The giant "Mammoth" and "Mastodon" sculptures that grace the exterior of Cleveland Metroparks Zoo's Pachyderm Building are among the most memorable sights at the Zoo. After more than a half century on public display, the masterpieces by world-renowned artist Viktor Schreckengost are being carefully removed to allow for construction of the Zoo's new elephant habitat.
"Mammoth" and "Mastodon" will be fully removed from the Pachyderm Building within the coming weeks to allow for construction of African Elephant Crossing this fall. Scheduled to open in 2011, African Elephant Crossing will be a state-of-the-art elephant habitat and conservation center that will more than quadruple the amount of space the Zoo dedicates to elephants and provide them with naturalistic, stimulating surroundings.
The 32-ton terra cotta sculptures ultimately will be restored at the Zoo's main entrance. The Cleveland Zoological Society is currently raising funds to support the $750,000 to $1-million art conservation project, which is scheduled to be unveiled in 2010.
"Mammoth" and "Mastodon" made their debut at the Pachyderm Building in 1956. The pieces remain the largest ceramic animal sculptures in the country, created by Cleveland native Schreckengost to depict the extinct ancestors of elephants in full-scale. (Both sculptures are 25 feet long, with one measuring 12 feet tall and the other 13.5 feet tall.)
The Zoo and Zoo Society are partnering to restore "Mammoth" and "Mastodon" along with the Intermuseum Conservation Association, Urban Design Institute, Cleveland Public Art and Case Western Reserve University. Jared Bendis of Case Western Reserve University's multimedia program is producing a documentary about the restoration of the late Schreckengost's works at the Zoo; and Henry Adams, an art history professor at Case and noted Schreckengost expert, is serving as a consultant for the project.
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is an affordable and close-to-home getaway for Northeast Ohio. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Admission is $10 per person, $6 for kids ages 2 to 11 and free for children under 2 and Zoo members. Parking is free. Located at 3900 Wildlife Way, the Zoo is easily accessible from Interstates 71, 77, 90 and 480.
To learn more, visit clemetzoo.com/elephants, or call (216) 661-6500.