Monday, July 23, 2012

History Friday

Friday- This post is going to have a lot of photos so I decided to make it it's own entry. Most of the day went normally with me in giraffe with Nate, getting done early and going to an encounter. I even got to answer some questions for visitors which made me feel pretty good.

After lunch though we went to our class. Today's class was all about the history of zoos, but our zoo in particular. The man giving the class was Rory Brown, who I believe is on the board of directors and was also a professor at Harvard. Instead of our normal class, this one was all outside and we were able to see some of the old buildings that are still standing from when the zoo was first built. Some were added a little later, but they are still very old.

Rory started out talking about the general history of zoos and how they came to be, starting off with Botanical Gardens that held some animals in France and then working his way across the world to the U.S.A and how they were influenced by these early zoos.

Our next stop was the Antelope House. I've talked about that on here before since it's technically part of our department. All of our buildings have numbers, the bongos being 2, and then working it's way to 14 I think, but I had always wondered what building 1 was. I assumed it was the trailer since it's so close to Building 2, but turns out it's the Antelope House! I noticed a block of wood with the number 1 painted on it as I was leaving.

I still can't find the old photos of the house online, although I did find another album from the Boston Public Library that shows many photos from when the zoo was first opened. I took some photos of my own this time though so that you could see exactly how it looks in there (and the outside which looks AMAZING.)

Inside of the Antelope House, looking from the visitor area

Animal holding area inside Antelope House

Outside of Antelope House

Label of the Antelope House, with an amusing sign...considering it's been condemned for years.
After the Antelope House we headed off across the zoo and off grounds to take a look at the Raccoon Den and the Bear Dens. These two exhibits weren't actually located within the zoo because the idea was they wanted to get visitors to also visit the park...and these two exhibits would lure them into it. I didn't get any photos of the Raccoon den since it was really really overgrown with plants, and would have been hard to tell what it was, but here are some of the old photos of it, with some it it's residents.

Once we had viewed this area we went off to the bear dens. It's amazing to think that these are still here after all these years and that they haven't torn them down. The only thing missing from them are some of the bars that held in the bears, but everything else is still there. It's also amazing to hear how many bears were kept in these small little areas. One of the dens held upwards of eight bears I think....I don't even know if I would have put two in there...

Staircase up to the dens

Side view of two dens, which were once divided by bars

Back view of dens, the tube pictured is to protect a tree once held in it.

Really cool emblem?

Den #3, the one that held about 8 bears

Polar bear den, I'm not sure why there was a hill in this one...what could it have been for?

Their teeny tiny holding area.

So that's what it looks like now....This is what it used to look like before, with it's very comical residents.

Note the very lazy looking bear in the back...hahaha

Just hanging out...

"Okay kids, time for your synchronized swimming lessons..."

The small doors in the back were for their holding areas.
Overall it was a very informative trip, which I rather enjoyed. I hope you all enjoyed looking at these photos and seeing how far zoos have come with their exhibit design.

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