How Binghamton’s Ross Park Zoo Became America’s 5th Oldest Zoo
I think one of the underappreciated attractions in the Binghamton area is Ross Park Zoo. I liked going as a child but I loved it even more when I was able to take my daughter, Tara.
We would go there for the kid-friendly Howloween and we would take the Trolley to the zoo from the UHS parking lot on Pennsylvania Ave. It was like going back in time and he gave me some memories that I'll never forget. Speaking of going back in time.
Ross Park Zoo opened in 1875 and is the 5th oldest zoological institution in the country. They are only behind Philadelphia, Chicago, Cincinnati, and Buffalo. So how did Ross Park get its start?
History of Ross Park Zoo
Erastus Ross was a wealthy businessman and he donated a 90-acre plot to the city of Binghamton. In 1887, The first electric-run trolleys were in Binghamton and a line would run to the park.
In the early days, there was a roller coaster, swings and other amusements. In 1896, Stone pillars were erected to welcome visitors as they arrived on the trolley or in their carriage.
Ross Park Zoo added a bear exhibit and the now famous park carousel in 1919. Slowly attendance declined and was almost closed down. In 1966, the Southern Tier Zoological Society was formed and in 1972, an appropriation for the zoo was put into the Binghamton budget.
The zoo got its first accreditation in 1987 and has undergone many changes throughout the years. The asphalt and concrete have become winding wooded paths and exhibits with over 100 different species. Read about their complete history here.
Here's another memory for you, it's the Ross Park Zoo song
Ross Park Zoo Song
America's 5th oldest zoo is located at 60 Morgan Road in Binghamton.