Historical Resources

  • 1890 to 1899
    Significant Events from 1890 to 1899:1892: Deer Barn and animal enclosures painted.1893: Eighty-one acres of land, the nucleus for Brookside Park, was purchased. Later in the year, 68 more acres were purchased. T ...

  • 1900 to 1909
    Significant events from 1900 to 1909:1901: A pair of lions was presented to the Zoo.1902: Forty-nine animals were donated to the Zoo.1903: A grizzly bear captured in Yellowstone Park was presented t ...

  • 1910 to 1919
    Significant events from 1910 to 1919:1911: Construction of new bear dens was begun so the bears could be moved from Wade Park to Brookside Park. However, due to problems, the project dragged on.1914: The bear den ...

  • 1920 to 1929
    There were no official reports on the "Zoo at Brookside" during the 1920's. Although still popular with the public, Zoo development was subordinated to more pressing demands of the times.Most of the exhibits were housed in the main buildin ...

  • 1930 to 1939
    Significant events from 1930 to 1939:1931: A letter to the editor of a Cleveland newspaper pointed a finger at “the world’s worst zoo”. There were 420 animals at the zoo. However, 300 of them were domestics – ponies, ducks, ge ...

  • 1940 to 1949
    Significant events from 1940 to 1949:1940:The fence required around the sea lion pool was installed, and the I. J. Fox Company renewed its offer to donate three sea lions. On Monday, August 26th, Cleveland City Council turned ...

  • 1950 to 1959
    Significant events from 1950 to 1959:1950: On August 17th, the zoo’s new beaver and otter pool was dedicated. The new bird building was dedicated in October. The building was one of the finest of its kind at the time and added ...

  • 1960 to 1969
    Significant events from 1960 to 1969:1959:January 19th brought the flood that destroyed the zoo’s reptile collection, housed in the basement of the main building. The Children’s Farm was dedicated on May 18th. “Bongo Days” wer ...

  • 1970 to 1979
    Significant events from 1970 to 1979:1970:Transfer of the zoo ownership from the City of Cleveland to Cleveland Metroparks was accomplished on March 26th. In late September the original zoo building (the deer house) located in ...

  • 1980 to 1989
    Significant events from 1980 to 1989:1981: Completion of the deck walk along the hillside behind the primate and cat building, and the opening of the new restaurant, picnic patio, and the entranceway at Fulton Parkway were acc ...

  • 1990- 1999

  • 2000-2009

  • 2010-2019

  • All Zoo History
    In 1882, local philanthropist and businessman, Jeptha Wade, donated 73 acres of land and 14 white-tailed deer to the city of Cleveland. This gift marked the start of Cleveland's first zoo. Two years later, the city built a Victorian-style deer b ...