Little Rock Zoo
|Location||Little Rock, Arkansas, USA|
|Land area||33 acres (13 ha)|
|Number of animals||725 |
|Number of species||200 |
The Little Rock Zoo was founded in 1926 and is located in Little Rock, Arkansas, United States. It is home to more than 725 animals representing over 200 species, and covers an area of 33 acres (13 ha). The zoo is split into four zones, North, South, East, and West.
The Arkansas Zoological Foundation is a private 501 c (3) organization that raises funds for zoo development.
The Little Rock Zoo was started in 1926 with only two animals: an abandoned timber wolf and a circus-trained bear. Over the years it has grown to include 725 animals representing more than 200 species.
The first buildings at the zoo were made of local stone and built by the Works Progress Administration (WPA). These buildings were built in the 1930s and were home to primates, reptiles, birds, and big cats. They are still in use, and the cat house was renovated into a restaurant with the feel of an African style lodge.
The big cat exhibit was built in the 1980s along with other exhibits for great apes, crocodiles, alligators, sloth bears, and river otters. Lemur island opened in the 1990s, and an African Lion Exhibit was also added at this time, as well as the Civitan Pavilion for special events and the Civitan Amphitheater for educational programming.
The zoo acquired a children’s farm with an interactive contact yard and train station. In 2001 the board of directors approved a new Zoo Master Plan, which included a new African Veldt Exhibit.
The newly restored Over the Jumps carousel, a fully restored antique carousel, made its home at the Little Rock Zoo in the October 2007.
An African penguin exhibit, Laura P. Nichols Penguin Pointe, opened on March 5, 2011.
The zoo lost Mary the elephant to abdominal cancer on May 5, 2011.
The zoo acquired two elephants, Jewell and Zina, from the Ringling Brothers Center for Elephant Conservation on June 8, 2011, to be companions to Ellen, an elephant living at the Little Rock Zoo since 1954.
The zoo lost Ellen the elephant to a heart attack on July 5, 2011.
The Laura P. Nichols Cheetah Outpost opened on July 7, 2012.
The zoo is home to many animals and most of them are spread out throughout the zoo into different areas according to their environment, species, or diet. These exhibits are made to fit the animal's needs and mimic their surrounding environment as effectively as possible to ensure that the animal is comfortable and not stressed in its new home.
This list includes some of the major exhibits at the Little Rock Zoo.
- African Veldt - This exhibit includes many animals that are native to the continent of Africa. Grey crowned crane, Ankole cattle and the greater kudu can be found in a portion of the exhibit that mimics the African savannah, Kirk's dik-dik and Damara zebra can be viewed on either side of a wooden walkway, and black rhinoceros and white rhinoceros are seen in their own enclosure. During the summer the Stanley crane can be found in the dik dik yard.
- Big Cats - This exhibit opened on June 23, 1982 and includes some of the largest predatory felines. The African lion enclosure has a viewing window to see the lions up close. The Malayan tiger enclosure has a water pool that the tigers swim in and the jaguar enclosure has optimal aerial viewing of the jaguars.
- Conservation Outpost - This building is home to the naked mole rat. It has a viewing window for the green tree python, eastern indigo snake, Louisiana pine snake, mole snake, Madagascar giant day gecko, African fat-tailed gecko, African cichlid, and crocodile monitor and an outdoor viewing porch for the red river hog.
- Laura P. Nichols Cheetah Outpost - This exhibit hosts some of the fastest animals on our planet. The cheetah exhibit not only gives guests a birds-eye view of these beautiful spotted animals, but also educates them about how the cheetah population is being conserved in the African savanna through the efforts of the local people. The exhibit was opened on July 7, 2012.
- Elephant Barn - The Elephant Barn is home to Jewell and Zina the zoo's Asian elephants. The Elephant Barn is extremely large in order to house these gigantic animals. The elephants also have a large stretch of yard to walk around in outside. There is a large viewing window for the visitors in the front and large banners on the sides that have famous quotes from historic figures citing the majesty and importance of elephants.
- Children's Farm - This exhibit features the Kidville Station train as well as a chicken yard for the Araucana, Barred Rock, Silkie, Polish Crested chicken, Salmon Faverolles chicken, Toulouse goose, and the Sebastopol goose. The farm's barn houses the mammals of this exhibit. The zebu, donkey, and miniature horse are located on the left side of the barn and the pygmy goat and Baby Doll sheep are located on the right. This exhibit also has a black-tailed prairie dog habitat and a butterfly garden.
- Discovery Building - The Discovery Building was built in 1936 and features many exotic animals from around the world, including ones from the primate, reptile, and bird families.
- Primate House - Callimico, douroucouli, Geoffrey's marmoset, Geoffroy's tamarin, Wied's marmoset, lesser spot-nosed guenon, pygmy slow loris, red-capped mangabey, Angolan talapoin, southern three-banded armadillo, tufted capuchin, two-toed sloth, and the white-faced saki.
- Reptile House
- Snakes - Black pine snake, Louisiana pine snake, northern pine snake, eastern hognose snake, western hognose snake, southern copperhead, western pigmy rattlesnake, canebrake rattlesnake, eastern diamondback rattlesnake, western cottonmouth, Sonoran gopher snake, corn snake, mole snake, green tree python, Savu python, Burmese python, Mexican burrowing python, eastern indigo snake, Sinaloan milk snake, eastern coachwhip, West African gaboon viper, rhinoceros viper, eyelash viper, Malayan pit viper, grey-banded kingsnake, red spitting cobra, Cape cobra, and Mexican cantil.
- Other reptiles - White line gecko, African fat-tailed gecko, leopard gecko, Standing's day gecko, Madagascar giant day gecko, tokay gecko, Nile monitor, crocodile monitor, Gila monster, eastern glass lizard, frilled lizard, Sudan plated lizard, blue spiny lizard, northern blue-tongued skink, broadhead skink, Solomon Islands skink, Great Plains skink, panther chameleon, green iguana, green crested basilisk, common snakeneck turtle, spiny softshell turtle, African spurred tortoise, alligator snapping turtle, and the American alligator.
- Amphibians - White's tree frog, axolotl, red eyed tree frog, Panamanian golden frog, blue poison dart frog, green and black poison dart frog, yellow and blue poison dart frog, yellow banded poison arrow frog, Oriental fire-bellied toad, giant marine toad, tiger salamander, western lesser siren.
- Invertebrates - Brazilian cockroach, Scolopendra heros, emperor scorpion, Lasiodora parahybana, giant African millipede, Aphonopelma seemanni, tailless whip scorpion, Vietnamese walking stick.
- Tropical Bird House - Red lory, roseate spoonbill, scarlet ibis, pink-headed fruit dove, black-naped fruit dove, jambu fruit dove, wompoo fruit dove, beautiful fruit dove, crested wood partridge, grey peacock pheasant, southern crowned pigeon, Nicobar pigeon, helmeted guineafowl, Mandarin duck, ruddy shelduck, Prevost's squirrel, and the blue-and-gold macaw.
- Vampire Bats - This darkened exhibit features the common vampire bat. Outside of the building is an exhibit which references the children's story of the "Tortoise and the Hare". This exhibit has indoor and outdoor viewing and contact yards for the Aldabra giant tortoise, spur-thighed tortoise, and rabbits.
- Waterfowl Pond - This exhibit features a large pond where all sorts of birds swim together. It includes the mallard duck, black-billed whistling duck, black-bellied whistling duck, radjah shelduck, paradise shelduck, bar headed goose, Canada goose, black swan, American white pelican, and Chilean flamingo.
- Great Apes - The exhibit features a walkway that is suspended above the ape's enclosure. The ground is covered in grass and includes trees and rope for the apes to climb. Western Lowland Gorilla can be seen on one side of the walkway and Common Chimpanzee and Bornean Orangutan can be seen on the either.
- Lorikeet Landing - This exhibit houses the rainbow lorikeet. Visitors have the chance to see and feed these birds up close. They are enclosed in a large building surrounded by netting.
- Laura P. Nichols Penguin Pointe - This exhibit opened on March 5, 2011 and houses the African penguin. It mimics an African shoreline, specifically Boulders Beach, with viewing of the penguins both above and below the water. All along the exhibit are signs that educate the public about the lives, habits, and characteristics of penguins.
- Primate Islands
- Hoofstock - This collection of exotic animals includes the giant anteater from South America, the warthog from Africa, and the blackbuck and sarus crane from Asia.
- Other exhibits - These other exhibits feature the reticulated python, bald eagle, white-handed gibbon, and the maned wolf.
- Bears - The spotted-necked otter and North American river otter can be seen at the entrance. Most of the bears in this exhibit are from Asia like the Asian black bear, sun bear, and sloth bear and are separated from visitors by moats. The main attraction is the grizzly bear enclosure which has a large glass viewing window in order for people to see the grizzlies up-close. The bush dog and Indian crested porcupine are located at the end of the exhibit.
- Small Carnivores - This exhibit includes many exotic carnivorous animals found throughout the world. This exhibit features the red fox and bobcat from North America, the serval and caracal from Africa, the ocelot and white-nosed coati from South America, and the binturong, clouded leopard, and Reeve's muntjac from Asia. The three-toed box turtle and ornate box turtle can be seen occasionally in a yard next to the ocelot.
Zoo Master Plan
The Little Rock Zoo intends to create a zoogeographic zoo to help the public learn about the habitats and create a more natural zoo for the animals. The included renovations and additions include an Arkansas Farmstead exhibit with native species and information on the importance of agriculture to the state, the continent of Asia, which will be located where the Greats Apes exhibit is at present, with a larger elephant exhibit, orangutans, blackbuck antelope, Sarus cranes, and other Asian species, the continent of Africa with a new giraffe barn, the African Veldt mixed species exhibit, a new cheetah habitat, the African forest area, and the African Outpost, a new entry complex located north of Zoo Drive complete with a new restaurant, carnival style rides, and an ice cream parlor and a New Discovery Center education center with new rooms, exhibits, and education animals.
- "History". littlerockzoo.com. Little Rock Zoo. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
- "List of Accredited Zoos and Aquariums". aza.org. AZA. Retrieved 19 March 2011.
- "North Zoo Zone". littlerockzoo.com. Little Rock Zoo. Retrieved 19 March 2010.
- "South Zoo Zone". littlerockzoo.com. Little Rock Zoo. Retrieved 19 March 2010.
- "East Zoo Zone". littlerockzoo.com. Little Rock Zoo. Retrieved 19 March 2010.
- "West Zoo Zone". littlerockzoo.com. Little Rock Zoo. Retrieved 19 March 2010.
- "Species Survival Plan". littlerockzoo.com. Little Rock Zoo. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
- "Zoo Masterplan". zoofoundation.org. Arkansas Zoological Foundation. Retrieved 26 December 2010.
Media related to Little Rock Zoo at Wikimedia Commons