Get a Sneak Peek of the Denver Zoo’s “Trashy” New Exhibit
Weighing in at 920 pounds, Rufus is a giant triggerfish made almost entirely out of trash and debris collected from beaches across the nation. Buoys and old umbrella handles are just some of the materials that were used by a nonprofit group called The Washed Ashore Project, to create this artistic sea creature. Although Rufus is the first to be unveiled, there will ultimately be 15 sea life debris sculptures coming to the zoo as part of the traveling "Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea" exhibit. The other pieces are made from all sorts of washed up trash, including plastic lighters, shoe soles, bottle caps, netting, and old beach toys.
The Washed Ashore Project is trying to raise awareness about pollution and how it can severely impact our environment, and more specifically, the waterways. The Denver Zoo is the first land-locked state to host this marine-themed attraction, but it's still so important for visitors to see and learn about, because even though there's not an ocean anywhere near Colorado, our trash could still very likely end up in one. In fact, up to 80 percent of plastic pollution and other junk that winds up in oceans and rivers actually comes from not being disposed of properly in the inland. They say seeing is believing, so hopefully shining a spotlight on this widespread problem, as this exhibit is doing, will play a part in changing people's actions.
Thousands of volunteers came together to build these massive and powerful pieces of art, and not only are they all made of debris that has washed up on the shores, but each unique sculpture represents the sea life that's most affected by plastic pollution. In addition to the handmade structures, there will also be educational signage and programs that encourage reducing, refusing, reusing, repurposing and recycling. The full exhibit opens to the public on September 24 and will remain on-site until January 17, 2017. Admission is included with regular zoo entry.