Zoo Celebrates Fiftieth Birthday

Jul 1, 2015

Bill the Lion poses for pictures.
Credit Lisa Ryan, WBOI News

WBOI’s Lisa Ryan attended a birthday party Wednesday. Not just any birthday party though. This one was for the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo, which is turning 50 today.

The guest list was huge: zoo employees, volunteers, parents and kids... And of course, Bill the Lion. About 600 people gathered to sing “Happy Birthday” to the zoo—except Bill the Lion, who can’t sing.

The zoo started in 1965 as a five-and-a half-acre park, and is now a 40-acre zoo with about 1,000 animals.

Jim Anderson, the zoo’s director, says the party is not only a celebration of the zoo, but also the employees and volunteers who make it possible.

Cake was served to guests at the birthday party.
Credit Lisa Ryan, WBOI News

“Every single employee at the zoo is an important part of the mission and success of what we do, so I cannot thank our staff strongly enough for everything that they’ve done for the zoo and the community for 50 years.”

Anderson says the zoo is one of the main tourist attractions to Fort Wayne. About 60 percent of zoo visitors are from outside Allen County.

After speeches and singing, children took pictures with Bill the Lion and signed birthday cards. And it wouldn’t be a birthday party without cake, though there’s no word yet on whether Bill chose chocolate or vanilla.