Duluth’s municipal zoo opened in 1923 after the city council gave a small piece of land to print-shop owner Bert Onsgard and hired him as zookeeper. He was paid $1 per year for tending to a white-tailed deer and a few native birds. The zoo would eventually expand to cover 16 acres of land surrounding Kingsbury Creek in Fairmount Park, and hold hundreds of animals from around the world.
In the mid-1980s the Duluth Zoo became the Lake Superior Zoo, and attained accreditation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The accreditation was lost in 2006, but regained in 2011 after the city turned operations over to the nonprofit Lake Superior Zoological Society.
All of the images here are from the Northeast Minnesota Historical Collections at UMD’s Kathryn A. Martin Library.
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