Party of the century

Roosevelt Park Zoo Community Centennial Celebration set for Saturday

Eloise Ogden/MDN Jennifer Kleen, executive director of the Greater Minot Zoological Society, holds a board with a timeline of the zoo that will be part of the zoo’s centennial celebration on Saturday, Aug. 7. The timelines will be placed on three 10-foot tables set up in the zoo’s main mallway.

It’s the party of the century.

On Saturday, Roosevelt Park Zoo in Minot will celebrate its centennial with daylong activities held in the zoo.

The zoo’s centennial is based on the opening of the first zoo building, the Aviary, formerly the Zoological Building. The building opened to the public in 1921.

Minot Kiwanis Club and Minot City Band are joining in the celebration, making it a Community Centennial Celebration. Both organizations are observing 100-year anniversaries. Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 753 and Westlie Motor Company, both began 100 years ago, have been invited.

Jennifer Kleen, executive director of the Greater Minot Zoological Society, the nonprofit support organization for the zoo, said activities start at 9 a.m. with the Kiwanis pancake breakfast running until 11 a.m. in the zoo’s main mallway between the concession stand and the Aviary. The pancake breakfast will be family-style dining.

Eloise Ogden/MDN Roosevelt Park Zoo’s timeline gives its early years and follows through to the present time.

Three 10-foot tables with the zoo’s timeline are the centerpiece. The timelines were designed by Miranda Hamilton at Lowe’s Printing and the laser engraving was done by POEM Design Co., both Minot businesses.

Picnic tables also will be set up for the pancake breakfast.

“If you want to go have your pancakes while watching the giraffes, you’re certainly welcome to,” Kleen said.

A Zoo Camp Parade will start at 10:30 a.m.

“All the campers are invited back – everybody who participated in summer camp this year,” Kleen said. “They’ll all have their orange zoo camp shirts on. They get free entrance for the day and get to participate in this parade.

Eloise Ogden/MDN The years that Roosevelt Park Zoo was flooded, including 2011, are designated in the timeline.

“The parade will follow our train, and aboard the train we have Lynn Aas and John Sinn leading the parade,” she said. Both Aas and Sinn are 100-year-old World War II veterans from Minot.

“They’re going to make a loop around the zoo and tell everybody the city band is going to play so they’ll get all of us into one spot,” Kleen said.

A short formal program will begin at 11 a.m. near the Aviary with the Minot Air Force Base Color Guard and a rededication/ribbon cutting ceremony for the Aviary (the first zoo building) by the Minot Area Chamber of Commerce EDC Ambassador’s Committee.

Joe Wiegand of the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation, who portrays Roosevelt, will make introductions and talk about Roosevelt as the conservationist president.

Immediately following the program, Minot City Band, set up in an inflatable band shell in the grassy area between the Aviary and Burdick Expressway, will play an hour-long concert.

Eloise Ogden/MDN Roosevelt Park Zoo will be the scene of the zoo’s Community Centennial Celebration on Saturday. The zoo’s Visitors Center is shown here.

“Their songs are going to lead us through the decades,” Kleen said.

After the band finishes its concert, a photo booth from SRT and face painting with face painter Natasha Yavorivska of Williston will be available. The photo booth will have a colorful background with a logo on it.

Kleen said she hopes the day will be a cross-generational day – generations of families coming to the zoo that day.

“We’d like to document that as much as we can with that photo booth and Indak Media (Matthew Maldonado and Eric Thoemke) of Minot will be filming.

“We’ll have root beer floats from noon until 3,” Kleen said. The root beer floats will be served near the Aviary.

She said most of the events are centered around the Aviary building that day.

From 1-8 p.m. will be keeper chats, training sessions and tours focusing on how much the zoo has changed.

“The afternoon will be a build-your-own kind of event,” Kleen said.

Admission for the day has been reduced to $5 per person regardless of age, with children 2 and younger free. The $5 admission covers participation in all activities that day.

“That money will go toward the leopard project,” Kleen said.

The new leopard habitat, located in the former cat habitat, is part of the zoo’s centennial celebration this year, but construction of the habitat for the leopards will be done in 2022.

The concession stand will still be open with its traditional menu and have normal charges.

After months of the zoo staff’s planning and preparing for the centennial, Kleen said, “It’s an exciting time. It’s fun to be a part of this moment in history.”


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