Wildlife Habitats – ZooMontana

By Melanie Richard
Billings, Montana


This is my 3 year in-the-making, 100 foot interior remodel of an animal display area at ZooMontana. The remodel included creating 12 functional and animal friendly habitats and interesting exteriors for the public.



All interiors needed to be strong, durable and washable. This was accomplished with a Crafters Sculpting Tool and All Purpose Foam Coat over foam and wood supports. It was finished with house paint and finally a clear coat of ZooPoxy. The exteriors needed less protection, since they don’t need to be scrubbed, so thinner Foam Coat was used and no ZooPoxy. I was able to embed objects into the foam coat for added realism and educational value.


For the past few years I have focused on a long wall of animal exhibits that house education animals we use at school programs. We are now awaiting the arrival of several species. The species that will be and are living there are Aracari, Green Iguana, Prehensile Tailed Skink, Tortoise, Madagascar Day Geckos, Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches, Red-Tailed Boa Constrictor, Savannah Monitor Lizard, Black Footed Ferret, chinchilla, Kookaburra, opossum, and mink.

Art_sculpting_melrich2_02 Art_sculpting_melrich2_05ZooMontana is the only zoo in the Montana/Wyoming area. I design and build small animal habitats as well as being an animal handler for them. Also be sure to check out Melanie’s “Foam Gone Wild! Foam Coat System” DVD!

 Suggested tools/materials for this project:

All Purpose Foam Coat • Foam Gone Wild DVD • Industrial Hot Knife Kit