Today in History: The New Burnet Park Zoo Opens

Burnet Park Zoo Opening August 2nd, 1982

On August 2nd 1986, the new Burnet Park Zoo opened its doors to the public with Romani the elephant officially breaking through the ceremonial ribbon. The opening drew a crowd of over 12,000 people for the weekend. Onondaga County had taken over management from the City of Syracuse in 1979 and, by 1982, had come up with a renovation plan that was approved by the county legislature. Over the next few years almost $3 million was raised by the Friends of Burnet Park Zoo and the county contributed another $10 million to the project. This year, the Rosamond Gifford Zoo, originally opened as the Burnet Park Zoo in 1914, celebrates its 105th anniversary. The park has come a long way it has come from just a barn on four acres of land in the early 20th century to one of the best mid-sized zoos in the country.