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One of the great things about the city of Aurora is that it has its own zoo. Established in 1915, Phillips Park Zoo is a great tourist attraction in the city of Aurora, Illinois. It is open throughout the year and perhaps surprisingly, admission is completely free of charge. There are over one hundred different species of animal housed at the site. Originally, the zoo was created to exhibit exotic animals like monkey and giraffes, but today, the zoo focuses more on showcasing native animals. The change of focus was mainly due to the opening of Brookfield Zoo in 1934.
Looking back over the history of the zoo is very interesting. In 1920, the venue had 10 monkeys, 3 buffalo, 1 wolf, 1 deer, 5 black bears, 6 elks, and a few hundred birds. In 1933, a hailstorm damaged the original 1916 birdhouse. In 1937, during an excavation on the park, mastodon bones and tusks were found. These were put on display at the zoo meaning it is often classified as a museum. In 1964, the zoo added a water wheel to the site. The latest addition to the venue was a cougar exbibit in 2005.
Some of the animals housed at Phillips Park Zoo today include great horned owls, gray wolves, ducks, swans, bald eagles, several different species of reptile, llamas, river otters, elk, various farm animals, and peacocks. On site, visitors will also find an educational center where they can learn more about different species of animals.
The visitors center at Phillips Park opened in October 2003. The center contains multiple educational displays and exhibits. Visitors can learn about the history of the park and how the zoo got started. Visitors can also see the mastodon bones referred to earlier. There are plenty of amenities at the center including drinking foundations, bathrooms, and snack and drink vending machines.
The zoo currently does a lot of conservation work. If you visit the official website for the venue at aurora-il.org, you can learn more about the types of conversation work in progress. You can also sign up to become a member or a volunteer. There is also a donate option on the website for those who don’t have any spare time to contribute but want to financially support the zoo’s conservation work. On the website, you can also watch a live feed from the bald eagle webcam in Decorah, Iowa.