Zoo Discovery Barn is back

Under sunny skies and rising temperatures, along with the roar of the lion and shrieks from the monkeys providing the soundtrack, the Discovery Barn at the Roosevelt Park Zoo was officially declared back and open for visitors to enjoy.

The Discovery Barn was redesigned after sustaining flood damage in 2011 and pronounced officially open Thursday, with a ribbon cutting ceremony and refreshments.

Originally built in 1997, the Discovery Barn was constructed by students from Quentin Burdick Job Corps. The barn housed a series of static, or non-living, exhibits over the years and has been used as the center of the zoo’s summer camp programs. Since the Discovery Barn was flood insured and not dependent on the Federal Emergency Management Agency to restore, the Minot Park District was able to make improvements to the barn.

Representatives from the Minot Chamber of Commerce, Power of the Purse, Roosevelt Park Zoo and other community members gathered at the ribbon-cutting ceremony to re-open the Discovery Barn. Dave Merritt, zoo director, gave a brief speech thanking everyone who was involved. He thanked Power of the Purse for having faith in the zoo and stepping up to the plate, as well as the Minot Park District, Quentin Burdick Job Corps and the zoo staff. Students from Job Corps helped construct the Discovery Barn in 1997 and it seemed fitting that they would help with construction again, Merritt said. “And the (zoo) staff is wonderful,” he added.

“Thanks to a generous grant from Power of the Purse, we have been able to upgrade this building to house animals year round,” Merritt said in a press release. “After all, people come to the zoo to see animals.”

New things will appear at the zoo year by year and the Discovery Barn is just one way in which it fits with the zoo’s long-range plans. The Roosevelt Park Zoo opens daily at 10 a.m.