Monkey Island, Oklahoma City Zoo — Oklahoma City Historical Postcards

by Bill Wilson on September 11, 2010

in Oklahoma City History

Monkey Island OKC zoo

As I grew up in Oklahoma City, going to the zoo, Monkey Island is probably what I remember most. Unfortunately it’s not longer there. Monkey Island was a popular attraction at the zoo for 60 years.

A Brief History of the Oklahoma City Zoo

The zoo originally opened in Oklahoma City in 1904 (before statehood) in Wheeler Park. That’s on South Western just north of the Canadian River. The first animal acquired was a deer fawn and by 1909 the zoos’ collection consisted of 125 animals.

In 1923 after a major flood in Wheeler Park the zoo moved to the old fairgrounds (the site of today’s Douglas High School). In 1925 the zoo moved to 17 acres within Lincoln Park.

In 1933 the WPA began construction of the Zoo Amphitheater, present home of many concerts today.

By 1935 major expenditures were approved for the WPA for projects in the zoo. These projects included Monkey Island. It required constant repair work and there were sanitary problems for the animals. So, in 1998 the zoo decided to eliminate this exhibit and concentrate on building the Global Plaza entrance on the site.

For information, please see the Oklahoma City Zoo website.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

C S Williams March 8, 2012 at 4:23 pm

I lived in Oklahoma City in the 1960 and was a frequent visitor to what I remember as “Lincoln Park Zoo.”
I remember something about a city wide contest to name a new polar bear. Can you provide me with more details. Thank you.

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