Como Zoo

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One of the gifts that comes with the zoo side of my job is making the acquaintance of all sorts of exotic animals. Much of what I’ve learned from being on more intimate terms with these animals has surprised me. A good example would be how I learned to speak to tigers. Continue reading

Primate Behavior

Brookfield Zoo’s Tropic World exhibit is housed in a huge building, sort of like a zeppelin hanger, built in 1982-84. It was then the largest indoor zoo exhibit in the world. Unfortunately the French architect failed to include skylights; hence, no plants would grow inside, and hence its nickname among the staff, “Tragic World.” Continue reading


I was introduced to Samantha in 1991 when the Erie Zoo hired me to do scenic murals in the assorted animal exhibits of the main building, which included Samantha’s day room. The faux-rock guys had preceded me and turned two walls into natural-looking rock formations with artificial plants. Continue reading


The Milwaukee County Zoo was my first, and remains one of my most loyal, zoo clients. In 1992, they asked me to paint murals in their Australia building. The hallway called for a “sunset over the Outback” mural about 9 feet tall by 124 feet long. Windows looking into the animal exhibits were located in the opposite wall. Beyond that stretched 124 feet of exhibit wall on which they wanted a mural that transitioned from arid Outback at one end to deep rainforest at the other. Continue reading