Did You Know Evansville is Home to a Replica of the Santa Maria?
You know it's really true what they say, you learn something new every day.
Of course, a popular piece of Evansville history is the legendary Mesker Park Zoo monkey ship, but did you know the monkey ship is considered a "reasonable replica" of one of Christopher Columbus' ships? I JUST learned about this the other day! Well, not about the monkey ship, but about it being a replica of the Santa Maria.
My husband and I became parents last year, and since we have a little one now, we're trying to find more family-friendly things to do. We got zoo memberships for Christmas, and on nice days we like to walk around the zoo. Last week we took Riley (our 6-month-old) to the zoo and decided to make a stop by the old monkey ship. There I saw this sign:
The Monkey Ship is one of the oldest structures in the park. Gilmore haynie, zoo director, wanted a bar-less, raised structure surrounded by water to exhubit rhesus monkeys. In the summer of 1933, this landmark was completd with funds provided by Evansville's Rotary Club and 20 rhesus macaques were added. The concrete structure was built as a "reasonably accurate replica" of Christopher Columbus' Santa Maria at 1/3 scale in order that the animals thereon might be comparable to the ship in size." This Evansville landmark has gone through several renovations buyt the concrete ship remains the same. Substantial funding for the 2002 renovation and bumper boat ride was provided in part by the Zoo Guild.
I had no idea that this ship I'd seen my whole life, was a replica of the Santa Maria! I thought that was such a cool little fact. While right now the monkey ship sits by itself as a landmark inside of Mesker Park Zoo, I remember being a kid and riding the bumper boats around it, I'm not quite old enough to remember when it had monkeys on it.
Do you remember when the monkey ship still housed monkeys?