“one of the oldest zoos in indiana”
Columbian Park Zoo is one of the oldest zoos in Indiana dating back to 1908. The original animals housed at the zoo included foxes, skunks, pelicans, deer, lynx, prairie dogs, and a wolf. In 1928, the main Animal House was constructed, which is still standing today. One of the first inhabitants of the Animal House was "Linco" the elephant, who was purchased from the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus in Peru, Indiana. Nearly 10,000 school students in Lafayette and West Lafayette raised more than $2,000 toward the purchase of the elephant, then named "Ruth." Lincoln School students exceeded their school's fundraising quota and earned the honor of renaming the elephant to Linco. In the 1930's, the Zoo bred many animals for sale to other small zoos. By 1943, the Columbian Park Zoo had housed lions, monkeys, elk, leopards, zebra, bears, and alligators, among many others! Buddy the Chimp called the Zoo home during the 1950's. He could often be found driving the train through the park (with assistance, of course!). In 1976, Friends of Columbian Park Zoo was formed to advocate support and raise money for the zoo. This not-for-profit organization has been involved in countless projects over the years and put on many successful events each year including Zoo Run Run and Boo at the Zoo. In 1988, a large walk-through bird aviary was added to the existing Columbian Park Zoo. The Zoo had acquired so many bird species that this extra space was desperately needed to showcase and hold them.
A cute free zoo! I'm a 30 year old woman and the only person who enjoyed the goat petting zoo more than me was my 34 year old husband. We went an hour before the place closed and it was practically empty. Perfect!
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