Educational tours in The Bitola Zoo aim to introduce visitors to the zoo population and other aspects of the natural world. Children`s tours deliver the information in an entertaining and animated fashion, so children can more directly relate to and understand the concepts of biodiversity and specific animal facts. The aim of all tours is to fulfill the mission of the Zoo, to contribute to the protection and promotion of domestic and international biodiversity and to advance environmental protection in Bitola and the Pelagonia region.
Tour structure consists of three parts:
Each educational tour begins with an introduction by ZOO volunteer introduces visitors to the content of the educational tour and the rules of behavior in the zoo. The guide describes the safety rules to be followed not only during the tour but during any visit to the Bitola Zoo. The volunteer guides introduce themselves and engage the group by asking them questions about their favorite animals, why they came to the zoo, what other zoos they have visited, the extent of their knowledge about wildlife, and fields such questions as may arise prior to the commencement of walking tour.
The Walking Tour
A tour will generally last about 40 minutes. It begins with movement along a particular line through zoo, depending on the content of the particular tour. During the tour, the guide welcomes the opportunity to engage in conversational debate and will answer such questions according to their knowledge and experience. The pace and dynamics of the tour depends on the needs and desires of the specific group.
The group is encouraged to share their impressions, reflections, and feedback from their experience in the zoo. At the conclusion of the tour, visitors will receive educational and promotional materials associated with biodiversity and the work of the zoo.
Tour 1: Trail of colors
The tour includes the full complement of all animals at the zoo. Visitors will see the lions, tiger, bears, owls, ungulates, birds and domestic animals. The bird residents of the zoo are given careful attention during the tour. By comparison of all the aspects of bird physiognomy, behavior and geographic distribution, information about all aspects of the collection is given to visitors. In a similar manner, other species are presented with information on their habitat, relation to human beings, and endangered status. Volunteers introduce visitors to lifestyle, breeding, feeding, and survival in the wild of each animal.
Tour 2: Trail of feathers
This tour focuses on birds in the zoo. Visitors gain knowledge about the ecosystems of wild birds, their characteristics, categorization, differing abilities and adaptations on land, and in water and the air. During the tour, visitors are given details on the phenomenon of flight, are introduced to the physiological differences between birds that fly, earthbound birds and swimming birds. The behavior of the captive birds is observed in comparison to wild behavior and instincts. The tour moves from the collection of raptors to domestic fowl and pigeons. The guide will point out the importance of domestic birds to man and his life. The guide will present the guinea fowl, which range freely throughout the zoo, as do the peacock and rabbit population. This leads to a discussion of the role of color in the social life and mating habits of birds, as the peacock often puts forth a full display during the tours. . The walk concludes with the owls and parrots. During the tour, the group would be encouraged to listen to birds communicating in the zoo and in the wild. At the end of the tour, there is a discussion of the form and structure of different types of feathers in which different species are adapted to function and the vital role they play in all aspects of bird life - cooling, flying or swimming.
Tour 3: Trail of Savannah
The tour covers animals originating and living in the savannah; their characteristics, classification and division as well as various adaptations for survival in the wild. The collection at the zoo is used to point out the distinguishing contrasts among these animals. The tour begins with the lions, always popular to visitors. They are presented in depth, with aspects of their wild habitat and aspects of the lives of captive lions in zoos. The solitary nature of tigers is noted as well as other aspects of this fascinating wild cat. The Savannah trail moves to the ostriches, with a full description of this largest land bird on the planet earth. The tour concludes with the savannah-based antelope.
Tour 4: Trail of forest animals
The animals of the forest provide a good opportunity for visitors to become familiar with the animal life of the Pelister region. These animals include wolf, fox, bear, raccoon and deer. The tour aims to acquaint visitors with their characteristics, classification, division and various adaptations in the wild every day. There are many points that the guide can discuss with the visitors, as the group will likely have is tour is particularly important for local visitors, as it offers them a chance to become fully acquainted with the native species in a very personal way. The proximity of the animals to the visitors is not an experience that they would otherwise experience, despite the fact that all these animals live in a close range of the zoo, but in natural conditions. The tour engenders much participation among the groups because of the familiarity of these animals. This tour therefore also stresses the importance of recognizing and protecting local biodiversity and the heritage of Pelister.
Tour 5: Trail of the Jungle
The Zoo in Bitola has three animal species from the jungle habitat: monkeys, parrots and snakes. The tour starts with the largest parrot in the Bitola collection, also the oldest creature in the zoo population. The guide will introduce this remarkable bird, giving facts about the parrot`s long life in the zoo, as well as other general information about this fascinating species. The tour moves to the monkey area, where there are three types represented; Baboons, Macaques and Pavian monkeys. Always a zoo favorite, the visitors can observe and engage with their antics while the guide speaks about their distinguishing behavior and characteristics. Next on the tour are the Python enclosures. From this area the tour concludes with a detailed description of snakes and reptiles.