Zoo Timeline

1915


Zoo Established.

1920


Home to 5 black bears, 10 monkeys, 6 elk, 3 buffalo, 2 foxes, 1 wolf and 1 deer, in addition to hundreds of birds of every description.

1926


The stonewall along the house that lead to the zoo, was built by Bob Lisle.

1934


Brookfield Zoo opened and Phillips Park Zoo decided to focus on a collection of native animals, rather than the giraffes and other large exotic animals that were showcased in the past.

1934


It was referred to as a zoo/museum since the Mastodon Bones were displayed here.

1936


Buffalo were slain.

1937


Home to monkeys, a coyote, baboons, rabbits, bears, pigeons, parakeets, parrots and lovebirds.

1938


Beacon article dated September 11, 1938 titled "Start 200 Men Tomorrow On Park Project," explained how the WPA improvement project was going to spend the $189,000 allotted for the general improvement projects at Phillips Park by both the government and the city. In a statement issued by Mayor Harry B. Warner, he indicated that approximately $30,000 was to be used to transplant trees and shrubs, rebuild animal cages and add fireplaces.

1950


The barn and waterwheel were built. (1964 Waterwheel built of cypress.)

1984


The outdoor Bird Flight was built.

1985


Beacon article from July 18 has Nancy Weiss indicating there are buffalo at the zoo.

1985


Judy the Bear was donated by businessman Jeff Crockett.

1985


Farfel, a Macaw, was donated by the Chicago Lincoln Park Zoo.

1985


Two new black swans were donated by Ray Moses.

1986


Newborn Twin African Pygmy Goats named Billy Paul and Billy Joel arrived.

1992


The pillars were constructed with Black Bear sculptures at Zoo Entrance in April. (Refer to 1992 Entry)

1996


"Chopper" the caiman was a new addition in April and then stolen in September.

1996


A new exhibit featuring North American River Otters Teeter and Totter was added.

1999


Judy the Bear died on June 16.

1999


Reindeer from Walter Payton's Roundhouse: Scooter, Simba, Prancer, Comet and Vixen were on display until the following year. Otters were moved to a new exhibit area, and a new fox exhibit was also added.

2000


The Perimeter Fencing Project, that included gate counters, started in December and was completed in 2001

2001


The elk herd was moved to Lagoon area, which use to be the skating pond area.

2001


The perimeter-fencing project was completed.

2001


A new gray wolf (timber wolf) habitat was added for "Dakota," "Cheyenne" and "Aurora."

2002


The newest addition, "Kenai" the bald eagle arrived on July 19, 2002. Work had begun earlier in the year to prepare the Bird Flight, which is a 50 x 25 foot open-air shelter that houses a pond and a waterfall, with a backdrop mural of a mountain setting painted by Park employee Chris Mascarella.

2002


The Elk Viewing Deck was opened to the public in August, providing an open view of the elk enclosure.

2002


On November 23rd a 9-month old, 240-pound Bengal Tiger "Sierra" was confiscated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, since she was privately, but illegally, owned. She was temporarily housed at the zoo for approximately one month, until the DNR found a permanent home for her at the Rocky Mountain Wildlife Conservation Center in Keenesburg, Colorado.