1990 to 1999

1990 Zoo attendance hit a new record of 872,713 visitors.

1991 The Education Division was the recipient of a new van donated by the Ryan Foundation. The van, named Ryan’s Roving RainForest, was painted with rain forest plants and animals, and is used by education staff for outreach and other educational programs. Amidst controversy, Timmy, a gorilla, was transferred to the Bronx Zoo. The purpose of the transfer was for him to realize his reproductive potential, an important element in the conservation of gorillas.

1992 Historic Wade Hall, built originally in 1884, was restored to its original grandeur. Instead of deer and hoofstock, however, the building was modified to house a victorian ice cream shop. On June 17th, a litter of four male cheetahs was born at CMZ. The cubs were the first for the mother and father, and also the first cheetahs ever born at CMZ. The highlight of the year was the opening of The RainForest on November 14th. During the first six weeks, The RainForest attracted 102,636 visitors. Total Zoo attendance for the year was a new record, 935,006.

1993 The Zoo greatly improved its visitor services by utilizing Ogden Entertainment Services to operate food service. The old main concession stand was demolished and replaced with the Roaring Lion Café. In addition, Novelty Ventures, the Zoo’s gift concessionaire, renovated or built from the ground up four gift shops. Dr. Hugh Quinn, former director of the Topeka Zoo and curator at the Houston Zoo, was hired as General Curator. Annual attendance hit a new record of 1,439,948 visitors.

1994 Cleveland Metroparks signed a ninety-nine year lease with the City of Cleveland for Brookside Park, 141 acres located next to the Zoo. This allows for Zoo expansion on part of the new property. A new logo was developed for CMZ. Contract was awarded for schematic design of Wolf Wilderness and the Australian Family Ranch.

1995 Two African elephants, Simba and Tribby, died. Oscar, an older male gorilla, suffered a fatal heart attack. During the summer, the public greenhouse was transformed into a Tropical Butterfly Garden. Visitors walked among 25 species of butterflies. The butterflies were farm-bred in Malaysia and the Philippines. Okpara, the two-year-old son of Cleveland’s well-known gorilla Timmy, arrived at CMZ this year. Okpara was accompanied by Little Joe, another two-year-old born at the Bronx Zoo. Work began on a 3,000 square foot production greenhouse for winter holding of display plant material, and tropical plants for The RainForest.

1996 This year marked the beginning of construction of Wolf Wilderness. Wolf Wilderness was the most significant capital project since the opening of The RainForest in 1992. In addition, work was begun on the design on Kookaburra Station, the Australian exhibit that replaced the Children’s Farm. In April, the Zoo transferred its single remaining African elephant, Tiani, to the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, Texas. This allowed the staff to renovate the pachyderm building with an elephant-restraining device. This provided better safety for elephant keepers and the animals by limiting direct contact between the two. Zoo staff worked with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources on trumpeter swan reintroduction. Eggs were collected in Alaska and hatched at the Zoo. Thirty birds were taken to the Wilds in central Ohio to be raised until they were old enough to be released throughout Ohio. The Zoo entered cyberspace with an interactive web site, which can be reached at www.clemetzoo.com. Susan Marshall became the first-ever Executive Director of the Cleveland Zoological Society.

1997 On Friday, May 9th, Wolf Wilderness opened to the public. The exhibit is home to a pack of five wolves, plus beavers, bald eagles, and many other animals. In June, three new elephants joined the Zoo’s animal collection. Jo, aged 30, and Moshi, aged 21, came from Wildlife Safari in Winston, Oregon, and Kiah, aged 13, came from the Erie Zoo. Parks Victoria in Melbourne, Australia, participated in a staff exchange with Cleveland Metroparks by loaning the services of Joanne Davies and Caroline Pitcher to the Zoo Education Division from September through December. Joanne and Caroline helped authenticate programs and exhibit design for Australian Adventure.

1998 Two achievement awards from AZA – one for the Wolf Wilderness exhibit, and one for the Wolf Wilderness education programs were won. The Board of Park Commissioners awarded a construction contract for Australian Adventure. Construction began in May. Six future capital projects were considered, and top priority was given to a new Veterinary Hospital and Research Center. This project was spurred by a gift of $1.5 million from an anonymous donor.

1999 In the spring Dr. Tammie Bettinger, Coordinator of Scientific Research, and Dr. Hugh Quinn, General Curator, traveled to Uganda. They began a population census of reptiles and amphibians, paying particular attention to the effects of logging. They also explored the possibility of setting up a field study course for U.S. and Ugandan students, similar to the Zoo-CSU course in Venezuela. The distance learning program, Ohio Wetlands – Ruin, Reintroduction and Recovery, earned a significant achievement award from the AZA, a second place award from the National Association of Interpreters, and first place for its corresponding website, “Return to the Wild.” New animals acquired for Australian Adventure were: Bennetts’ wallabies, feather gliders, frilled lizards, Goodfellow’s tree kangaroos, gray kangaroos, koalas, kowaris, lorikeets, Merino sheep, Parma wallabies and wallaroos.