Narrating the correlation of elephants as related to their import, groupings, breeding and transfers,
along with other elephant related topics.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Ark in the Park by Mark Rosenthal

"I have recommended the book in the past, for all you folks who love zoo history and Lincoln Park as I do, and bring to your attention that it normally sells for 49.95 hardcover but there are currently 5 available at Amazon for 39.89. It is one of the best books available on the history of an American Zoological Institution and along with our friend Gary Clarke Director Emeritus of the Topeka Zoo's book "Hey Mister, Your Alligator is Loose," I promise you zoo buffs don't have a complete library without these two publications." //Wade Burck

Drawing visitors to the heart of Chicago's north side for 135 years, Lincoln Park Zoo is one of the oldest and most popular zoos in America. This thorough and fascinating history of the zoo combines archival materials, photographs, and oral histories to chronicle the zoo's development and chart the unique role it has played not just in the growth of Chicago but in the establishment of zoos in cities across America. Lincoln Park Zoo was established in 1868 when New York's Central Park Commissioners sent the Lincoln Park Commissioners the gift of two pairs of swans. The swans were such a popular attraction that the park commissioners began acquiring other animals and building quarters for them, adding a bear cage, a bison enclosure, a sea lion pool, an eagle exhibit, and an animal house, all before 1900.Although the zoo was initially conceived as a primarily recreational attraction, its mission has evolved over time, with conservation, science, and education now forming central elements. Starting in 1884, when the zoo saw what was reportedly the first-ever birth of a North American bison in captivity, Lincoln Park Zoo has been part of the effort to study and protect endangered species from all over the world. This comprehensive history of Lincoln Park Zoo also tells the wider story of the growth of the American zoo movement and the changes that have occurred in the past century, as zoos evolved from a leisure pursuit into a multimillion-dollar industry and an invaluable participant in global conservation efforts.

"If you grew up in the Chicagoland area, you probably watched the Ray Rayner Show. It had cartoons and silly antics, and it had a sequence called, the Ark in the Park. After the Irish Rovers sang their Unicorn Song, Dr. Lester Fisher of the Lincoln Park Zoo would come out with an animal or two, and talk about them and their habitat. And all of us kids would agitate to go see Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo, the Ark in the Park.

This wonderful book is a fascinating history of the Lincoln Park Zoo, from the park's creation to clear up a swampy old cemetery (where rains would regularly wash coffins to the surface!), through the origination of the zoo, it's changes with time, and on to the very present. Along the way, the reader is treated to many great tales of dedicated zoo personnel (including Director Marlin Perkins who became famous nationwide on Mutual of Omaha's Animal Kingdom), politicians both sympathetic and not, park visitors of all dispositions (after one elephant died, it was found to have 33 pounds of bottle caps, broken glass, rubber balls, etc. in her stomach!), and animals of equally varied dispositions.

This is a great book and a great resource for anyone familiar with the Lincoln Park Zoo. More than that, this is a great resource for anyone who wishes to know more about the development of America's zoos, and how the philosophy of zookeeping has evolved over the years. I highly recommend this book!" //Kurt A. Johnson

You may click the link at the top of the page or the picture below to order Mr. Rosenthal's book 'Ark in the Park.'


  1. There is a second book about Lincoln Park Zoo by Lester Fisher, DVM, who was employed by Marlin Perkins as the zoo vet and became the director after Marlin Perkins left. It's a lot of fun to read. There is a statue of Marlin Perkins, by the way, at the SLZ. One of the many charming characteristics of SLZ, I think.

  2. Thank you for sharing, Natasha.


I eagerly anticipate associating with new individuals with an interest or history in elephants, elephant history and elephant record keeping. If you have further information regarding the animals or locations questioned in the article, please leave a comment or message me in an effort to complete their records for elephant historians.