Signarama Evansville has been an ardent supporter of its community, and the organizations in it. So when our local zoo, the Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden — the oldest zoo in Indiana — wanted to celebrate their anniversary, they asked Signarama to help them.
Mesker Park Zoo currently houses over 700 animals, and it covers 45 acres on Evansville’s northwest side. It’s open to the public every single day of the year, with different events planned throughout the year.
Signarama Evansville was asked to create several different 4′ x 6′ cutout photos — photos placed on a stiff backer (usually plywood, foam core, or other substrate) and then cut out with a laser or router.
The photos we used depicted different zoo events and exhibits that the residents of Evansville would recognize. It’s a huge, almost emotional, remembrance of our famous zoo.
Some of our photo cutouts include the zoo’s founder (we made that one 8 feet tall), as well as many animals and exhibits. But my favorite was also one of my favorite exhibits from my childhood.
There used to be a small pirate ship with monkeys on it. They lived on the boat, which sat in a moat, that kept visitors at a safe distance. Kids absolutely loved the “Monkey Boat,” and it’s still a favorite of many now-adults. Unfortunately, the zoo didn’t like it so much — monkeys have a habit of flinging. . . stuff, which turned the moat water rancid — so they had to remove the exhibit.
Several other events and exhibits, like the Monkey Boat, are sprinkled throughout the display to help zoo visitors remember its long and colorful history.
This was a neat project for me, and I was proud that Signarama Evansville got to be a part of it, since I spent a lot of time at the Mesker Park Zoo growing up. The display will be up for a long time, so visitors can browse its history and rekindle some memories from their own childhood.