Wildlife Conservation Society's jewel-like zoo in Manhattan has existed only since 1988 - yet its full history stretches back to the last century. The evolution of this city landmark launched the modern trend in urban zoos around the nation: the transformation of cages and menagerie-style zoos into natural habitat exhibits that educate, involve, and connect people to our natural world. Since the 1860's, animals could be found at Fifth Avenue and 64th Street in Central Park. At first, the collection was simply a growing group of donated animals - from 72 "white swans" to a black bear cub. In 1864, the State Legislature authorized the city Parks Commission to establish a zoo, and the more formal Central Park Menagerie was established. In 1934, then- Commissioner of Parks Robert Moses remodeled the Menagerie into the Central Park Zoo. A Works Progress Administration (WPA) project, this tiny "storybook" zoo set a standard for its time - but over the decades, became a woefully inadequate facility for its inhabitants.