The zoo was founded in 1868, when the Lincoln Park Commissioners were given a gift of a pair of swans by Central Park's Board of Commissioners in New York City In 1874, the swans were joined by a bear cub, the first animal purchased for the zoo. The bear became quite adept at escaping from its home and could frequently be found roaming Lincoln Park at night. The first bison ever born in captivity was born in Lincoln Park. A new Lion House opened in 1912 (it was later renovated and reopened in 1990). The Primate House opened in 1927, and was known for housing a popular gorilla called Bushman (1931–1951). (The Primate House was later renovated and reopened in 1992.)
Marlin Perkins, who gained fame as the host of the television program Zoo Parade and later, Wild Kingdom, was director of the zoo from 1944 until 1962. He created and recruited a citizens group to support the Zoo's mission, the Lincoln Park Zoological Society. The facility underwent a dramatic transformation in the 1970s and 1980s, with the additions of many new, naturalistic exhibits. In 1995, the Zoological Society assumed management of the zoo from the Chicago Park District, which remains the owner.. Zoo administration is currently housed in the nearby, century old Chicago Academy of Sciences building, which moved to a new facility in 1999.
In 2010, Lincoln Park Zoo transformed the adjacent South Pond to create Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo, a pond habitat that features native plants and wildlife.
Read more about this topic: Lincoln Park Zoo
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