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Miller Park Zoo Miller Park Zoo Species List and Review

Discussion in 'United States' started by CMP, 28 Jul 2023.

  1. CMP

    CMP Well-Known Member

    25 Oct 2020
    Champaign, Illinois
    I recently visited the Miller Park Zoo, which I believe hasn't had a full species list on ZC yet, despite its many interesting species. Being only an hour away from me, (And it being my birthday ;)) I decided to make the trip on July 18th. U thought its collection was very good for a small zoo, but the exhibitry was more hit-and-miss, with some nice ones but also very poor ones.

    (SNS)= Signed, not seen

    (Unsigned)= Seen, not signed

    Nice exhibit with shallow pool greeting visitors as they first walk into the zoo
    1. Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus) (b)
    Standard but spacious tortoise exhibit
    2. Radiated Tortoise (Geochelone radiata) (r)​

    Nicely furnished new addition, but I couldn't find any inhabitants!
    3. DeBrazza’s Monkey (Cercopithecus neglectus) (SNS) (m)

    Standard Bald Eagle exhibit in a nicely forested part of the zoo
    4. Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) (b)
    Short-fenced enclosure that runs next to the path
    5. Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina) (r)
    Average Red Panda exhibit for a smaller zoo, with ample climbing routes
    6. Red Panda (Ailurus fulgens) (m)
    Standard small-zoo lemur enclosure, with lots of enrichment and climbing routes but not the most aesthetically pleasing. The lemurs themselves were fun to watch in the exhibit, however.
    7. Red-ruffed Lemur (Varecia rubra) (m)
    Standard large, brushy, wolf exhibit, with big viewing windows to make up for obscured or nonexistent views of hidden canid
    8. Red Wolf (Canis rufus) (m)
    Small enclosure in front of the zoo lab- the former ringtail enclosure, I believe
    9. Pallas’ Cat (Otocolobus manul) (m)​

    10. Zoo Lab

    This interesting building is more of a assorted small animal house than a 'lab', with mostly average terrariums and enclosures. There are some interesting species here, with around 40 in total.

    A nice group of herps (And an insect) in some nice terrariums.
    -Axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanus) (a)
    -Colorado River Toad (Incilius alvarius) (a)
    -Madagascar Hissing Cockroach (Gromphadorhina portentosa) (i)
    -Mossy Leaf-tailed Gecko (Uroplatus sikorae) (r)
    -Tentacled Snake (Erpeton tentaculatum) (r), feeder fish sp.

    Cold-Blooded Hunters
    Wall of small, but appropriately sized, and well furnished terrariums
    • Gila Monster (Heloderma suspectum) (r)
    • Emperor Spotted Newt (Neurergus kaiseri) (a)
    • Tarantula sp. (Signed ‘Araneae sp.’)
    • Anthony’s Poison Arrow Frog (Epipedobates anthonyi) (a)
    • Arboreal Mantella (Mantella laevigata) (a)
    • Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina) (r)
    • Green Anole (Anolis carolinensis) (r)
    Very engaging and active species in an acceptable enclosure. The one at LPZ looks nicer overall to me, but I think they are actually fairly comparable in size.
    -Dwarf Mongoose (Helogale parvula) (m)

    Enclosure faces outdoors and is on the smaller end
    -Ringtail (Bassariscus astutus) (m)

    Two more terrariums, similar to the others
    -Western Hognose (Heterodon nasicus) (r)
    -Giant Cockroach (Blaberus giganteus) (i)
    Coral Reef Tank
    Standard small coral reef tank
    • Sailfin Tang (Zebrasoma veliferum) (f)
    • Azure damselfish (Chrysiptera hemicyanea) (f)
    • Pajama Cardinalfish (Sphaeramia nematoptera) (f)
    • Yellow Tang (Zebrasoma flavescens) (f)
    • Green chromis (Chromis viridis) (f)
    • Turbo Snail (Turbo fluctuosa) (i)
    • Hoeven’s Wrasse (Halichoeres melanurus) (SNS) (f), Mandarinfish (Synchiropus splendidus) (SNS) (f), Black sailfin blenny (Atrosalarias fuscus) (SNS) (f), Skunk Cleaner Shrimp (Lysmata amboinensis) (SNS) (i), Blue-legged Hermit Crab (SNS) (Clibanarius tricolor) (i)
    The spiny mice could use a more intricate or larger enclosure, but they seemed happy enough and were very fun to watch feeding
    -Cairo Spiny Mouse (Acomys cahirinus) (m)

    -Exhibit empty

    Two more terrariums. The one for the toad was a bit bare, but spacious
    -Crested Gecko (Correlophus ciliatus) (r)
    -Great Plains Toad (Bufo cognatus) (a)

    Budgie Aviary (Closed due to Avian Influenza, birds still viewable through door)
    • Budgerigar (Melopsittacus undulatus) (b)
    Nicly furnished and dimly lit tall terrarium
    -Red-Tailed Boa (Boa constrictor) (r)

    Not the worst loris exhibit I've seen, but it isn't very dark at all

    -Pygmy Slow Loris (Nycticebus pygmaeus) (m)

    Standard beehive with window

    -Honey Bee (Apis mellifera) (i)

    Group of more nicely done terrariums, with lots of foliage
    -Tonkin Bug-eyed Frog (Tholoderma corticale) (a)
    -Western Archerfish (Toxotes kimberleyensis) (Singed as T. oligolepis) (f), Tonkin Bug-eyed Frog (Tholoderma corticale) (SNS) (a)
    -Smokey Jungle Frog (Leptodactylus pentadactylus) (a)
    -Dyeing Poison Dart Frog(Dendrobates tinctorius) (a), Yellow-headed Poison Dart Frog (Dendrobates leucomelas) (a)
    -New Caledonian Giant Gecko (Rhacodactylus leachianus)
    (Row of 3 BTS raptors enclosures somewhat visible from bathroom exit, including Barred owl and Red-tailed hawk)

    Nice enclosure with a pond
    11. Swan Goose (Anser cygnoides) (b), Bar-headed Goose (Anser indicus) (b)

    A good amount of space for this crane species
    12. Hooded Crane (Grus monacha) (b)
    13. Former Woodland Caribou (Currently unoccupied)

    Next to the new South America area, but a prexisting enclosure, a grassy slope for this South American camelid
    14. Guanaco (Lama guanicoe) (m)

    The new South American exhibits definitely look brand new, and are mostly just nicely furnished grassy enclosures. Bush Dogs seem to have been scrapped, but I suppose there is some space where they could potentially fit them in next to the Tropical Rainforest Exhibit Building.
    15. Western Santa Cruz Galapagos Tortoise (Signed as Chelonoidis porteri) (r)
    16. Giant Anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla) (m)
    17. Chilean Pudu (Pudu Puda)

    Standard enclosure for a very active pair of NAROs, with some nice water features and logs providing enrichment.
    18. North American River Otter (Lutra candensis) (m)
    19. American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) (Exhibit drained/unoccupied)

    20. Tropical Rainforest Exhibit Building
    Standard tank in the Lobby
    -Red-bellied Piranha (Pygocentrus nattereri) (f)

    A really choice selection of birds in the main atrium, with the highlight being the lively Trogon
    • Scarlet Ibis (Eudocimus ruber) (b)
    • Greenback Trogon (Trogon viridis) (b)
    • Black-necked Stilt (Himantopus mexicanus) (b)
    • Nicobar Pigeon (Caloenas nicobarica) (b)
    • Bali Mynah (Leucopsar rothschildi) (b)
    • Golden-crested Myna (Ampeliceps coronatus) (b)
    • Troupial (Icterus icterus), Saffron Finch (Sicalis flaveola) (b)
    • Red-capped Cardinal (Paroaria gularis) (b)
    • Silver-beaked Tanager (Ramphocelus Carbo) (b)
    • Turquoise Tanager (Tangara mexicana) (b)
    • Blue-gray Tanager (Thraupis episcopus) (b)
    • Rufous-crowned Tanager (Stilpnia cayana fulvescens) (b)
    • Blue-necked Tanager (Stilpnia cyanicollis) (b)
    • Violaceous Euphonia (Euphonia violacea) (b)
    • Crested Wood Partridge (Rollulus rouloul) (b) (Unsigned)
    • Scarlet-faced Liocichla (Liocichla ripponi) (b) (Unsigned)
    • Red-billed Leiothrix (Leiothrix lutea) (b) (Unsigned)
    • Black-naped fruit dove (Ptilinopus melanospilus) (b) (SNS), Green Honeycreeper (Chlorophanes spiza) (b) (SNS), Purple Honeycreeper (Cyanerpes caeruleus) (b) (SNS)
    Three primate enclosures around the sides of the atrium, all with an acceptable amount of space as well as branches and logs to climb on. The Saki and Agouti enclosure is a bit small, but each species has its own space.
    -Geoldi’s Monkey (Callimico goeldii) (m)

    -Cottontop Tamarin (Saguinus oedipus) (m)
    -White-faced Saki (Pithecia pithecia) (m), Red-rumped Agouti (Pasyprocta leporina) (m)

    Two nicely planted terrariums on a viewing deck
    -Mimic Poison Dart Frog (Ranitomeya imatator) (a)
    -Curlyhair tarantula (Tliltocatl albopilosus) (i)

    A large terrarium at the end of the hall on the way back to the lobby, with a particularly colorful individual
    -Indochinese Box Turtle (Cuora galbinifrons) (r)
    21. Katthoefer Animal Building (Closed due to covid vaccinations, but I asked a keeper who gave me this list of species)
    • Pygmy Slow Loris (Nycticebus pygmaeus) (m)
    • Timor Python (r)
    • Reticulated Python (r)
    • Prehensile Tailed Skink (r)
    • Prehensile Tailed Porcupine (m)
    • Bat species (m)
    The reasoning given for the Katthoefer Animal Building's closure seemed odd, until it was explained that some complications resulting from Covid-19 negatively affected one of the animals in said building, so it is closed until all the inhabitants can be vaccinated out of an abundance of caution.

    Row of grotto-like exhibits behind the Katthoefer Animal Building, which also has indoor viewing for the four species.

    22. Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae) (m)
    23. Mueller’s Gibbon (Hylobates muelleri) (m)
    24. Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia) (m)
    25. Francois' Langur (Trachypithecus francoisi) (m)​

    The two primate exhibits I found to be of high-quality. Both the Langurs and the Gibbons were engaged with enrichment and off the floor, with one of the gibbons even putting on quite the show of brachiation. The Snow Leopard enclosure is quite similar to the old one at LPZ, small and more suitable for red pandas or the like, although the STLzoo also has a similarly sized one. I don't think I need to get started on the tiger exhibit... Lets just say that the zoo seems to be planning to let the geriatric individual live out his days here. Maybe the Pallas Cat can get a much nicer exhibit soon.

    In all, I counted around 25 species of mammal, 20 of which were seen
    -Around 25 species of bird, 23 of which were seen, and two more technically bts
    -Around 15 species of reptile, 13 of which were seen
    -12 species of amphibian
    -Around 10 fish species, 7 of which were seen and signed
    -Around 7 invert species, 5 of which were seen and signed to species level
    For a total of around 95 species, 82 of which were seen

    For an AZA accredited institution, Miller Park Zoo is an interesting one. While it is small, it still has a number of nice species and some nice exhibits. However, the poor exhibits are glaring, with the Tiger one being a bit infamous. I enjoyed my time there, spending most of it birdwatching in the Tropical Rainforest Exhibit or looking for the interesting small animals in the ZooLab. I would recommend a visit if you are driving through the area.
  2. JVM

    JVM Well-Known Member 10+ year member

    1 Nov 2013
    Chicago, IL
    Thank you for putting this together! Besides the big cat exhibits, it all sounds fairly positive, which is great for a small collection. I'm hoping to visit sometime in the next two months.
    CMP likes this.
  3. Persephone

    Persephone Well-Known Member

    7 May 2022
    United States
    I was curious where they put the South America exhibit. I suppose that makes sense, but from your description it doesn’t sound like they actually did much with that area of the zoo except changing the species lol. (Nvm was looking for a map and it seems like they changed the paths and added some buildings.) I could’ve sworn there was an owl aviary and Australia section (kangaroos, kookaburra, maybe another bird). Was that removed? I suppose South America could have expanded there.

    I’m not sure if Miller Park’s tiger exhibit is outright the worst exhibit I’ve seen in an AZA zoo, there’s a case for Buffalo’s giraffes and gorillas, but it is really bad. I was pleasantly surprised by the aviary in the same building. There are a few snow leopard exhibits competing, too. Zoos seem to forget they’re big cats. Potawatomi, NEW, and Miller Park all have questionable ones. They had guans back when I visited and they were very fun indeed. You didn’t miss much with the budgie aviary.

    Miller Park is probably the worst of the three central Illinois zoos I’ve visited (Scovil, Peoria, MP). Peoria is simply much larger and I thought Scovil had a charm to it that Miller Park did not. It’s not bad by any means if we ignore the big cats. Just… not quite living to its potential.
    Osedax, CMP and JVM like this.
  4. JVM

    JVM Well-Known Member 10+ year member

    1 Nov 2013
    Chicago, IL
    That's interesting to know. For a while I was trying to plan a road trip to get through those three, Henson Robinson and Coal Valley all in one, which fell through. It sounds to me a lot like it's a fine zoo that's just undermined because of the poor big cat exhibits. It doesn't seem like anything else there is really a problem and they almost drag the whole zoo down with them.

    I would definitely agree with this overall. The fact Lincoln Park has insisted on still keeping snow leopards in the renovated Wildlife Center is still pretty shocking to me when they otherwise ditched big cats besides lions. To me it always gives this feeling they're being associated with the small cats instead, since they're on the same side as the lynx and red panda. (Not a cat, obviously, but small nonetheless.)
    CMP likes this.
  5. snowleopard

    snowleopard Well-Known Member 15+ year member Premium Member

    1 Dec 2007
    Abbotsford, B.C., Canada
    Thanks for the review and species list. Your write-up will become a great reference point for anyone visiting in the future.

    On my Snowleopard's 2014 Road Trip thread, I visited a whole bunch of small Illinois zoos, and I did Miller Park (5 acres), Scovill (14 acres) and Henson Robinson (14 acres) all on the same day, plus two small Missouri attractions: Butterfly House and the now-closed World Aquarium. Miller Park still had Sun Bears and New Guinea Singing Dogs back then.

    Also, Peoria Zoo was a 7-acre zoo and it doubled in size in 2009 when it added its 7-acre African zone, but then Peoria never really took off and hasn't changed much since. I was expecting big things from that place. For me, a hidden gem was Wildlife Prairie Park, which is sort of like the Northwest Trek of Illinois. :)
    JVM, iluvwhales, Osedax and 1 other person like this.
  6. CMP

    CMP Well-Known Member

    25 Oct 2020
    Champaign, Illinois
    Yes, I somehow forgot to writeup that portion. Here it is:

    Wallaby exhibit
    Typical 'wallaby walkabout' walk-through Australian exhibit, with some nice species but standard exhibitry. The birds are all in smaller mesh cages.
    -Galah Cockatoo (Eolophus roseicapillus) (b)
    -Hill Wallaroo (Macropus robustus) (m), Tammar Wallaby (Macropus eugenii) (m)
    -Salmon-Crested Cockatoo (Cacatua moluccensis) (b)
    -Tawny Frogmouth (Podargus strigoides) (b)
    -Laughing Kookaburra (Dacelo gigas) (b)​
  7. CMP

    CMP Well-Known Member

    25 Oct 2020
    Champaign, Illinois
    Thanks for the kind words, this is what I hoped to accomplish.

    I hope to visit both of these for the first time before the end of summer, and give updates on Scovill too. Time will tell.
    snowleopard likes this.
  8. Osedax

    Osedax Well-Known Member

    16 Jul 2023
    Blue Mountains, Sydney, Australia
    Great species list! What do the (m), (r), (a), (i), (b) etc. mean?
  9. Smaggledagle

    Smaggledagle Well-Known Member

    25 May 2020
    Rhode Island
    mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian, invertebrate
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