This year the Red River Zoo turns 15 years old! In 15 short years, the Red River Zoo has transformed into a living museum that is loved by many. The Red River Zoological Society was formed in 1993 after planning and dreaming of a wildlife park by enthusiasts around our community. These progressive thinkers worked hard to recruit other members and dedicated volunteers. In 1995, the community voted on a sales tax initiative that would, in part, fund construction and development of a wildlife park. This measure was defeated in the poll.
After a survey, the Zoological Society found that many people were supportive of a wildlife park in Fargo/Moorhead, but they didn’t support the vote, as it contained many other items as well. The determined Board and society members regrouped and turned to their alternative plan, developing a 100-year-lease with the Fargo Park District. Construction started in 1996 after many private and cooperate donations were received.
The Red River Zoo is now located on 33 acres of what used to be the George Anderson Family’s Red River Ranch. Before renovations, the site consisted of only seven trees and a few old farm buildings. Several buildings were modified to fit the needs of the new zoo.
The Red River Zoo first opened their doors in 1999. Then, the Zoo included the barnyard, aviary, prairie dogs, porcupines, red pandas, duck marsh, deer, meerkats, and an entrance building with reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates. Since then, many large exhibits have been added including the Trapper’s Cabin with grey wolves, Takin Ridge, the Shelly Ellig Entrance Building and South American Exhibit, Wings of the Orient Asian Aviary, and the newest addition to the Zoo, the North American River Otter exhibit. The landscape has been transformed into a beautiful and enchanted zoological park. Today, the Red River Zoo is home to more than 89 species and 600 specimens.
The Red River Zoo receives national and international recognition as a leading breeder for some of the world’s rarest cold climate species. Our Zoo is an active participant in several Species Survival Plans, including: Chinese Red Pandas, Sichuan Takins, White Naped Cranes, White Face Sakis and North American Porcupines. Over one-quarter of the Chinese Red Pandas in North American Zoo were born at our Zoo! Our Zoo has strived to fulfill our mission of advancing public education on the need for wildlife conservation and preservation. We connect people with nature!
The Red River Zoo is operated solely through admissions fees, memberships, philanthropic gifts, and miscellaneous earned revenue. The Red River is Zoo is part of the 7% of AZA Zoos that do not receive tax or subsidized funding. The Zoo has been so successful in part due to the tremendous help of volunteers. Last year volunteers generously donated over 6,000 hours of their time.
Having a Zoo in our community was just a dream until a few dedicated individuals who saw the Zoo’s vision stepped forward and made the Red River Zoo happen. Now, your Zoo has transformed into a true gem in our community and has become a leading tourism destination in the Fargo/Moorhead area.
The Zoo will be celebrate their 15th birthday this year. Stay connected to receive updates on how you can celebrate! The Zoo exists because dedicated conservationists worked together to create a Zoo that would influence the entire community 15 years ago. If you would like to get involved to help us with our mission, there is always a need for dedicated volunteers! If you would like to volunteer please call 701.277.9240 ext. 310 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to make a donation, please call 701.277.9240 ext. 301. The Zoo will be open every Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm now until the end of April. Come stop by and wish the Zoo a happy birthday!
Come see what’s new at your Zoo!