Although the Zoo’s exact origins remain unknown (the master plan from 1887-1888 doesn’t mention any animals or cages), by the late 1890s, the park was said to include monkeys, an eagle, a wolf, tiger, bear and buffalo. Interestingly, one of the early attractions was a lion named “Big Jim.” As a lion cub, Big Jim apparently escaped from a circus wagon and wondered over to a local farm. The farmer then sold the lion cub to the Zoo. Big Jim passed away in 1912, which helped motivate local support for a much-needed animal house. As a result, the Animal House opened in March 1914. In 1977, the old Animal House was renamed the Katthoefer Animal Building after brothers John Grover, park superintendent, and William Katthoefer, longtime zookeeper.
Today, the Zoo offers many exhibits and interactive opportunities for young and old alike. Indoor and outdoor exhibits include: ZooLab, Katthoefer Animal Building, Wallaby WalkAbout, Children’s Zoo and Animals of Asia. The newest exhibit, Tropical America Rainforest, displays an assortment of animals and plants native to Central and South America’s rainforests. Throughout the various exhibits, you will find a wide assortment of animals, such as: reindeer, a Sumatran tiger, greater flamingos, harbor seals, river otters, red pandas, lemurs, a Galapagos tortoise, bald eagles, Pallas’ cat, snow leopards, gibbons, and red wolves.
After a fun-filled day watching the various animals snoozing in the sunlight, you may find yourself in need of a snooze yourself. We have you covered! The , conveniently located only seven minutes from the Zoo, offers delightful guest rooms and suites where you can kick back, put your feet up, and relax. Our luxurious amenities, warm hospitality, and will have you feeling refreshed in no time!
Miller Park Zoo
Location: 1020 S Morris Ave, Bloomington, IL 61701
Contact: (309) 434-2250
Hours: Open daily from 9:30am – 4:30pm (closed Thanksgiving and Christmas)
Daily Feeding Schedule (free with Zoo admission)
- Harbor Seals and River Otters – 10:30 am & 3:00 pm
- Tiger, Leopard, Gibbons – 4:00 pm
- Budgie bird feeding – 11:00 am & 3:30 pm ($2.75 fee)