The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden is one of the oldest zoos in the United States, with a rich history that dates back to the 19th century. In this blog, we will take a look back in time at the history of the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden and how it has evolved over the years.
The Beginnings of the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden
The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden was founded in 1873 by a group of prominent citizens who were interested in creating a park and public space for the people of Cincinnati. Originally known as the Cincinnati Zoological Gardens, the zoo was established on 60 acres of land in Avondale, Ohio, which was then a suburb of Cincinnati. The first animals to call the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden home were a pair of white-tailed deer, which were donated by a local resident.
In the early years, the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden was primarily a place for people to visit and enjoy the beauty of the park. However, in 1875, the zoo received its first exotic animal, a tiger, and began to grow its collection of animals. By the turn of the century, the zoo had become a popular destination for both locals and visitors, and had begun to establish a reputation for its collection of rare and exotic animals.
Expansion and Renovation
Throughout the 20th century, the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden continued to grow and evolve. In the 1930s, a series of WPA-funded projects helped to modernize the zoo, and in the 1960s and 1970s, the zoo underwent a major renovation and expansion project. During this time, the zoo added several new exhibits, including the Gorilla World exhibit, which opened in 1978 and was the first exhibit in the world to showcase a naturalistic setting for gorillas.
Conservation and Education
In recent years, the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden has become increasingly focused on conservation and education. In 2006, the zoo established the Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW), which is dedicated to the study and preservation of endangered species. The zoo is also actively involved in several conservation efforts, including the conservation of black rhinos in Africa and the protection of local wildlife in Ohio.
Today, the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden is one of the most popular zoos in the United States, with over 1.8 million visitors each year. The zoo is home to over 500 animal species, including several endangered and threatened species, and features a wide range of exhibits, including the new Roo Valley exhibit, which opened in 2021 and showcases a variety of Australian animals, including kangaroos, wallabies, and koalas.
In conclusion, the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden has a long and fascinating history that spans over 150 years. From its humble beginnings as a small park with a pair of white-tailed deer, to its current status as one of the premier zoos in the country, the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden has always been a beloved institution that has played an important role in the community. With its commitment to conservation and education, it is clear that the zoo will continue to be an important part of the community for many years to come.