Entrance to Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and Zoombezi Bay adventure park
Entrance to Zoo, Aquarium, and ZoomBezi Bay adventure park

History of the Columbus Zoo
and Aquarium
(1927 – 2021)

April 15, 2021

7:00 pm
– 8:30 pm

Virtual via Zoom and Facebook

Dr. Michael Kreger, Vice President of Conservation and Sustainability at the Columbus Zoo, will talk about the history of the Columbus Zoo, where it has been and its progressive march to gaining an international reputation for excellence in animal care, conservation, and education. 

In 1927, the Columbus City Council voted to create a zoo to house reindeer that were purchased for a hugely successful Columbus Dispatch Christmas promotion.  A 6-acre tract of land was purchased on the O’Shaughnessy reservoir that became the home of the Columbus Zoo.  Until Jack Hanna was hired as Director in 1978, few people knew about the zoo that is now considered one of the best in the world.

The present Columbus Zoo opened in 1927 as the Columbus Zoological Gardens. The city of Columbus took over management of the Zoo in 1951 but later gave up ownership to the Zoological Park Association, Inc., a non-profit organization, in 1970. The city continued providing funds from the city’s General Fund, however, until 1986.

Home to more than 10,000 animals representing over 600 species from around the globe, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium leads and inspires by connecting people and wildlife. The Zoo complex is a recreational and education destination that includes the 22-acre Zoombezi Bay water park and 18-hole Safari Golf Course. The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium also manages The Wilds, a 10,000-acre conservation center and safari park located in southeastern Ohio. The Zoo is a regional attraction with global impact, annually contributing more than $4 million of privately raised funds to support conservation projects worldwide.

About Michael Kreger

Michael Kreger - History of the Columbus Zoo
Michael Kreger and macaw friend

Before joining the Columbus Zoo, Michael Kreger had a 20-year career with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service(FWS) Migratory Bird Program and International Affairs. Prior to the FWS, he worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Mike’s academic background includes three degrees from the University of Maryland; he earned his bachelor of science in conservation, his master’s research focused on applied ethology and animal welfare in reptiles, and his doctorate research examined the effects of the captive rearing methods on the survival of whooping cranes reintroduced in central Florida.  Between his studies, Mike was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Honduras.

Mike has always had a passion for zoos and zoo history.  He has several encyclopedia entries and scientific publications that include aspects of zoo history.  His first zoo job was at the National Zoo.  He was a 14-year old volunteer.

Reserve Your Virtual Seat

The program is free and open to the public. There will be an opportunity to make a donation, which will help defray the expenses.

To ensure adequate bandwidth, registration and reserved “seats” are strongly advised for this program

This Virtual Program will be online via Zoom*.
Make a reservation and you will be emailed easy-to-follow instructions and Zoom link before the program.

*Zoom is a software system used around the world for meetings, conferences, and programs. There is no charge for you to use Zoom.

The entire program will also be streamed live on the DCHS Facebook page.

For more information, please call the society at 740-369-3831, ext. 3,
or email Programs@DelawareOhioHistory.org

History Library - Delaware County Historical Society - Delaware Ohio


157 East William Street, Delaware


2690 Stratford Road, Delaware