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Bruemmer Park Zoo The Niagara Zoo - Bruemmer Park Zoo Review + Thoughts

Discussion in 'United States' started by birdsandbats, 17 Aug 2020.

  1. birdsandbats

    birdsandbats Well-Known Member

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    The Niagara Escarpment is a natural dolomitic limestone cliff that stretches across much of the Great Lakes region of North America. Beginning its journey northwest of Milwaukee, the cliff goes past the great Horicon Marsh and passes Lake Winnebago, before going up the Door Peninsula and Washington Island. It hops under Lake Michigan and makes it to Upper Michigan, where it hugs the southern edge, continuing to follow Lake Michigan. Then it passes through many of the islands in northern Lake Huron, including Drummond Island, Cockburn Island, and Manitoulin Island. The cliff then jumps to mainland Ontario, where it passes straight through the city of Hamilton (just southeast of Toronto) and going between Lakes Ontario and Erie. There at Niagara Falls State Park, the Niagara River passes right over the escarpment creating the park's namesake waterfall. The cliff ends its journey in upstate New York near Lake Ontario.

    Through its journey, the cliff passes through some of the oldest forests in North America, as well as marshes, prairies, urban areas, and multiple Great Lakes. Oh, and a zoo. That's right, in Kewaunee, Wisconsin, just before the cliff reaches the Door Peninsula, there sits Bruemmer Park Zoo, the Zoo on The Ledge.



    Date of visit: August 16 2020

    Bruemmer Park Zoo is a 3.6 acre facility in Kewaunee, Wisconsin. It opened in 1936. The zoo is clearly divided into two sections, the "old zoo" and the "new expansion". I'll start with the old zoo.

    Despite making up just over 3 acres of the zoo's 3.6 acre footprint, this section has only 1.5 enclosures. A very small section of the old zoo is part of the Domestic Goat/Domestic Sheep yard (more on this enclosure in the new expansion section). But the rest of this section is made up of a giant mixed yard for White-tailed Deer and a single Domestic Swan Goose. The yard itself is fine, being a mix of forest and open, grassy areas. But there is a massive loss here. White-tailed Deer are as common as dirt throughout most of eastern North America. This 3.6 acre zoo has devoted about 3 acres to an extremely common species that can easily be seen wild IN THE VERY PARK THE ZOO IS IN!!!!!!!! Seriously, I only visited the zoo. I did not walk any of the trails in the park, and I STILL managed to see a wild deer while I was here. To add insult to injury, there is no pool in the enclosure, so the Swan Goose has no place to swim. I'm not apposed to this zoo having deer (though I think the zoo would be vastly improved without them) but surely it would be better to split that 3 acres into smaller enclosures for different species. This zoo should go look at Ochsner Park Zoo and get some tips from them for utilizing space to the fullest.

    This very enclosure has another glaring underutilization: the escarpment. It passes right through the middle of the exhibit. For one thing, this means the deer and goose can't even access the lower half of the exhibit! That's right, half of this already huge exhibit is pointless! Another thing to see is that the zoo has not utilized its location along the escarpment very well. Bioparc de Doué-la-Fontaine is a zoo located in an old rock quarry, and therefore has many cliffs on its site. but Zoo de Doué isn't creating giant paddocks for species that can't use them! No! Zoo de Doué uses its cliffs to the fullest for species that can fully utilize them, like this one for Markhors or this one for Snow Leopards. I realize that Bruemmer Park isn't very big, but surely they can utilize their cliff on a smaller scale!

    The new expansion does utilize the escarpment, thankfully. There are some small but great exhibits for Bobcats, Golden Pheasants, and Arctic Foxes which have practically no horizontal space, but go straight up the cliff for plenty of vertical space. It is nice to see exhibits that actually use the zoo's unique geography. Here you can see another part of the Domestic Sheep/Goat exhibit as well, using part of the ledge. This is great, except that all the food and water is on top of the cliff, and the goats and sheep have to reason to ever go down. And from the looks of it while I was there, they never do.





    I usually do the awards section here, but here I want to summarize this whole review in two words: "missed opportunity". This zoo has a unique setting, but for the most part fails to use this setting in any meaningful way.

    But, luckily, by the looks of the new expansion, the zoo seems to understand and fixing its fault. The zoo has plenty of room to expand into Bruemmer Park, both along and away from the escarpment, but before that I would like to see the deer either leave the zoo or to have their space drastically reduced. This could easily be turned into several large exhibits, and I would like to see the escarpment utilized here. The zoo should bring in species that would actually use the vertical space. Perhaps Klipspringers or Bighorn Sheep? I really do hope whoever is in charge of this zoo sees this review, because a Bruemmer Park Zoo that fully utilizes it setting and space would truly be a wonderful zoo.
     
    Last edited: 17 Aug 2020
  2. birdsandbats

    birdsandbats Well-Known Member

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    Also, the zoo has free-ranging Indian Peafowl. I didn't know where to put that in the review.
     
  3. Roadrunnerfromhell

    Roadrunnerfromhell Member

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    Didn't this zoo have or had snowy owls?
     
  4. birdsandbats

    birdsandbats Well-Known Member

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    None today but I can't speak for the past.
     
  5. birdsandbats

    birdsandbats Well-Known Member

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    I went again today and was shocked to see a hidden exhibit that I had missed last time - a grassy aviary filled with Ring-necked Pheasants. I saw ~50 and I think there were probably around 50 more hidden in the grass. I assume the zoo raises them for release? The exhibit is outside what I thought was the footprint of the zoo, meaning more of the zoo is empty space than I thought.
     
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  6. Smaggledagle

    Smaggledagle Well-Known Member

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    Full species list?
     
  7. birdsandbats

    birdsandbats Well-Known Member

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    A full species list is already contained within the review and other posts, but if you want it in that format:

    1. Domestic Goat, Domestic Sheep
    2. White-tailed Deer, Domestic Swan Goose
    3. Bobcat
    4. Golden Pheasant
    5. Arctic Fox
    6. Ring-necked Pheasant

    Free-roaming: Indian Peafowl
     
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  8. birdsandbats

    birdsandbats Well-Known Member

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    Just some interesting area stats I decided to look at:

    Total Zoo Space:
    Total area of zoo footprint (excluding Ring-necked Pheasant aviary): 3.6 acres
    Zoo+unused park space surrounding it it: 15.3 acres

    Exhibit space:
    Deer/goose exhibit: 2.6 acres
    Goat/sheep exhibit: 6,200 square feet
    Combined area of Bobcat, Golden Pheasant, and Arctic Fox exhibits: 3,800 square feet
    Ring-necked Pheasant exhibit: 0.4 acres

    Deer/goose exhibit space:
    Area above the cliff (AKA area the animals can actually access): 1.4 acres
    Area below the cliff: 1.2 acres

    My points are this: 1. This zoos has a lot of room to expand, but it should also make sure that the exhibits are only as large as they need to be. The deer exhibit takes up most of the current zoo footprint, and is taking up tons of space, and wasting a perfectly good natural cliff.

    I also the zoo knows how to expand correctly. The zoo should bring in animals that can utilize the topography of the zoo well. Also, the zoo's master plan calls for the deer exhibit to be expanded!!!! The entire exhibit is already a waste of space and I hope this does not mean the rest of the future exhibits will be that disappointing.
     
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