Montgomery Zoo

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Montgomery Zoo
Date opened 1935[1]
Location Montgomery, Alabama
Coordinates 32°25′12″N 86°16′38″W / 32.420128°N 86.277201°W / 32.420128; -86.277201Coordinates: 32°25′12″N 86°16′38″W / 32.420128°N 86.277201°W / 32.420128; -86.277201
Land area 40 acres (16 ha)[1]
Number of animals 500
Number of species 150
Memberships ZAA
Website www.montgomeryzoo.com

Montgomery Zoo is a 40-acre (16 ha) zoo located on the north side of Montgomery, Alabama. The zoo was established in 1935 at Oak Park as the Oak Park Zoo. It grew and thrived there until the 1960s. In 1972, the Zoo was re-established and moved to its current location in north Montgomery.

The Mann Wildlife Learning Museum opened in January of 2003 next to the zoo. It was originally opened three years earlier in Opelika. The museum features mounted displays of North American wildlife including deers, bears, skunks, grouses, quails, wildcats, birds and fishes.

History[edit]

In 1920, 41 acres (17 ha) was set aside in Oak Park. The first animals arrived there in 1935, but the zoo had to close down between 1960 and 1971 due to racial violence in the city.[1]

In 1967, land was set aside for a zoo in the current location. Renamed the Mongtomery Children's Zoo, the 6-acre (2.4 ha) zoo opened in May 1972 with assorted monkeys, a flight cage, and Benji the chimpanzee. The name was again changed in 1974 to "Montgomery Zoo".[1]

In 1989, the Zoo started a major expansion to 40 acres (16 ha) and 500 species of animals, which was completed in 1991.[1] That same year, the zoo became an independent city department thus leaving the supervision of the Parks and Recreation Department. The zoo reports directly to the Mayor. It is staffed by administrators, animal care specialists, conservation and preservation specialists, veterinarians and animal care technicians, education curators, museum staff and curators, merchandisers, concessions and catering staff, maintenance and operation engineers, customer service and volunteers.

Exhibits[edit]

Australia[edit]

The Australian Realm has a bridge in the exhibit that guests can cross. The bridge encloses a small proportion of the exhibit in a corner. This proportion is a seasonal exhibit. In the past it has been home to aardwolves, warthogs, and pygmy hippos. Even though these animals are not Australian but African, they are favorites among the guests.

On the other side of the bridge, where the field is much larger, the following species all live in harmony with each other:

Asia[edit]

The zoo is home to an award winning Asian hoofstock exhibit. It is home to numerous hoofstock species.

There are separate enclosures for the Bengal Tiger and Indian Rhinoceros. The first ever baby rhino for the zoo is a male born October 1, 2007.

Africa[edit]

The African Realm is without a doubt the most expansive exhibit in the zoo. The first baby elephant born in Alabama was a female born here on Nov 9, 2007. For the animals, it features waterfalls, a twenty four thousand square foot night house, and several enrichment items, scattered across the exhibit that change on a regular basis.

Across a small stream separating the elephants from the hoofstock, the African grazers can be found. These animals spend the day roaming their exhibit, which includes hills and logs. This section of the African habitat has several viewing stations. This exhibit includes:

Another small stream separates the Reticulated Giraffe and Abyssinian Ground-hornbill from the hoofstock. The giraffes have their own yard and can be seen up close from the cafe. There is also a Giraffe Encounter Post where visitors can get upclose and personal and even feed the giraffes.

The Old World Aviary is also seen from the cafe. It is home to a wide variety of birds.

The African Realm is also home to the Siamang (indigenous to Asia), Chimpanzee, Günther's Dik-dik, Lion, Striped hyena and Cheetah. All are housed in separate enclosures, except the cheetahs and hyenas who alternate on the same display.

South America[edit]

This is the only section of the zoo that does not have a large field exhibit. It was the entire zoo before it expanded in 1989. This section is full of smaller exhibits.

The zoo also has a South American Aviary that is made to resemble the 1904 World's Fair Aviary. The aviary is designed to immerse one into the steamy swamps of a rain forest. It is full of native foliage and has two ponds with waterfalls.

This part of the zoo also plays host to the reptile house. The reptile house has several specimens of reptiles and amphibians found throughout the world.

North America[edit]

The North American exhibit is full of several species of hoofstock that can be found in Alabama and other parts of the USA.

There are separate enclosures for the lynx, cougar, black bear, and bald eagle. The newest exhibit is the North American River Otter which also houses a large alligator snapping turtle in a separate pond. The new boardwalk also gives a closer look at the bald eagles and Crystal Lake. The peddle boat rentals are found on the boardwalk.

Other attractions[edit]

The zoo features an entry plaza that is always decorated with floral arrangements. The zoo has an "Overlook Cafe" that enables whomever is there to get a panoramic view of the zoo. An old world aviary is located at the cafe. The Zoo has a parakeet aviary where visitors can purchase food sticks to feed the birds. Visitors can also take a miniature train ride that goes around the entire zoo, and ride the Zoofari Skylift for a fifteen-minute ride thirty feet above the animal enclosures for a bird's eye view of the animal habitats. Horse Trail rides are next to the newly expanded playground, and Pedal Boat rides around the lake are available as well. See the official website for hours and pricing.

Future Plans[edit]

The zoo is constructing a new american alligator and american crocodile enclosure in the North American realm.

The zoo is also in the planning and fundraising phase for a future touch-and-feel stingray exhibit.

The Birmingham Zoo's two male lion cubs, Baron and Vulcan are becoming part of the African realm at the recommendation of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Species Survival Plan. The exhibit is positioned for these two lions to see other African hoofstock and features a viewing glass where guests can get close to where the lions lounge, as well as a water feature.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "Zoo History". montgomeryzoo.com. Montgomery Zoo. Retrieved October 14, 2012. 

Books[edit]

External links[edit]