The GaiaZoo (formerly known as Gaia Park) is the first zoo with one central theme: the Gaia concept, which considers the earth as an unique living planet. GaiaZoo visitors not only experience continental travelling (as usual), but also time-travelling. Three thematic areas are constructed to provide the public knowledge on the Carboniferous period (‘When Limburg was tropical’), the Cretaceous period (‘When Limburg had a seaside’) and the Ice age (‘When polar winds blew across Limburg’).
The zoo architecture is meant to support the idea of creating natural environments. Therefore, cages and enclosure fences are designed to be non-existent or invisible, or at least not attract attention. So, the environmental habitat is as natural as possible. But the ethologist Temple Grandin argues that what looks like a true-to-nature imitation, is still deficient of essential ingredients. In zoos the enclosures are always lacking predators, of course, and there is lack of competition. There is no evolutionary stress in zoos whatsoever. Which raises questions regarding intentions of zoos to ex situ conservation programmes and trying to re-introduce zoo-bred animals in real nature.