My former employer had the office Holiday party at the Buffalo Zoo last week. As part of the evening's events we were given a tour of the newly constructed rain forest exhibit. It was strange because the exhibit is normally lit by natural light, and at night there was only minimal illumination. We ended up peering into dark enclosures hoping to spot something. I was told that the lights that are there are to help the Scarlet Ibises, which fly free in the building, to avoid getting eaten by the small caimens. I took the above iPhone photo of a Basiliscus lizard, it captures the weird (and wonderful) fakeness of zoo environments.
Speaking of fake environments, I created one of my own a few days ago. We have a window box over our kitchen sink that during the warmer seasons we fill with plants. Unfortunately, in the winter it becomes a plant killing point of major heat loss. In the past we have done a half assed job of tacking plastic over it, which creates an ugly and depressing scene to look at while doing dishes. This time around I decided to do it right with the plastic that you tape up and then blow dry to tighten. I had the idea that I could replace the plants with a diorama of branches and $2. craft store birds. I also threw in a real bird's nest, rocks, bones and rubber animals. I'm pretty happy with the effect, it's considerably better than nothing.