February 2015 – January 2018
Phipps' fourth Tropical Forest exhibit brought the second largest rainforest in the world to Pittsburgh with the opening of Tropical Forest Congo. Phipps staff traveled to Cameroon, Africa to conduct research to ensure an authentic visitor experience and even spent time with a group of hunters and gatherers called the Baka Tribe to learn about their culture. A common Baka-style living area was created as an educational opportunity for this exhibit, while the Special Events Hall facade reflected a typical Baka hut. More than two-thirds of the plant material from Tropical Forest India was replaced with African plants selected for their ethnobotanical value and beauty. Some of the plants that brought this exhibit to life included the African blood lily, snake plant, kola tree (from which cola drinks are derived), African bush butter (which has a fruit that tastes of buttered artichokes) and more. Local artists also recreated traditional beaded artifacts and stone and wood carvings to highlight African culture.
Photos © Paul g. Wiegman