Build Your Wild Self Hooks Kids and Parents into NYC’s Zoos and Acquarium

Build Your Wild Self Hooks Kids and Parents into NYC's Zoos and AcquariumNY’s Wildlife Conservation Society — which runs the Bronx Zoo, NYC Aquarium and other zoos in the city, as well as research on animals and land conservation — just launched its can’t-get-enough-of-it Build Your Wild Self Web site. Pay close attention: It’s a powerful model of entertainment as marketing, nonprofit wise.

Take a look at a down moment or, if you’re a parent, jump on with your kids one afternoon. It’s loads of fun. Even better, it’s loads of fun while educating kids on animal facts and introducing them and their parents to the zoos and aquarium. And believe me, a happy child makes a happy parent. So the site becomes a high-power marketing tool, and one that’s likely to be visited time and time again. Perfect for bringing new visitors to the zoos and Aquarium, and for member retention.

Build Your Wild Self engages the little beasts in a fun and educational activity while generating excitement about visiting the zoos and Aquarium.  Kids create a human representation of themselves, then “GO WiLD” replacing their human parts with over 80 different animal parts. The possibilities are only limited by your child’s imagination. Once kids have completed their wild selves, they get educational facts about the animals they chose parts of and can save their creation as their desktop, print it out, or send it to their friends. (You can meet me as the Gaz-ele-zeb-con-fly-monitor at top left.) A prominent button brings users to the Bronx Zoo, NY Aquarium, and city zoos’ sites in a click, for information about visiting.

Since its launch just two weeks ago, the site has picked up hits from 98 countries. And of course, the WCS is doing every it can to spread the word about the site, including putting the word out to networks of moms and asking them to spread the word.

Smart site, smart marketing. Thanks WCS, from one grateful mom who’s much happier to have her daughter learn animal facts while making Charlotte creatures than mesmerized by the all-Dora-all-the-time phenomenon.

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Nancy Schwartz on November 6, 2007 in High-Impact Websites, Nonprofit Communications, Unique Approaches | 4 comments

  • russburke

    Hi Nancy:
    What a great story. That’s one of the best examples of mission advancement I’ve seen in a long time. It provides education, a fond experiential bonding and expands general awareness of mission.
    I cited your comments and post on Sustainable Nonprofit’s marketing the Message Forum at It needs to be heard!
    Thanks for sharing some of the “best in class”.

  • From my experience for the last seven years or so in running a non-profit site, I agree with you that “interactive” is the way to go! Our quiz programs online have been a great hit with older children and adults.

  • Stacey Malstrom

    I really appreciate what New York’s Wildlife Conservation Society is trying to do. I agree, make Web sites and marketing functional. With the social media arena constantly growing, your information has to be interactive. The best way to grab your intended audience’s attention is to do something for them. Here, the WCS has provided parents an outlet for kid-energy and taken strides towards their mission to educate. Great work and great post!

  • John Maher

    We (teachers) at Virginia Beach are trying to get to buildyourwildself but it appears the web site is down. :(

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