New Mural Features Mini Zoo

Date posted - June 5, 2016

Mini Zoo Mural Going Up

New mural is hung in Rock Rapids

Rock Rapids, Iowa — Another new mural is up in Rock Rapids — the city of murals.

This one, the 32nd mural painted, remembers the Island Park Mini Zoo that was destroyed in the flood of 2014. It has been mounted on the east side of the Cooperative Farmers Elevator’s warehouse building, west across the street from the post office on North Story Street in Rock Rapids.

We talked to the Rock Rapids Mural Society’s Judy Gustafson. She tells us what prompted the idea for the mural.

She says that Peterson was the caretaker of the animals at the Mini Zoo for many years. She says that the Petersons gave the money for the mural, along with a small amount of money in a fund for the animals when the zoo was destroyed. Gustafson says the tribute was written by Mary Peterson and the tribute plaque was also donated by Bret Heitritter, who makes the plaques for all the murals.

According to Gustafson, the mural is true to life.

She says not many people are aware, but not all the animals died or moved away from the park during the flood. One rabbit, named “Freckles” remains in the park area.

While they can’t promise the same types of animals, the Rock Rapids City Council is planning a new mini zoo. This time the Council plans to have it further from the flood plain. At last report, the council had decided to use the current open shelter house west of the swimming pool for the new Mini Zoo, and put a shelter house near where the old mini zoo was.

Gustafson says that there are more murals in the works, including a DGR mural, honoring the three men who started the engineering firm that is now DGR Engineering — John DeWild, Dick Grant, and Bob Reckert. It is to be on the side of the building that housed their engineering firm in downtown Rock Rapids, just west of Frontier Bank. The engineering firm moved to a new building in southern Rock Rapids several years ago, and the old building on which the mural will be hung is now the Lyon County Annex building.

She says the Lion Banjo Company mural that was hung recently on the Lyon County Historical Society building will be dedicated at a coffee on June 10th at 9:45 AM.

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