The City paid Nellie Phinney $5,000 in cash and assumed a $95,000 mortgage. Critics of the purchase complained that the park was too distant from the city center, but expanding streetcar service and city annexations soon made it accessible.
From Menagerie to World-Class Zoo
The city expanded the animal collection and opened the Woodland Park Zoological Gardens in 1904. The zoo grounds and Green Lake shore were landscaped five years later according to plans drawn up by John C. Olmsted.
Despite local protests, the zoo was separated from the balance of Woodland Park by the construction of Highway 99 (Aurora Avenue N) in the early 1930s. The City undertook a series of revolutionary exhibit and habitat improvements beginning in the 1970s, and the Woodland Park Zoo is now regarded as one of the top 10 in the nation.