Wednesday, November 2

The Evolution of The Prospect Park Zoo

The Prospect Park Zoo, Brooklyn's only zoo, began as a small menagerie in the late 1800's.  It officially became a zoo in 1935 under the direction of Robert Moses, and the design of Aymar Embury II.  At it's very center was this statue of a lioness and her cub. Despite the many drastic changes to the Prospect Park Zoo, this statue has remained to this day, a remnant of past, present, and future. The statue has moved only slightly, shifting position due to Robert Moses' concern that children would use the statue as a slide.

The Center of Prospect Park Zoo

The Zoo in its original 1935 design.
The zoo today.
Stairs have been added on both sides of the preserved center walkway. A restroom is on the left, a refreshment center to the right.

Seals, and Security
The original zoo design consisted of elevated cement platforms and large, intimidating fences to protect visitors. Here, visitors interact with a polar bear. In 1987, an 11 year old boy, Juan Perez,  would sneak into the zoo at night, scale the fence to the Polar Bear pit, and be mauled to death( furthering sentiment that the facilities were weakened and larger animals would have to be moved from the zoo).

The current seal display offers an intricate, wide bar separating seal and visitor. Seals are known to come to the very edge  to greet visitors.
The original seal pool, offering elevated platforms, and closer visitor/seal interaction.

A seal rising up to greet a visitor.

Bricks, (Jungle) Books, and Conservation

The zoo was once home to many large animals, including Asiatic bears and lions.  These large animals were transferred to other zoos when the park closed in 1988. The renovated park re-opened in 1993, housing much smaller animals but still retaining trademark qualities, like the brick and Jungle Book inspired drawings.

One of three buildings today surrounding the main area: 'Animal Lifestyles'(formerly the Elephant House), Animals in our Lives(formerly the Lion House), and the World of Animals building. For each building, the red brick with limestone trim and a scene from The Jungle Book remain.

Writer Erik-Sanberg Diment once deemed the Prospect Park Zoo the 'rattiest in New York---in a literal sense of the word'. Large animals like elephants and bears often had little to live with, and had major issues with public interaction and sanitation. In 1980, a fifty year agreement was reached with the Wildlife Conservation Society to revitalize the Prospect Park Zoo, and transform it into the zoo for smaller, unaggressive species.

Tribute is still paid to the former residents of the Prospect Park Zoo. Above the restrooms and the refreshment centers  hang multiple Elephant head statues. The lioness and elephants of old remain a vital spirit of the current Prospect Park Zoo.

1 comment:

  1. go now Thanks so much for providing individuals with an extraordinarily breathtaking opportunity to read articles. Extra resources and blog posts from this web site. It is often very brilliant and also jam-packed with a lot of fun for me personally and my office co-workers to search your site at a minimum three times in one week to see the new guidance you have. And definitely. imp source we're actually contented with all the special things you give. Certain two facts in this post are honestly the finest I have had. Get the facts