Following is part of a report Tash wrote after carrying out research comparing two Melbourne attractions.
The full report was submitted to both attractions and added to a major research report carried out at the Melbourne Zoological Gardens and published internationally.
Is there a difference in the spatial distribution of residences of visitors to the Melbourne Zoological Gardens and the Royal Botanical Gardens on Sundays? If so, what factors account for these differences?
Data descriptions and findings
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At the Zoo, 39% of the responses indicated that children’s entertainment was the main reason for visiting this facility, whilst at the Botanicals, 50% of the answers gave a day’s outing and recreation as the main reason. Thus, the second hypothesis was supported. ... The table (figure 8) listing 'other’ as a reason shows a great variety which indicates the individuality of visitors to these facilities.
Neither facility attracted large numbers of people for artistic interests; in fact, the Zoo attracted none. Education and tourism attracted few of the questioned people to either facility, but they are still important actors affecting the hinterlands of each...
The maps showing the residences of visitors to the facilities indicate that people are willing to travel further to the Zoo (refer to figures 1 and 2.)
The Botanical Gardens attracted people mostly from the eastern, established parts of Melbourne. However, there was a less obvious pattern as to where people came from to the Zoo; they came from affluent and non-affluent areas (see figures 1 and 2.) The second hypothesis therefore needed to be reversed.
This could be because people from the less affluent areas are not as interested in spending a day in the gardens, ... However, Zoos are less frequently occurring facilities throughout the world than gardens and parks are, so it is a treat to visit one, especially to one with as good a reputation as the Melbourne Zoo. To obtain enjoyment from the animals, one does not have to be educated, but maybe a higher educational level increases the appeal of the Botanical Gardens. One young couple had only recently heard of the Botanical Gardens, so maybe it is a lack of knowledge that keeps people from the western suburbs away from the gardens.
As predicted by the fourth hypothesis, the Botanical Gardens have more regular visitors than the Zoo does (refer to figures 4 and 5.) It was shown in figure 6 that the distance between the facility and the place of residence had no real effect on the length of time spent at the facilities. So the extra distance many travelled to reach the Zoo does not necessarily mean that people spend longer at the Zoo than at the Botanicals; thus, the fifth hypothesis was disproved.
As each person is unique, the facilities would interest each one for different lengths of time. For instance, those with young children would have to limit their time as the children would tire out, and the tourists would probably being seeing more than one thing in the day.
...The hypothesis was wrong because it did not allow for people’s individuality.
As the majority of people reached these facilities by private means (refer to figure 3, photo 4 and the facility maps in the Appendix,) the availability of public transport at the facilities does not affect their hinterlands...
... Therefore, it seems that the people attending these facilities were similar in that they appreciated they appreciated the work of the keepers and gardeners, as well being similarly aged and in equal proportion of males and females (see figures 11 and 12.)
Hypothesis seven was only partially correct in that both facilities were considered worthwhile parts of Melbourne...
However, only 72% thought that the Zoo was informative, and 82% found the Botanicals gardens had a natural setting. ... Some people answered that the Zoo was not informative enough because the directions were vague and the signs not very obvious, ... The 94% who called the Zoo "natural" tended to feel that they were as natural as could be expected for a city Zoo (refer to Appendix.)
... The 12% of people questioned at the Botanicals who did not consider the gardens to be "natural" stated that they were landscaped and English, rather than of a natural Australian style. These people felt that they were too neat to be totally natural, thus 4% more people found the Gardens neat and cared for, rather than "natural".
Evidently, there is a difference between the spatial distribution of visitors to the Melbourne Zoo and Botanical Gardens. The Zoo has a larger hinterland, as it is a better known and less common facility. However, individuals visit the Botanical Gardens more regularly.
Both facilities are reached mainly by private transport and are considered to be very worthwhile parts of Melbourne for various reasons. As the facilities attract different people and are enjoyable for different reasons, both the Botanical Gardens and Royal Melbourne Zoo are equally valuable; if one were to close, the other would not take over the other’s hinterland. It appears all the differences are dependant on the essential differences between the two facilities; that is, one exhibits animals and the other is a garden.
The Royal Melbourne Zoo is controlled by the Zoological Board of Victoria and is located in Royal Park amongst many recreational parks (ovals, golf course, etc) It has two public entrances/exits; one in Elliott Avenue and the other in Poplar Road. The Elliott Avenue entrance (photo 1) is the main gate and is where I implemented the questionnaires, whilst the Poplar Road entrance is opposite the Royal Park train station and two tram stops.
The Royal Botanical Gardens and the Zoo are not totally independent facilities as it was at the Botanicals that the Zoo’s formation was initiated in 1858. Later, the animals were placed within the gardens for a short time. Both facilities were created to bring part of the “old world” to the settlers of the "new world".
The Department of Conservation, Forests and Lands is in control of the Botanicals, which are situated between Alexandra Avenue (along the Yarra River) Anderson Street, Domain Road and the Government House Gardens. There are 9 gates around the perimeter, which are all named. The questionnaires were implemented at Gate A on the corner of Alexandra Avenue and Anderson Street.