Creative Self-Guided Tour Options

While doing some research today, I came across the Wihelma Zoo and Botanic Garden and I’m fangirl-ing over their self-guided tour resources. Not only do they provide tour suggestions based on specific interests (plants, aquatic life, etc.), they also have tours based on visitors’ needs.

Is it raining? Here’s a tour to stay dry.

Do you need to avoid stairs because of a stroller or mobility issues? Here you go.

How about a relaxing tour after a long day? One that includes cute baby animals? Done.

The tours even have great internal suggestions, such as, “If it’s getting late, you can take a short cut here and go straight to No. 7 (the Ape House). If you have plenty of time and are in good condition, put up your umbrella and race up the hill to the Giraffe House.”

Since it’s very likely that over half your audience will want to explore on their own, what creative self-guided tour options could you provide that appeal not only to your visitors’ interests, but also to their physical, emotional, and temporal needs? This is a great place to incorporate visitor evaluation – the better you know your visitors and their goals, interests, and needs, the better experiences you can create.

Some of my ideal tours would include:

Lunch break tours – done in 30 minutes, with a different theme every week

Plants and animals with funny/weird names (common AND Latin, of course)

Story tours – the focus of each stop adds to the story being told

Scavenger hunt tours!

Or, we could always just do this. “That’s what you get for stealing from the museum.”

2 thoughts on “Creative Self-Guided Tour Options

  1. This is great! I typically avoid the self guided tours, because I find I get more out of a museum exhibit when left to my own devices. But a guide that takes into account how I’m approaching the exhibit? Or what sort of circumstances I’m stuck with weather or time wise? Brilliant! I’d be much more inclined to follow a guided tour with that approach rather than the usual, one-size-fits-all approach.


    • Me, too! I also think I’d be more inclined to come back for more visits, because I didn’t do a “must see ALL THE THINGS tour.” At least for me, museum fatigue can be a very real experience and I have the best experiences when they’re shorter. And if they can be shorter with structure and a purpose? Even better!


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