At the core of the Benchley approach was the motto of putting animal care at the head of the zoo’s list of priorities. Animals were to be given as much space as possible, with terrain features that matched the animals’ natural behaviors. Against much professional advice, she spear-headed an initiative to develop a cage-less enclosure, creating large open air grottos surrounded by moats in place of the de rigeur steel cages of the past. She also ensured that each animal had a separate private area which they always had access to, a place they could go when they felt stressed or anxious, even if it meant their public exhibit remained empty. The zoo, at last, was about the animals, not the audience.