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8 April 2022

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History of Milwaukee Zoo

The Milwaukee Zoo is a zoo located in the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It is the oldest zoo in the state, and has been designated as an official U.S. National Historic Landmark and an official World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

The Wisconsin Humane Society was incorporated on April 15, 1875, and soon after opened its first headquarters at 320 East Wells Street. In the early 1880s, it moved to a site at 10th and Clybourn Streets. A new building was constructed there in 1884, but it burned down on January 2, 1885. The Society then moved to a new facility at 510 North 18th Street which cost $100,000. By January 1, 1886, the Society had managed to acquire nearly 500 acres (2 km²) of land in West Milwaukee for $20,000. On October 10 of that year, it opened a 40-acre (160,000 m²) zoo on that property.

The first animal exhibited was an Asian elephant named Polly who arrived in June 1886. In 1889 she was joined by Boo Boo and her son Tuffy who arrived later that year when she gave birth to a female calf named Muffy.

The zoo was started in 1959 by Robert Krause and George Simpson, who brought a few animals from their home in Los Angeles, California. The first zoo was a small garden located on the grounds of the old Lake View Hospital.

In 1962, the city of Milwaukee gave the Milwaukee Zoological Society a five-acre site for $100,000 on which to build a zoo. Over time, additional land was purchased in order to expand to 50 acres.

Since that time, the zoo has grown from an open-air curiosity park into an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). It has added new exhibits and attractions: the African continent exhibit opened in 2003; it is followed by "the Ocean" (2004), "the Amazon" (2005), and "the Arctic" (2006).

The current zoo includes nearly 500 animals representing all nine AZA species, including African elephants, hippos and giraffes. In addition, it houses more than 30 species of mammals and birds native only to Africa and South America.

Rules in Milwaukee Zoo

No feeding any of the animals. No climbing or sitting on any fences or railings. Stay behind the fence when viewing animals. Do not throw any objects at animals or into animal exhibits. No disturbing animal nests, dens, or resting areas. No smoking anywhere in the park, including parking lots. All children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult at all times. Children must observe all safety rules for their own protection and for the safety of our animals and other visitors. Children are not allowed to climb trees or rocks, jump into water features, or stand on benches or tables. Do not cross barricades or enter fenced-off areas at any time. Visitors must stay on sidewalks and paths at all times; please do not walk through gardens, fields, woods or other off-limits areas. Please do not pick flowers or remove plants from the grounds without permission from Milwaukee County Zoo staff. Parents are responsible for supervising their children and should immediately report any unsafe situation to a Milwaukee County Zoo employee, security guard or police officer stationed at the entrance gates.

How to get to Milwaukee Zoo

From I-94 West: Take I-94 to I-41/US-45 North (Exit 310A). Go north on I-41/US-45 to Bluemound Road (Exit 44). Turn left at the first stop light onto Bluemound Road. The Zoo will be on your right.

From I-94 East: Take I-94 to the Zoo Interchange (I-794) exit only. Go west on I-794 for about 4 miles to the 27th Street exit. Turn south (left) onto 27th Street and go 3 blocks to Wisconsin Avenue. Turn east (right) onto Wisconsin Avenue, go 1 block to Watertown Plank Road and turn south (left) onto Watertown Plank Road. Follow Watertown Plank Road over the river and turn right into the Zoo at 116th Street / Washington Boulevard.

Contact Information of Milwaukee Zoo

Milwaukee County Zoo

10001 W Bluemound Rd

Milwaukee, WI 53226

General Information: (414) 256-5412

Zoo Kids Admissions Desk: (414) 258-5058

Visitor Services at N. Entrance: (414) 771-3040