How Do You Pick Your Animals?

Basically the end goal I have for Planet Zoo is to have an all encompassing zoo. Like, that's it, that's the zoo, the one. I want to build a zoo with all of my favorite animals. Please let me know I'm not the only one who thinks this!

Anyway, I can't really have all 122 species, even though I attempted it multiple times and quit because it was a little too overwhelming. So I'm struggling to figure out how many animals is the first thing. Do I think 30? 40? 50? Basically, I'm following the phrase that I live by till I die, "less is more". I want to have a higher quality of a zoo, rather than a zoo that sticks all the animals in and forgets about them.

I'm just wondering if anyone has any input on this. Basically, I'm just trying to get a zoo of the ground and running. I've sorta tried to start without an entrance, but that seems weird, but idk.

I know this is kinda random and all over the place, but any suggestions or input is appreciated!
 
I’m trying to do something similar, make a base zoo - or two - and stick with it, developing as time goes by and new things are added. It’s hard because I get frustrated with my progress, delete things (once accidentally deleted the zoo with the most progress) or change my mind about the direction of the build.

Anyway, in terms of what animals to include, it’s all about the type of zoo (a large city zoo, a small privately owned collection, a native species park and so on) and the location. Once those things are decided I know what species will or won’t be appropriate and decide accordingly.

So a Japanese city zoo will be able to have almost anything. A small privately owned zoo in the Danish countryside might have lynx and llamas but polar bears and proboscis monkeys will be out of the question.

Looking at maps and photos of real life zoos can help figure out what’s appropriate for what zoo.
 
I'm building my current zoo on a story. Imagine an old horrible city type zoo that gets taken over and turned into more of a wildlife park but has to keep the small, cramped boxy habitats for reasons of practicality (at the front of the zoo, no space to make them any bigger, maybe don't have the funds to anyway etc). I'm currently using those for animals that don't need much space, which solves the matter of what to put there. I'm thinking about building some pit habitats which you don't see any modern zoos but I reckon could be used for confident species in conjunction with hidden "do not disturb" signs. Then I'll move onto more natural habitats, the idea being that the glamorous, must-see species (i.e. apex predators) from the old zoo will be given decent, generously spaced habitats for the first time in their lives (may or may not buy the lowest rated animals for a touch of realism!), and after that I'll think about herbivores.

TL;DR I find it much easier going in with not necessarily a plan but a story to keep in mind as I build, and that informs the animals I pick.
 
Anyway, in terms of what animals to include, it’s all about the type of zoo (a large city zoo, a small privately owned collection, a native species park and so on) and the location. Once those things are decided I know what species will or won’t be appropriate and decide accordingly.
Well yeah, this is a struggle for me. If you asked me what my favorite biome is, I would have to say Taiga. However, a couple of problems arise with that. Number one is the climate issue, which isn’t really an issue if you build a tropical house. But the main issue is terrain, I hate, and I mean hate building on terrain or working with the terrain to build paths, habitats, buildings, etc. I have no patience for it. So I feel like building a zoo in the Taiga would be kinda counterintuitive since it would be flat. The second option is a city zoo, or just a classical zoo, which I feel is a good option because the possibilities are limited and the amount/type of animals are kinda constricted to different houses or older exhibits. But the one I always go for is the kinda basic, temperate zoo set in North America. This is good because it’s flat, but the possibilities are a little overwhelming, if you know what I mean.

As far as animals go, I know I can play with a decent FPS with 200 animals or less, or maybe even more that that. But, I don’t want to just build for animals that I don’t like because that seems pointless but the animal seems like it fits, and yeah, there goes the problem. Also, the organization of the animals is another thing. I like to have animals in sections, geographical mostly. So, I really like the Fallow Deer and the Lynx, but where do I put them? I think the best thing to do I just make a tier list of animals, and then use the ones from the top two tiers, or whatever amount you want. Basically, you have to make a top 40 or 50 animals. But then, the upcoming DLCs kinda throws a wrench in everything because then you might really like all the animals and want to add all of them, but then you’re defeating the purpose of only your favorite animals.

I know this is like nonsense, but the fact of the matter is that I have zero zoos right now. I’ve built many, only have completed a handful, but delete them because I prefer the idea of only having one zoo, as I mentioned in the first post, not little ones. And I think my biggest problem with building a zoo is building the entrance area, and then branching out of that, transitioning from that to the animal exhibits. I found that the new world style entrance (Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, WA USA) is the only way to go. It’s uniform, it’s clean, it’s modern. But then, you have to get out of that and build a “regular zoo”. Anyway, this probably makes zero sense, but whatever. Hopefully I can compile some ideas and start fresh on Monday!
 
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It is also my intention to build just one zoo of my dreams and stick with that. Eventually i decided to build a South-african zoo (i visited the country in 2005). So it seems logical to focus mainly on African animals and i avoid cold Loving animals (also not my favorite animals). With the exception of the Polar bear. But since i organize my zoo in regions (Congo, Madagascar, ...), many of my animal choices are based upon whether they fit into a certain region, what region needs more animals,... I try to keep different types of animals and avoid keeping animals that are similar. In my zoo i hope to have 70-80 different species if the game allows it.
 
I generally at least try to keep zoos themed, so whatever works within the themes I picked (e.g. I'm putting nyala in my Kruger-themed area but would use bongos for a more Congo/rainforest-themed African section). My current project is a taiga zoo set in the northern United States (waffling whether I want it to be Maine or Washington state) with a focus on North America, the Arctic, and to a lesser extent Eurasia, so that sharply limits the number of warm-weather animals I intend on using, at least in outdoor sections.
 
I generally at least try to keep zoos themed, so whatever works within the themes I picked (e.g. I'm putting nyala in my Kruger-themed area but would use bongos for a more Congo/rainforest-themed African section). My current project is a taiga zoo set in the northern United States (waffling whether I want it to be Maine or Washington state) with a focus on North America, the Arctic, and to a lesser extent Eurasia, so that sharply limits the number of warm-weather animals I intend on using, at least in outdoor sections.
Yeah that’s been an idea I’ve really liked too, building a North America Wildlife Park. For me, it would have to just include animals from the United States and Canada. Now, a couple of questions arise with this one. First, should the Fallow Deer be included, because they do live in the U.S., but that’s not what the game says, and they’re not endemic, so idk. Another is the Jaguar, which I’m leaning towards not including because they have such small populations in the U.S. and their environment really wouldn’t fit in. I’m thinking if we get maybe at least two animals in a tropical pack that live in the United States (Peccaries, Ocelots, Coatis) then I may include them. So it comes out to about 20-25 species (including the 5 exhibit species). So, you can have a wolf pack with 10 wolves, or a bison herd with 15 bison, etc. which I really really like the idea of. Also, can you imagine a little group of 20 prairie dogs running around! Btw, my inspiration for this zoo is loosely based on ZooAmerica in Hershey, PA, USA. I’ve been to this zoo several times, and they have animals from the U.S. and Canada. So, as of this minute, 9:06 am on Sunday, January 16th, I’m leaning towards a North America Wildlife Park. The areas are as follows…

  • Entrance Area (haven't gotten a name for it just yet)
  • Wetlands Trail
  • The Great Southwest
  • Pinniped Point
  • Wolf Woods
  • Canadian Domain
  • Big Sky Country
  • The Arctic Frontier

Also, I’m thinking about using the Jameson Wildlife Park map (empty) for my zoo, but that might be a little too overwhelming with the terrain.
 
Your areas and selections look great. Im quite jealous - you’ve got more sections in your zoo than I’d have species if I did the same for Australia :(
 
Today I’m feeling a small park zoo vibe. Not super classical or anything, but just a small hometown zoo with my favorite animals. I’m thinking 50 species to start. Tomorrow I’ll have a different idea, and this has been happening since November 5, 2019.
 
I tend to pick like fifteen species I think would be in a realistic zoo based anywhere in the world, and develop the rest from that. So for example, lions, tigers, rhinos, capuchins, peafowl, giraffes, zebras, some kind of antelope, ostriches, one of the great apes, and of course exhibit animals.

So straight away the obvious thing to do is to build an African section (which I always do anyway, because every zoo has an African section).
 
I always start new zoos themed around the newest DLC pack, drop them, and forget them until next DLC pack. Hoping that my new PC which can handle more animals will improve things... In general I find that the DLC animals are so vastly more appealing to me that I use them far more, especially given several personal factors:
  • My local zoo, the National Zoo, has a few ABC animals (Lion, Tiger, Asian Elephant, Gorilla, Orangutan) but is generally limited in that regard, and has an abnormally small African selection with no dedicated African area. This means I'm biased towards small mammals, which are mostly limited to the DLC packs
  • I love South Africa, especially meerkats and African penguins, which the Africa Pack handles wonderfully
  • The other zoo I've visited regularly, the New Orleans Zoo, has a robust African section, but many of its species are birds
  • I simply don't much care for the number of antelopes, which seem to me to all be pretty similar. Of the seven antelopes (not counting the pronghorn) that we have, I only find myself drawn to the Gemsbok, Springbok, and Wildebeest, mostly because they're South African
  • The DLC animals generally feel more well-thought out and very unique (not all of them, though... looking at you, Malayan Tapir)
  • All in all, of the big-ticket animals I've seen in zoos, a solid amount of them are probably from the DLCs (Sun Bear, Babirusa, Clouded Leopard, White Rhinoceros, Beaver, Sea Lion, Grey Seal, etc)
All this is to say that I'm biased towards DLC animals, lol.
 
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