Saint Louis Zoo Trivia - Bear Pits History
The St. Louis Zoo dedicated its first Bear Pits in 1921. The zoo was one of the first in the world to replace the enclosed cages with open enclosures surrounded by moats. The rocks and walls were cast from plaster molds made of actual cliffs near Herculaneum. Three black bears, six-year-old Joe, Frank and Bessie took up residence in the first pit. The pits were torn out in 2013 for construction of the new Polar Bear Point.