Updated: 07/16/2014 11:06 PM
Created: 07/16/2014 5:08 PM WDIO.com
By: Maarja Anderson
The Lake Superior Zoo has restored a bit of history that's now open to the public. The historic pavilion has been around for eighty years, but the restored version doubles the education space at the zoo.
Wednesday, local leaders and community members celebrated the renovation. A desert tortoise and 11-foot boa also helped honor the new building.
Maicie Sykes, director of animal management at the zoo, said this summer is an exciting time at the zoo. They have nearly a dozen new animals on exhibit, but the new pavilion will make quite the difference for the whole zoo crew.
The pavilion was originally built in the 1930s as part of a Works Progress Administration project.
"It was a historical structure, it was a center of a lot of community events at the time. There were parties here and community gatherings and that and it had just fallen into a bit of disrepair after a while," said zoo CEO Dawn Mackety.
For the past five years, the pavilion has sat vacant.
State Senator Roger Reinert said the renovation is a great step toward securing the zoo's future.
"It's also just this great example showing what happens when public, private, and individual citizens work together to care for something. There's some state money, local money, private money, all involved to create this great building," he said.
The $521,587 renovation was covered by a variety of sources, including the Legacy Amendment Arts and Cultural Heritage Funds, the Donald Weesner Charitable Trust Grant, a MN Department of Employment and Economic Development Construction grant, the Lake Superior Zoological Society, and private donations.
With walls and windows, Mackety said the restored pavilion doubles the zoo's space for educational programs like the Zoo Crew.
In addition to hosting special events and education programs, the pavilion can also be rented out by the public for birthday parties, picnics, specials events, and reunions. Information on renting the pavilion is available here.
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