The Red River Zoo was established in 1993 with the goal of creating a leading zoological facility in Fargo, North Dakota. The Red River Zoological Society was able to obtain thirty-four acres of land that was sold and donated by the Anderson Family to the Fargo Park District. In May of 1999, the Red River Zoo began operations and opened its doors to the public. The zoo is now one of the most popular attractions in Fargo and the surrounding area.
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The collection of animals at the Red River Zoo focuses primarily on animal species from climates around the world similar to that of North Dakota. Primary parts of the world represented at the zoo are North America, Northern Europe, and Northern Asia. In addition to numerous exhibits, the zoo also includes a Children's Zoo Farm with an emphasis on heritage breeds. The Children's Zoo also focuses on teaching kids the importance of biodiversity and where their food comes from.
The Red River Zoo has continued to grow steadily over the years, and now features a collection of around eighty-nine animal species from through the world. Focuses almost entirely on species from colder climates, the zoo has a unique assortment of animals. The zoo has also had success in breeding a handful of the endangered and rare species of the world, including Sichuan Takin, Pallas' Cats, and Chinese Red Pandas. The Red River Zoological Society has even received an award for its conservation efforts with the Red Pandas from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
A number of indoor viewing areas and outdoor exhibits can be found throughout the grounds of the Red River Zoo. The zoo has also undergone several expansions in recent years. In 2012, the zoo added the Pallas' Cat and White Naped Crane exhibits A state-of-the-art exhibit for the North American River Otter opened in 2013, along with a new Veterinary Center in 2015 that features a public viewing area. In 2016, the zoo opened the Nature's Playland and Children's Zoo Farm.
The Children's Zoo Farm at the Red River Zoo features an Interpretive Center where kids, as well as other members of the family, can learn more about healthy eating habits and how plants grow. The center even includes a functioning Bee Hive. The Children's Zoo also consists of a gift shop, two barns that house both endangered and heritage domestic animals, the Alex Stern Family Foundation Interactive Gardens, and much more.
Construction of the zoo was originally entirely funded through cash donations, as well as donations of materials and services from foundations, local corporations, families, and individuals. The site initially only contained a handful of old farm structures and seven trees. The grounds have since transformed to feature ponds connected by streams, rolling hills, and wonderfully landscaped exhibits. Hundreds of shrubs and trees were planted to give the impression of wilderness.
4255 23rd Avenue South, Fargo, North Dakota, Phone: 701-277-9240