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 accomplished early in the year. The new section, called Upland Commons, gave a new appearance to the southwest portion of the Zoo. The Sohio Amphitheatre, built on the site of the old City of Cleveland swimming pool, was dedicated on July 29th. In November, contracts were let for the construction of a new sea lion and seal pool, near the bear grotto. Contracts were also let for the Zoogate Commons project, which would provide for a new admission entrance, visitor information center, library, classrooms, auditorium, administrative and education department offices, exhibit hall, gift shop, tour train station, concession facilities and a showcase flamingo exhibit.

1982:The year marked the 100th anniversary of the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. The seal and sea lion pool was dedicated on July 25th. On September 23rd, the American Association of Zoological Parks and Aquariums gave the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo accreditation, meaning that standards and credentials were of the highest caliber according to members of the official accreditation committee of the AAZPA. It was a fitting birthday present for the Zoo during its centennial year.

1983:The new public greenhouse was opened on Easter Sunday. ZooGate Commons, the main entrance complex, was dedicated on May 16th.

1984:March 27th marked the dedication of the new Birds of the World Building. On May 22nd the new African Plains exhibit was dedicated. This exhibit occupies a six-acre site between the Birds of the World Building and Monkey Island. It is home to giraffes, zebra, antelopes, vultures and other African animals. Visitors are separated only by dry moats, and can view all three compounds from several overlooks. The new lion exhibit is adjacent to Africa. Separated by a dry moat, the lions overlook, but cannot reach, their traditional prey.

1985:The new ZooGate Commons Picnic Pavilion was completed and opened in the spring. This facility accommodates 600-700 people. The rhino exhibit was constructed during the summer, located next to Monkey Island. During the summer and fall, Monkey Island was renovated. The Cleveland Aquarium closed during this year, and its collection of fishes and invertebrates was moved to the Zoo. A portion of the cat and primate building was renovated and became the aquatics exhibit.

1986: In April, the birds of prey exhibit was completed. A nesting area was created for the bald eagles, and an additional pair of these birds was obtained as founder stock for the bald eagle breeding program. In June, 35 new aquatic exhibits opened at the Primate, Cat and Aquatics building. The renovation of Monkey Island was completed. The Fanner Company building and land were acquired this year. The new RainForest complex was built around the foundation and walls of this building. Additional parking space was added behind this building.

1987:Summer marked the opening of the renovated Australasian exhibit and railroad and train station. A wood deck walk was built behind the pachyderm building for viewing hippos, tapirs and other animal exhibits. On August 21st, the Rare and Beautiful Animals of China exhibit opened, located in a section of the Primate, Cat and Aquatics building. The horticulture department began the process of categorizing all species and varieties of plant material at the Zoo. This data was developed into an inventory system describing location, type and usage of the plants. A new educational program, a 4th grade summer reading class, called “Reading, Writing and Rhinos” was started. The RainForest exhibit entered the construction phase.

1988:The zoo library received a donation of 543 bird books from Patricia Sutherland, a resident of Brooklyn. The books have been appraised at over $10,000. In September, the Zoo received a pair of clouded leopards from China, for permanent exhibit.

1989:The zoo acquired a new director: Steve H. Taylor. The birth of a siamang was the first ever in the history of CMZ. The Zoo established its first Conservation Day, held in June, and its first Recycling Day, in August. The Mission Statement—Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is first and foremost dedicated to the responsible stewardship of our natural environment through exhibition of living animals and plants and programs in wildlife education and conservation. The Zoo will be recognized as a quality attraction for people of all ages and the price of Cleveland—was adopted on March 22nd by the Board of Park Commissioners. Dr. Albert Lewandowski became the Zoo’s first full-time veterinarian in April. The Birds of Prey Show began on May 26th, and continued daily through September 3rd.