The National Amphibian Conservation Center (NACC) features more than a thousand fascinating amphibians in spacious, naturalistic exhibits and highlights the critical role these creatures play in the environment. The award-winning facility is home to a spectacular diversity of frogs, toads, salamanders, newts and caecilians. When it opened in 2000, The Wall Street Journal dubbed it "Disneyland for toads".
The 12,000-square-foot facility is fully integrated into a 2-acre Michigan wetland area called Amphibiville. The village is dedicated to and inhabited by amphibians from around the world. The wetland and pond is teeming with bullfrogs and other wildlife.
The NACC is also a state-of-the-art facility for amphibian conservation and research. It was the first major conservation facility dedicated entirely to conserving and exhibiting amphibians. It holds exhibits that define and describe amphibians, metamorphosis, amphibian evolution and diversity, aspects of amphibian ecology, and conservation biology. It also offers the animals a safe environment in which to breed, further helping with the conservation of the many species.
In 2010, the Detroit Zoological Society (DZS) provided assistance in the largest animal rescue operation in U.S. history, where more than 27,000 animals were seized from an international exotic animal dealer in Arlington, Texas. More than 1,100 of these animals found sanctuary at the Detroit Zoo, including 696 amphibians of 45 species. About 75 of the rescued animals can still be seen in the NACC.
There's more to see at the NACC than just amphibians. It also features the Rainforest Immersion Gallery, which is home to a two-toed sloth, a Central American agouti, a stingray, turtles and tortoises. There are also interactive exhibits and video links to remote conservation research stations that supplement the live exhibits. In addition, the Orientation Theater, a circular room with multimedia capabilities, is open to the public, school groups, and other organizations as an educational resource.
The Detroit Zoo "elects" a Mayor of Amphibiville for a two-year term. The current mayor is 8-year-old Jack Salvati from Milford, Mich., who was sworn into office in November 2014. Jack ran for office because of his love of amphibians and his knowledge of the different species. "I love them so much, I started writing a science book about frogs," he said. In honor of Jack's victory, a plaque bearing his name and photo is on display in the NACC.