TSGS Cruiser Blog

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Mesker Park Zoo Lion's Head


Well, where is the lion's head?

My apologies for my delay in announcing the location of the lion's head. Memorial Day was much busier than I had thought it would be. Part of my time was spent with grandchildren, part with going to two cemeteries, but a big chunk of time was discovering new information on my wife's birth family going back three more generations!

OK, everyone should know by now that the lion's head is in Evansville's Mesker Park Zoo. I believe that the lion's head was part of the old Karl Knecht Building that housed the "Big Cats" (lions, tigers, etc.). About 1989, this building was torn down and soon a new building was being built on the same site. This building is the Discovery Center (opened in 1992) that is near the old entrance in the park's south eastern part, high on the hill above the Monkey Ship. The lion's head must have been salvaged and placed on the Discovery Center building's north side toward the west end. As you go out the building's north exit there is a very large round grinding stone lying flat on a pedestal that makes it into one large round bench for people to sit & rest. The lion's head is just to the west of this bench on the north exterior wall. This area basically just takes you outside the building and you can walk around to the west side where the main entry is to the Discovery Center. See this PDF map of the zoo: http://www.meskerparkzoo.com/tour/MPZ_Map_Final.pdf

Tyrone Bragg was the first person to make a guess and he was so close. He thought it was the building that had the "big cats" which was correct before 1989 when that building was torn down. No one came closer... so, Ty, my Air Force ROTC buddy from our college days at Evansville College (now - University of Evansville), is the winner of the mystery of the lion's head by default! Patty Frey was second to guess the "big cat" house. Several people came close to getting the answer: Diane West of Huntsville, Alabama was one of the earliest to zero in on the possible location, but did not name the Discovery Center. Diane married my nephew Glenn West and may have only been in Evansville once when her family spent the night with us on their way from South Carolina to her home in Iowa. My buddy from Warrick County & the Giant Flea Market, Joseph Brown, may have realized it was on the Discovery Center, but he never actually said so.

I want to thank everyone for participating in this little mystery of the location of the zoo's lion head. I hope you learned a little more about Evansville's Zoo. Go there to see the world's oldest hippo, Donna, who will turn 60 this year. The Amazonia Exhibit is worth seeing all by itself. If you have not been to the zoo for a while, there is a new entrance to the zoo off Mesker Park Drive right across from the old amusement park that had one of the world's largest merry-go-rounds!

- Thanks, JGWest

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