What’s NEW at the ZOO?

The past two years have been a time of great transition for the Lake Superior Zoo! The City of Duluth (the owners of the zoo) and the Lake Superior Zoological Society (the non-profit organization that operates the zoo) have developed a new concept plan that creates new exhibits, new expansion into former park space, as well as major renovation to an existing flood-damaged structure.
Proposed Plan for the LSZoo and Fairmount Park

Several of these new exhibits are currently being designed, which will be followed by a capital campaign to raise funds needed to build them. Changes which will occur over the next few years include:

  • NEW zoo footprint – all on ONE side of Kingsbury Creek, and expanding up into the existing Fairmount Park area. Total acreage will change from 16 to 10 acres.
  • NEW Bear Country exhibit – former Polar Shores exhibit will be transformed into a new exhibit for brown or grizzly bear. This expansive enclosure will provide up close bear-viewing, dirt for digging, a pool for lounging in, and large habitat structures for a very natural feel for our new bears.
  • NEW exhibits for the snow leopard and Siberian lynx.
  • NEW Forest Discovery Zone – a beautiful new section of the zoo featuring different animal species from northern forest regions and nature play areas.
  • NEW Amphitheater/Outdoor Classroom – education and entertainment opportunities expand with this beautiful new seating and stage area.
  • NEW changes to main entrance building – including indoor play areas and new animals exhibits.
  • NEW and improved Kingsbury Creek – the Minnesota DNR has done some amazing restoration work that will greatly mitigate the chance of flooding in future years.
  • NEW Fairmount Park – connecting existing trail systems with new trail systems, and creating a community gathering place in the new, revitalized St. Louis River Corridor. This change will also provide new opportunities for new zoo outdoor programs.

Changes are Necessary!

In the meantime… As a part of the transition to our new zoo, there have been a number of changes to our animal collection along the Northern Territory trail. A few of our elderly animals passed away including female brown bear, wolf pack, and Pere David’s deer. Two other animals were moved to sanctuaries in 2016, because their exhibits no longer met acceptable standards. Max, male cougar, was transferred to the Wildcat Sanctuary in Sandstone, MN, and Trouble, male brown bear, was transferred to The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg, CO. Both are doing very well in their new homes!

Here’s what’s happening!

Since 2016 the following animal exhibits have been added:


  • Brush-tailed bettongs, sugar gliders and Gouldian finches in Australia/Oceania
  • Turkey vulture (summer) / skunk (winter) exhibit near Barnyard
  • Nigerian dwarf goats and a second llama in Barnyard
  • Coral reef tank in Lower Main
  • Spacious enclosures for parrots in Griggs Learning Center
  • Silver fox exhibit outside Primate Conservation Center
  • Outdoor play yard for ring-tailed lemur troop outside Primate Conservation Center


  • Newly built Reeve’s muntjac yard
  • Two new Yellow-billed hornbills in lower level of zoo central
  • Three new ferrets to Grigg’s Learning Center: Beethoven, Mozart, & Igor
  • Four baby prairie dogs, two speckled mousebirds, and one ring-tailed lemur was born this summer
  • Beautiful Butterflies! An Up-Close Experience!  A walk through exhibit opened this summer and will be open again next year
  • Two Merten’s monitor lizards in Australia

New guest experiences!

  • New behind-the-scenes tours and experiences (Click here for pricing and to schedule!)
  • New animal enrichments and keeper talks
  • A variety of educational programs to choose from throughout the year!

It’s an exciting time at the zoo!

Thank you for taking the time to read about our plans! It takes time and money to develop these plans. We are truly excited about the new future for our zoo and appreciate the patience that members and supporters have shown during these changing times.

The Lake Superior Zoo will be a place that we call can all enjoy and be proud of!