Zoo is the heart of Druid Hill Park

Rob Kasper wrote a heartfelt editorial on Saturday about the beauty and charm of Baltimore's largest and most vital public park, Druid Hill ("Heart of a city," Sept. 4). Unfortunately, Druid Hill Park's heart, and greatest asset, was hardly mentioned.

The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, formerly known as the Baltimore Zoo, is literally in the center of the park, encompassing 135 acres of the park's 745. It employs 240 people and cares for more than 1,200 animals representing more than 175 species. On any given day, 500 to 6,000 people will visit the zoo, mostly people from the metropolitan Baltimore community. Visitors walk through a beautiful park that is an education, research, conservation and species preservation center.

The zoo campus also includes 55 buildings, including a veterinary hospital. A few of these buildings are on the National Historic Register.

Druid Hill Park is an old park. The Maryland Zoo is the third oldest zoo in the nation. Druid Hill Park still thrives, and the Maryland Zoo remains, after 135 years, the greatest reason for its vibrancy.

Surely Mr. Kasper has some fond memories of visits to the Zoo with his children? If not, we would welcome him here for a tour.

Donald P. Hutchinson, Baltimore

The writer is President and CEO of the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore.

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