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Milwaukee County Zoo  

The Milwaukee County Zoo is a zoo in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, operated by the Milwaukee, WI County Parks Commission. The zoo houses 1,800 animals and covers an area of 190 acres (77 ha). It is noted for the second birth of polar bears and siamangs in captivity and their locally famous gorilla Samson, who lived from 1950 to 1981 and whose bones are now on display at the Milwaukee Public Museum. During World War II, a celebrity animal of the zoo was Gertie the Duck and her ducklings. The zoo is also home to one of the largest groups of bonobos in one location outside their native Democratic Republic of the Congo. In addition, it has two cheetahs from the National Zoo in Washington, DC.


The West Park Zoo opened in 1892, displaying small mammals and birds. The zoo added two cinnamon bears and created an iron bear den the following year. In 1899, the zoo constructed a $2,137 herbivore building that housed various animals. In 1900, West Park Zoo became Washington Park Zoo, and two years later, the zoo was expanded to 23 acres (9.3 ha). Even with the Great Depression of the 1930s, the zoo prospered, creating a bear den that resembled bears’ natural habitat. In 1931, the zoo’s bear collection contained 37 specimens. However, by 1937, the Washington Park Zoo began showing its age. A reptile exhibit was opened in the main zoo building in 1942. George Speidel, zoo director at this time, began planning a new zoo.


Taylor Family Humboldt Penguin Pool

This is an exhibit near the zoo’s Main Entrance. This fifteen-thousand-gallon tank features a group of Humboldt penguins with underwater viewing glass surrounding it. Bed Bug Exterminator Milwaukee

Herb and Nada Mahler Family Aviary

The aviary contains over 60 species in a walk-through building. One section is a cageless room where birds fly free. Species in the exhibit include the Caribbean flamingo, scarlet ibis, rhinoceros hornbill, Bali mynah, crocodile bird, rockhopper penguin, gentoo penguin, red-billed hornbill, the whooping crane, Inca tern, sunbittern, as well as various pigeons and herons.

Sterns Family Apes of Africa

This indoor building is opened in 1992 at $10.7 million and features a large troop of bonobos and gorillas. Samson, the largest gorilla in captivity, was showcased in the Apes of Africa building for many years. The zoo maintains a bonobo breeding program with one of the world’s largest collections of bonobos in captivity. Both species have access to indoor and outdoor exhibits.

Primates of the World

 Adjacent to Apes of Africa, this exhibit showcases primates worldwide, including a mandrill, Bornean orangutans, a siamang, eastern black-and-white colobus, and black-handed spider monkeys in a gallery-style display. In addition, the zoo featured one of the first births of a Siamang in captivity.

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