Monday, September 20, 2010
The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium (Part 1)
The original Columbus Zoo was located in the north Riverview neighborhood of Beechwold in Clintonville. It opened in May of 1905 but for unknown reasons already closed five months later in October of 1905. The former monkey house can still be seen on the property at 150 Beechwold Road where it is used as a barn. The present Columbus Zoo opened in 1927 as the Columbus Zoological Gardens. Since 1970 the zoo has been a non-profit organization owned by the Zoological Park Association, Inc.
On December 22, 1956 Colo, a Western lowland gorilla became the world’s first captive-born gorilla at the Columbus Zoo. She is the oldest gorilla in captivity and in 2006 celebrated her 50th birthday. Colo’s family is very extended with 1 child, 10 grandchildren, 4 great grandchildren and 2 great great grandchildren still living in zoos throughout the country. At present the Columbus Zoo houses 15 gorillas, 6 of which are related to Colo. The zoo has become a leader in breeding gorillas with 30 gorillas born at the zoo since 1956.
In 1978 Jack Hanna became the director of the Columbus Zoo and remained as director until 1993. Hanna turned the zoo into a model facility and had cage enclosures removed and replace with more natural looking habitats. His enthusiasm, along with his national television recognition, helped attract more visitors to the zoo, with over 1.4 million visitors annually by 1992. Hanna was named director emeritus of the zoo in 1993 and continues to be the public face for the zoo in its marketing campaigns.
In the spring of 2000 the zoo added its restored 1914 Mangles-Illions carousel. The carousel has 52 hand carved horses, 2 chariots and Wurlitzer 153 band organ. This rare "grand carousel" in the Coney Island style is one of a few manufactured by the William E. Mangals Company as a Mangels-Illions carousel. It was ridden 42,000 times in its first month of operation at the zoo and celebrated its one millionth rider on July 28, 2004.
The largest and oldest region of the Columbus Zoo is the North America region. At present it is located on the far east side of the zoo. North America contains 13 large exhibits featuring wetlands and a 10,000 sq. ft. migratory songbird aviary containing over 40 species. The region has a train ride which circles it and travels past the open plains exhibits.
The featured animals are:
Black-Tailed Prairie Dog (Cynomys ludovicianus), a rodent found in the Great Plains of North America from about the USA-Canada border to the USA-Mexico border.
Timber Wolf (Canis lupus), though once abundant over much of Eurasia and North America, the gray wolf inhabits a reduced portion of its former range due to widespread destruction of its territory, and human encroachment.
Mexican Wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) the smallest gray wolf about the size of a German Shepherd.
American Black Bear (Ursus americanus) the smallest and most common species of bear.
Grizzly Bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) generally lives in the uplands of western North America.
Wolverine (Gulo gulo) it is also referred to as glutton, carcajou, skunk bear, quickhatch or gulon.
North American River Otter (Lontra canadensis) is a semi-aquatic mammal endemic to the North American continent, found in and along its waterways and coasts.
Bobcat (Lynx rufus) it ranges from southern Canada to northern Mexico, including most of the continental US.
Cougar (Puma concolor) alos known as puma, mountain lion, mountain cat, catamount or panther it is a mammal of the family Felidae, native to the Americas.
Moose (Alces alces) is the largest extant species in the deer family.
Pronghorn (Antilocapra americana) is a species of artiodactyl mammal endemic to interior western and central North America.
American Bison (Bison bison) also commonly known as the American buffalo.
Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator) is the largest native North American bird and is (on average) the largest living waterfowl species on earth.
Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) is a bird of prey. It is the national bird and symbol of the USA.
An extension of the North America region the Polar Frontier opened in May of 2010 and features animals native to colder climates. The polar bears habitat includes a 167,000 gallon pool and an underwater viewing area. The center of the exhibit includes a Conservation/Education Building and a new play area.
The featured animals are:
Arctic Fox (Alopex lagopus) also known as the White Fox, Polar Fox or Snow Fox. It is a small fox native to the Arctic regions of the Northern Hemisphere.
Brown Bear (Ursus arctos) is a large bear distributed across much of northern Eurasia and North America.
Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus) is a bear native largely within the Arctic Circle encompassing the Arctic Ocean, its surrounding seas and surrounding land masses.
The pachyderm region is home to Asian Elephants and Black Rhinoceroses. It is located just west of the North American region. It features both a large outdoor habitat and an indoor facility. The indoor facility is the largest indoor exhibit of its kind in North America and the second in the world, with the capacity to house 10-12 elephants and 3-4 rhinos.
The featured animals are:
Asian Elephant (Elephas maximus) it is the largest living land animal in Asia. Found primarily in Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Indochina and parts of Nepal and Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Burma, China, Bhutan and Sumatra.
Black Rhino (Diceros bicornis) native to the eastern and central areas of Africa including Kenya, Tanzania, Cameroon, South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Angola.