Roosevelt Park Zoo celebrates 100 years

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For 100 years, people from Minot and elsewhere and have been able to enjoy the Roosevelt Park Zoo.

Originally declared a zoo in April of 1914, the zoo only had 24 squirrels — now it’s home to more than 100 different species.

“In 1920, they added the first American Bison and then from there we added this building in 1921 so it’s this building that we are celebrating this weekend,” Jennifer Kleen, Executive Director of the Greater Minot Zoological Society, said.

When the zoo first started, the now aviary building was the only building that made up the zoo.

“When it was first built it was the entire zoo,” Kleen said. “At that time we had lions that would come out from the yards that were connected to the building and then at night they would go down into the basement of the building and this was everything. We had alligators in there at one time.”

Over the 100 years, the zoo has expanded from the original building to now 22 acres. While you can see all of the animals normally seen at a zoo, the Roosevelt Park Zoo contains a wide variety of exotic animals as well.

“We are the only zoo in North Dakota who has giraffes and African lions and an okapi,” Kleen said. “So we have a big collection of exotic animals that you don’t see anywhere else from Minneapolis down to Seattle. It’s special to have it right here.”

Kleen said they look forward to celebrating another 100 years, as long as they continue to support what they so value.

“We would not be the zoo we are without the community that stands behind us,” Kleen said. “That has held true many times in the zoo’s history, most recently in 2011 of course, and with our new habitats in 2019, 2020.”

And to celebrate the centennial, the zoo is having a birthday party on Saturday, Aug. 7. And it’s not just the zoo, it’s also the 100th birthdays of the Kiwanis Club and the Minot City Band.

The day is split into two parts: the morning will be the formal birthday celebration that will end with cake and singing happy birthday, and the afternoon will focus more on the zoo and where kids can even talk with zookeepers.

Admission is $5 per person.

“That $5 donation does go toward our Leopard project. So by coming to the birthday party tomorrow, you’re also helping us to build for the future,” Kleen said.

Below is the complete list of all the activities and events happening during the birthday party:

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