Historic Pavilion restored at Lake Superior Zoo

By KBJR News 1

July 16, 2014 Updated Jul 16, 2014 at 6:17 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- The Lake Superior Zoo is celebrating the completion of its newly renovated historic pavilion. The restoration is an example of how the zoo is embracing its history, with an eye to the future..

The zoo suffered hard after the 2012 floods, but the restoration of the pavilion is a sign of better times on the horizon.

"We're moving forward and we'll be tackling more projects in the future and we're glad to have this one done" said CEO of the Lake Superior Zoo, Dawn Mackety.

The building was originally built in the 1930's by the "Works Progress Administration" with local bluestone.

"We're taking a piece of the zoo's history, we really shined it up put some investment into it and turned it into something that's really a beautiful modern building and clearly still a piece of the zoo's history." said Minnesota Senator, Roger Reinert.

The nearly 521-thousand dollar project was funded by a variety of sources, including Legacy Amendment Arts and Cultural Heritage Funds.

"Sometimes people wonder where those funds go, well I encourage them to come out here and see what happened with the pavilion because it went from not so nice to just gorgeous" said Reinert.

The pavilion is now a three-season special event and education center for hosting the zoo's educational programming and special events.

"If the weather is bad, we've now got a second site to do indoor activities for folks and we're able to do special events, parties and meetings, things like that. It's very exciting for us to restore an historical building as well as provide another source of revenue and programming for us" said Mackety.

Which is just what the zoo needs in order to bring back some attractions to make up for what was lost during the flood and plans are being worked out.

"The Lake Superior Zoological Society is working with the city of Duluth on a planning process and in the next couple months we should have a plan for the future of the zoo" said Mackety.

And the renovation of the pavilion is the first step in bringing that future closer to the present.

The zoo also plans to continue holding events to bring people to the zoo including the Run like an Animal 5k on August 2nd.

Bryce Henry