorming allows for you to get a broad idea of a topic so that you can narrow in on specific ideas later. By getting a broader picture, you are allowing for any great ideas that you would not have considered to be thought of.

She sells these at our zoo


Why it is important:

Questions help identify the ideas that need to be thought about so that the answers can be decided. Asking questions before jumping into any task will help to have a broader idea on a task so that you can choose to zoom in on the ideas that will work best for you. It also means that you consider everything and will be able to answer questions that others ask you about your creation. Without identifying the questions, you will never be able to know the answers. You will need to identify a range of questions. Bloom's Taxonomy and Socratic questioning help with this. Please view the below video on questioning and read the information on Bloom's Taxonomy and Socratic questioning as well as viewing our mind map of questions about zoos.

Questioning Video

Bloom's Taxonomy

Bloom's Taxonomy is a questioning strategy used to rank questions in order of cognitive demand. Similar to higher and lower order thinking skills, it is essential when creating a range of questions. The different categories include: knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation - in order from lowest to highest level of cognitive demand. Questions from all categories are needed for a successful collection of questions. Lower ordered questions are needed for facts, figures and concrete ideas of what will occur. Higher ordered questions are needed for improving, making decisions and judging the effectiveness of different things. Not enough questions from either category will not result in a deep enough depth of knowledge to successfully complete the task.

Socratic QuestioNing

Socratic questioning is another questioning strategy that helps with generating a range of questions. However, this strategy categorises questions in groups of what is required in the actual answer. They include questions whose answers require: clarification, reasons and evidence, alternative views, implications and consequences and information on the question or discussion. There must be questions developed from all categories so that there is a large range of questions. If any category were to not be considered, all of those answers would fail to be discovered or thought of. This would leave a part of the task unthought of and could lead to a road block later on.

Question Web

Webs of any kind can help with the brainstorming process or to organise brainstormed ideas into groups. This allows for elimination or compromise of similar ideas to help zone in on the important ideas.

Woah... I'm walking on water. I must be Jesus!

Case Study - Exceptional and Unacceptable exhibits

ExceptIonal Exhibit - 'DragOns of Komodo' ExhIbit

'Dragons of Komodo' exhibit

The 'Dragons of Komodo' zoo exhibit is a perfect example of an exceptional zoo exhibit. Being 30x10 metres big, it currently houses 2 juvenile Komodo dragons. This 'green-house styled' zoo includes multiple basking and retreat areas, along with a nesting area. It also contains a variety of visual barriers. In the case of the animals needing to be separated, the enclosure can be sectioned off into two habitats. The dirt floor contains a variety of substrates such as sand, wood mulch and soil. This encourages the animals' natural digging behaviour and is non-abrasive to their feet. A sliding roof system with UV transmitting panels means that the weather can be optimally controlled during any season. An opened roof allows for the dragons to receive natural sunlight and the desperately required D3 rays. Underground heating systems and heat lamps mean that the enclosure always operates at an optimal temperature. Also, keeping staff are required to spray tepid water around the enclosure to ensure that it stays at the correct humidity levels that the dragon needs.

Unacceptable Exhibit - A CoNcrete Prison

Hanako the Elephant in a 'Concrete Prison'

69 year old Hanako is an old Asian elephant isolated from all others of her species. Currently living in Inokashira Park zoo in Tokyo, she suffers through unacceptable conditions. As a youngster, she was transported from Thailand to Japan back in 1949. She ended up in a prison. Her enclosure is a small, concrete exhibit containing no comfort or activities for her to pass time. All she can do is stand there whilst people watch her. It is a horrible life for Japan's oldest living captive elephant. Not much more can be said about the enclosure because there is not any more to it. It is just a jail cell.

Venn diagram - Why is it important?

Venn diagrams are used to compare and contrast two seperate things. They allow for finding the similarities and differences between these two things so they can be analysed and evaluated.

Venn Diagram Example - Good vs Bad zoo

Venn diagram comparing an exceptional zoo to an unacceptable zoo.

SWot Analysis - WhY is it important?

SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. This allows for reflection on a project and refinement for future development of that project. It can be used to evaluate a particular design for future improvement. The Venn Diagram has been translated into a SWOT analysis for the understanding of what what's zoos good and how bad zoos can be made better.

Swot Analysis Example - Zoos

SWOT analysis of zoos based on a comparison of exceptional and unacceptable zoos

Criteria - Why is it important?

Criteria is important for assessing to successfulness of a given topic. It grades them from an A level (best) through to an E level (worst). It gives directive, content and qualitative terms so that the person being assessed knows how to achieve the best possible grade.

Criteria Example - Zoo design

Marking criteria for assessing the successfulness of zoos.
I'm a star!


Dash and Dots


Lego Mindstorms

I'm a cucumber - not the type you eat

Creativity is...

Ideation Log

The process of creating a zoo was aided in the use of various creative and critical thinking strategies. As shown above, we have used strategies such as SWOT analyses, criteria, Venn diagrams, Bloom's Taxonomy, Socartic questioning, question webs, researching and visualising/brainstorming. Other strategies we used include:

SCAMPER - This creative and critical thinking strategy stands for: substitute, combine, adapt, modify, put to another use, eliminate and reverse. It is used when needing to improve an idea or evolve it so that a unique idea can be thought of.

PMI - This stands for positive, minus and interesting. It is used for evaluation and allows to find something good with your design, something that needs to be improved on and something unique.

I hit the nail on the hammerhead


Our Zoo exhibiT

Our zoo exhibit is an aquarium filled with oceanic wildlife. Including a walkthrough tunnel, glow room, deep sea creatures area and various other animals, our aquarium is both educational and recreational. Our zoo enables people to understand aquatic creatures as they do not get to admire them on a daily basis like the land ones.


Our zoo is home to many sea creatures, including:

Firefly squids, Anglerfish, Goblin Sharks, Giant Isopods, Pacific Viperfish, Gulper Eels, Giant Spider Crabs, Hornsharks, Leopardsharks, Catsharks, Zebrasharks, Stringrays, Mantarays, Sharkrays, Clownfish, Blobfish, Swordfish, Ram Cichlids, Blue Tangs, Cluster Wink Snails, Atolla Jellyfish, Vampire Squids, Common Bottlenose Dolphins, Leatherback Sea Turtles, Starfish, Sea Cucumbers and Shark eggs.


All exhibits will represent the natural environment as they will contain plants found in sea areas. The deep sea exhibit will be placed underground to create the required water pressure the animals need. Animals will only be placed with compatible species and genders to ensure there is no fighting.

Engineering an exhIbit

In a real zoo, there are many engineering and architectural thoughts that go into the design. Since we are making an ocean themed zoo, we need to make sure we are using the correct hypothetical materials to make the enclosures. For instance, thin glass would not be suitable to use to make the tanks for large animals as they could shatter it if they swam into it.

The enclosures would be made out of a thick acrylic so that they did not break and they would be in an arced shape for added strength. The glow room would be dark so that the bioluminescents of the animals is exaggerated. The enclosures will pop out of the walls so that people can see the animals from many perspectives.


We will use 3D printing to create most of our model exhibit. This will include the animals. We will also use the available pieces of technology to make our exhibit. The littlebits, dash and dots and Lego Mindstorms will immensely help with the automated functionalities of our exhibit. Other reusable materials will be used for decoration to use in place of other needed materials.


The glow room is a main attraction at our zoo. It will provide entertaining natural lighting and educate the public about bioluminescents. Our tunnel and deep sea exhibits will also provide a unique entertainment for the public. Signs placed at each enclosure with information on the species on them will educate the public on the science behind the behavioural and physical characteristics of the animals.

Other design ConsIderation or reAsoning

We have also placed various other buildings required such as toilets, restaurants and gift shops. This will also contribute to the satisfaction of the customers. The restaurant and gift shops will enable the zoo to make a larger profit. Toilets have been spread out over the ground-level to ensure that everyone has access to them. The dolphin exhibit has a tunnel that leads to a back of house pool for the dolphins to swim in when the shows are not on. The seats at the dolphin enclosure are placed all the way around the pool so people can see it from every angle. The tunnel is underneath the seats to the left.

Drawn map

Ground sketch
Underground sketch
This is living shell

Dreamworld Exhibit Assessmemt

Below is a worksheet filled out on the excursion to Dreamworld. This experience helped us to refine our choices in our proposal by giving us a chance to communicate with animal experts and understand the required thoughts that go into making an exhibit.


Peli-can make our zoo

Construction Phase

Deep Sea Creature Exhibit
Tunnel Exhibit
Glow Room Exhibit
Black-light for the Glow Room
Glow Room with Black-light
Glow Room with Black-light
Food stall
3D printed animals
Sanding the 3D printed animals
Painted 3D printed dolphin
Painted 3D printed crab and swordfish
Painted turtle shell
Completed glow room exhibit
Left hand side deep-sea exhibit
Right hand side deep-sea exhibit
Tunnel exhibit
Interactive exhibit
Completed aquarium
This seems a bit fishy


For this semester, our group had to design and construct a zoo exhibit. We decided on making an ocean exhibit full of the animals found living in water. Our exhibit included a tunnel, an interactive enclosure, a deep-sea enclosure and a glow-room. This task is important to the community and I as the Gold Coast is yet to have a fully functioning zoo and this gives us the opportunity to design one. The challenge impacts everyone in the Gold Coast area as the zoo would greatly benefit the city and attract more tourists.

What is the design of the zoo? What animals will be in our zoo? How can we make our zoo unique? These were the most important questions that guided our zoo design. Firstly, it was important to know where the required facilities and enclosures would go, providing room for people to walk. Our design enabled room for every exhibit to fit with ample room for comfortability of the zoo's patrons. It was also important to choose the correct animals that would suit a zoo environment and target a wide audience. Our group also focussed on this, replacing the giant isopod with the six-gill shark as the isopod would have been too scary for children/infants. However, we also made mistakes concerning this question as we have discovered in our research that goblin sharks have not survived a lengthy amount of time in a zoo environment. We also made sure that our zoo was unique by including the tunnel, glow-room (with black-light) and deep-sea exhibit. These are enclosures not typically found in an average zoo/aquarium, so we made sure to include these to have our zoo stand out. The lego and coloured cardboard were the most valuable materials for us as we used them frequently in our zoo. However, the lego bricks did not hold their adhesion so we had to constantly rebuild broken walls.

Our group had to make a few changes to the original proposal for our design to work. In the proposal, we had decided to make an upstairs level and a downstairs level but due to the given time constraints, this would have been a task too hard to accomplish. As a result, we decided to eliminate the top level, placing most of the animals inside of the tunnel. We moved to food stall to beside the tunnel and the interactive exhibit to the other side of the tunnel. This change also meant hat we would be unable to have a dolphin show as they would be in the tunnel with the other animals. As stated previously, another change we made was replacing the giant isopod with the six-gill shark to cater for easily intimidated children. These changes have greatly benefitted the zoo and its ability to be completed on time. Our zoo design will make a difference as it is very unique and contributes to the overall zoo the class is working towards.

To make the exhibit, our group first made the individual enclosures out of the Lego, Balsa wood and Cardboard. As stated earlier, the Lego bricks proved to be a large problem as many of the peices did not hold together. To solve this problem in the future, I would recommend making the enclosures on the base plate as this foundation will stop gravity from pulling the enclosures apart. During the making of the glow-room, we created the black-light using the littlebits kits and hid the wiring between the glow-room and tunnel walls. We then placed these into their positions on the wooden base plate and added the toilets, gift shop, tunnel entrance and food court. Afterwards, we painted the 3D printed animals and crafted others out of clay. As a finishing touch, we added scrunched blue-coloured cellophane to all of the exhibits to symbolise the water. Our zoo was effective as we were able to complete it within the given time frame to a high standard. This zoo is well thought-out design-wise but there are still numerous problems that would be changed had we done this task again.

As a team, we faced many problems. Firstly, there was a conflict of ideas when deciding which enclosures should go into our zoo. There was also sometimes a lack of communication as ideas made were comprehended differently by the different members of the group. However, all of these problems were to be expected and were managed effectively. We all worked together to achieve a mutually beneficial outcome. As I played a major role in the designing of the zoo, I mainly helped with creating the enclosures. Ben, having experience in Industrial Design and Technology, worked on sanding and painting the animals. Hiro helped out everywhere as he is a very adaptable and flexible member of our team. From this experience, I have learnt that collaboration is one of the hardest things to do effectively but the rewards are great if it can be done well.

This challenge could have been solved differently had we decided upon a different theme for our exhibit. Also, as the ocean is such a wide a varied area, our group could have picked completely different sub-themes with other animals. If I were to complete this challenge again, I would make many changes. The enclosures were created to a scale (2x the dimensions on the drawn plan) and the animals were created to a different scale (a criteria made in class with the collaboration of all the pupils). As these did not correspond, the 3D printed animals were much larger than expected. Therefore, next time our group would make sure to use the one scale throughout the entirety of the zoo. We will also ensure that all animals can live in captivity as it is important to be mindful of the safety of the animals. Next time, our group would plan better to ensure that we created a zoo that could be created within the time constraints, although, I do believe our group made the right decision in combining the top and bottom levels. Creating the Lego enclosures on the base plate could also save valuable time. From this experience, I will never forget the importance of planning efficiently and effectively but also keeping an open-mind in the case that these plans need altering.

As a result of this process, I have been exposed to a variety of graphic tools and different methods of thinking. Our zoo meets all but one of the criteria created last term. For improvement on this, we would need to implement more stimulants for the satisfaction of the animals. This process of design, construction and evaluation can be implemented to any major projects and have the potential to be very useful to them. The skills of brainstorming, questioning, evaluating, designing , refining, etc. can be applied to all other subjects and will allow for them to be completed in much more depth.

Overall, I am very proud of the process our group has gone through and the zoo exhibit we have created. There are various negatives and rooms for improvement but I consider our group successful in creating a zoo exhibit that meets most of the criteria.

I said reflect - not rotate

LeaTherback Sea Turtle Justification

Just-if-i-cation is not code for a positive ion
Created By
Zack Maradeen


Created with images by suyashdixit - "singapore aquarium jellyfish" • ToNic-Pics - "crawl seal north sea" • mikakaptur - "dolphin nature marine" • hpgruesen - "rotfeder karpfenfisch large aquarium" • Nerivill - "sea urchins ocean" • Schoggimousse - "underwater fish atlantis" • suyashdixit - "singapore aquarium jellyfish" • klawson - "jellyfish blue underwater" • osricdg - "longhorn cowfish fish yellow" • PublicDomainPictures - "shark fish hammerhead shark" • 2497381 - "fish aquarium water" • Sponchia - "fish aquarium speed" • glucosala - "fish water aquarium" • Pexels - "anemone aquarium art" • anthony4370 - "waterpark pool water" • mrkt - "waterslide waterpark aquapark" • cafrancomarques - "waterslide fun water" • bob in swamp - "Nerita versicolor (Four-tooth Nerite)" • rist2796 - "Running away" • UBodnar - "starfish sand beach" • Ed Bierman - "Edible Sea Cucumber (Holothuria edulis)" • Erik Charlton - "Hammerhead" • laszlo-photo - "Shell Games" • Mostly Dans - "pelican" • jamie_nakamura - "carp japan fish aquarium fish pond colored" • markusspiske - "code programming programming language web source code"

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