Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Abandoned Places: Zoos

Griffith Park Zoo opened in 1912 with all of 15 animals, the second zoo in Los Angeles, the other being the Eastlake Zoo which had been in operation since 1885. By the 50s, it was drawing two million visitors a year. Even so, it was decided that the facilities were underfunded and inadequate and a new zoo, the Los Angeles Zoo, was built not far away and the animals transferred. The Griffith Park facilities have been left as ruins.
Photo by junkyardsparkle and used under the linked license.
Below photos by Don Barrett and used under the linked license.

Riber Castle Wildlife Park (Riber Zoo)
The castle dates back to the 1860s, but it was used as a zoo for about four decades at the end of the 20th Century. Rumors of animal cruelty actually led to raids by animal activists and some animals being released into the wild. Currently, the castle is only a shell.

Belle Isle Zoo
Photo by waxyams and used under the linked license.
Photo by t-dawg and used under the linked license.
Photo by Michael Cory and used under the linked license.
The Belle Isle Zoo is/was in Detroit. There was some scandal involved with the mayor who ordered the closing of the zoo (in order to save the city money). He's in jail; the zoo is closed.

Your bonus photos today are from Zuckerfabrik Greuben, an old mill in Germany built in 1872. But it spent time in the early 20th century as a chocolate factory and as manufacturing plant for aircraft engines during World War II. Its post World War II uses have been less glamorous, and it closed in 1990.

Below photos courtesy of opacity.


  1. Those look like sad places for animals to have lived. Good thing they got closed down.

    Congrats on finishing another A-Z Challenge!

  2. I wonder if any of your zoos are haunted, like Lexa's...A-Z done, congrats!

  3. The Detroit zoo looks like it's actually set in Africa. How weird.
    You did it - completed another year of the Challenge!

  4. They should destroy those zoos. Future archaeologists and anthropologists are going to be pretty confused coming up on their ruins years from now...unless we still have books and your website to explain them that is!
    Congratulations! We made it. Done and did!

  5. Animal ghosts! I shiver at the thought.

  6. I can see Belle Isle outside my window, but I don't recommend going there; since the state took it over I guess the cops are really cracking down on minor infractions--especially for minorities.

    1. The isle is actually not that bad they only closed the zoo and moved it to the nature center.

  7. Of all the places you've featured in the Challenge, the zoos seem to be the worst waste of money to me.


    1. I was imagining all those wild animals being released and roaming around and then you said it HAPPENED, so there might be lions loose in America? Awesome.

    2. Seriously, is ANYTHING left in Detroit?

    3. "Mmm, chocolate." -- Homer Simpson.

    1. There is still some historical places in Deteoit

  9. Those zoos look pretty horrible for the animals. I hope their new homes are the modern type with lots of room for the animals.

    You made it through once again. Way to go.

  10. I never knew they abandoned zoos, but I guess it makes some sense.

    Congrats on making it through the challenge and thanks for dropping by and commenting :)

  11. I can see animal activists storming the castle. That could probably be a video game. Make it past the monsters on each level and free the animals!! :)

    I loved your theme this year. I had such fun looking at the abandoned places, even if it was sad they were in ruins. Congrats on a great theme and on finishing the A-Z! :)

  12. What a cool A to Z theme. Can't wait to look through all the abandoned places :)

  13. Anne: Yeah, older zoos had pretty small cages. Some of them barely large enough to contain the animal.

    JeffO: I didn't find anything about that although I did wonder it. Because of Lexa's theme. But, then, she posted the haunted zoos for me!

    Alex C: I think that was the point. Maybe. It's hard to know.

    Donna: Future archaeologists and anthropologists are going to be super confused about our world, anyway, if anything ever happens to destroy all of our records.

    Rusty: The ghost lion is coming for you!

    Pat: That's cool. I think I want to visit Detroit. I did visit it once, but it was more than 20 years ago.

    Elsie: I don't know. Zoos may be the only habitat some of these animals have pretty soon.

    1. They were let loose in England. That's where that zoo was. Which is not to say that it's never happened in the US; I just don't know.
    2. Pat. That may be it.
    3. Yeah. I mean, I know there was a war and all, but how do you go from chocolate to airplane engines?

    Jo: I think the Los Angeles zoo is supposed to be a "good" zoo example. The other zoos don't have new versions.

    Mark: Everything gets abandoned as soon as it stops producing money.

    Lexa: I liked your theme, too, and I liked that we had some crossover in some of our stuff. Like the zoos.

    elsie: I hope you enjoy them!

  14. I'm not a fan of zoos, the Belle Isle and the Riber Castle zoos are really interesting structures. Too bad they can't be used for something else.

  15. I've been to the L.A.Zoo but I had no idea about the abandoned Griffith Park Zoo.

    Congratulations on finishing another A to Z. I hope in retrospect you have good feelings about it. Loved your series.

    Wrote By Rote
    An A to Z Co-host blog

  16. Zoo is the perfect word for Z :D wow! these photos are amazing, every time I visit your blog I'm more impressed. So sad that the castle is empty now :( but you did a great job, I'll definitely return for story ideas, I'm such a sucker for abandoned and spooky places. Congrats on finishing the challenge :)

  17. Jeanne: I'm interested in zoos if it's for the purpose of teaching kids about the animals and how, actually, animals being in their natural habitat is the better thing, meaning that we should stop destroying those habitats.

    Lee: I'm glad you did.
    I'm still deciding on whether to do a post or not.

    Rajiv: Thanks.

    Haneen: Abandoned and spooky places can be pretty cool. I hope you get some good ideas.

  18. What a great way to end A to Z. That Detroit mayor should have had to live in the closed zoo. Just sayin.

    It's too bad the castle zoo went bad. That would have been really neat to see.

  19. TAS: Thanks!

    Jean: Well, prison is like a zoo, right?

  20. Zoos are a mixed bag. Some are definitely depressing but a few are doing good and important work. The National Zoo in DC, the one I know best, is beautifully landscaped but exhausting if you don't plan carefully - important to park at the bottom of the hill so you're not trudging uphill when you're finished.

  21. Until this post I had never thought about a zoo closing and what would happen to the animals after that happened? Especially those who for reasons was unable to transfer to another zoo. I also wonder why they don't turn this abandoned land into something- if even a park or something.

  22. TAS: Sounds like a place I'd like to visit. I've, of course, been to the San Francisco zoo, but it's been so long I don't remember much about it.

    G_G: When things work well, the animals go to some other zoo. When they don't go well...