The Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo celebrating the 110th anniversary of its opening Sunday.
To honor the parks special milestone, hundreds of visitors were on hand to sing Happy Birthday and cut the cake.
Zoo officials say since the zoo opened in 1899, more than 236 million people have visited its grounds.
Fordham University owned most of the land which became the Bronx Zoo and New York Botanical Garden. Fordham sold it to the City of New York for only $1,000 under the condition that the lands be used for a zoo and garden; this was in order to create a natural buffer between the university grounds and the urban expansion that was nearing. In the 1880s, New York State set aside the land for future development as parks. In 1895, New York State chartered the New York Zoological Society (later renamed to Wildlife Conservation Society) for the purpose of founding a zoo.
The zoo (originally called the New York Zoological Park) opened its doors to the public on November 8, 1899, featuring 843 animals in 22 exhibits. The first zoo director was William Temple Hornaday. Heins & LaFarge designed the original permanent buildings as a series of Beaux-Arts pavilions grouped around the large circular sea lion pool. Many exhibits, for example World of Birds and World of Reptiles, maintain the original taxonomical arrangement, while others are arranged geographically, such as African Plains and Wild Asia.
In 2006, the Bronx Zoo is home to more than 4,000 animals, many of which are endangered or threatened species. Nearly two million people visit the Zoo each year.
The Zoo has been designated as a New York City landmark.