Kingdoms of the Night

Eugene T. Mahoney

Kingdoms of the Night®

Eugene T. Mahoney Kingdoms of the Night is the world's largest nocturnal exhibit. It is located beneath the Desert Dome. Kingdoms of the Night unearths the mysteries and animals of the darkness. The day-night cycles are reversed, so guests can experience creatures in their natural nocturnal activity patterns. Most nocturnal animals have adaptations like larger eyes that help them live in their dark environments. The structure was built as part of the Desert Dome construction. Exhibit work took approximately one year to create after the opening of the Desert Dome. Kingdoms of the Night spans 3/4 an acre and has more than 42,000 square feet.

Kingdoms of the Night is divided into several exhibits, each representing a different environment. Guests first venture through a canyon area where they can find naked mole rats and fossa. This leads to an African diorama where children of all ages can stand inside a Baobab tree to see the transition from dusk to evening. The African diorama is one of the many multi-species exhibits in Kingdoms of the Night which shows how animals such as aardvarks, springhaas and greater bush babies interact.

As guests venture through a wet cave, they will see stalagmites and stalactites dripping into a "seemingly bottomless" pit. The pit is actually 16 feet deep and home to blind cave fish. There are 2,400 stalactites in the wet cave. Hundreds of short-tailed fruit bats can be seen flying around a large bat cave.

Traveling through the Eucalyptus Forest, guests get a sense of Australian night life as they wander past Tamar wallabies and a short-beaked echidna and stroll alongside an Australian stream, full of freshwater crocodiles, turtles and fish. The eucalyptus trees are preserved to keep their aroma fresh. The dry bat cave exhibit is illuminated by a 70-foot high shaft of light and is home to many different species of bats including those who eat fruit, meat and blood. This dry cave is the hollowed out inside of central mountain in the Desert Dome.

The world's largest indoor swamp is located under the Namibian sand dune of the Desert Dome. Experience the 160,000 gallon, 1/4 acre mysterious swamp with a boardwalk. It features a Trapper's Cabin, a beaver lodge, cypress trees and 38 swamp animal species in barrier-free habitats. The swamp is home to nine adult American alligators including a white, leucistic (reduction of all skin pigments) alligator on loan from the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans. Five beautiful murals decorate the Kingdoms of the Night. Educational kiosks and displays are lighted throughout the journey.