On October 5, 1993, Prospect Park Zoo reopened under the management of WCS. The renovation of the Prospect Park Zoo was the final component in WCS’s City Zoos Project, following the revitalization and reopening of the Central Park and Queens Zoos in 1988 and 1992.
The Prospect Park Zoo was officially opened by then Brooklyn Borough President Howard Golden throwing the inaugural fish to the sea lions while Society Chairman Howard Phipps Jr., Parks Commissioner Betsy Gotbaum, and the crowd looked on.
The original Prospect Park Zoo started in the late 1800s as a menagerie and formally opened as Prospect Park Zoo, under New York City management, in 1935. After management transferred to WCS in the 1980s, renovation of the park began in August 1989. Architectural elements and the original layout were preserved while the exhibits were replaced with natural habitats for the animals. Larger animals were moved to the bigger zoos while small animals remained.
The new zoo’s design placed an emphasis on educating children about wildlife conservation, with the WCS 1994 annual report referring to it as a “conservation-oriented children’s wildlife center in Brooklyn.”