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Fejervary offers romp, swim, zoo


File photo

Fejervary Park, at 1800 W. 12th St., Davenport, is a sparkling jewel in the middle of the city, offering families the chance to have fun, relax and take a walk with nature. Established in 1910, the 10-acre park's amenities include a zoo, a swimming pool, nature trails and play areas. Monkey Island, shown above, is a favorite of those who enjoy the zoo.

Fejervary Park in Davenport still offers springtime's promise of a lovely day of rest and relaxation with friends, family and nature.

For nearly 90 years, its rolling hills of green grass have provided visitors with romping room and a breath of fresh air in the summer, while those same hills have offered hours of sledding during the winter months.

It's a precious jewel for the city, with a rich history of stories about the popularity of the park. Its proximity to the Putnam Museum and Davenport Museum of Art, established on the eastern edge of the park, make it an area full of activities for the whole family.

It also is the home of the Fejervary Park Zoo, offering a glimpse of animals native to the upper Mississippi Valley Region, including prairie dogs, birds, coyote, snakes and many other small animals.

Monkey Island, the centerpiece of the zoo, is the rocky home for a family of monkeys.

``It's a small, family-oriented zoo that plays an important role in providing recreational alternatives for the citizens in the Quad-Cities,'' Ald. George Nickolas, 2nd Ward, who has lobbied for many years to keep the zoo intact when attendance began to dwindle.

``We've fought to keep the zoo, and I plan to continue because many families love to go there in the summer and spend the day,'' he said.

It often has been the center of speculation. The small, city-owned zoo was in its heyday in the 1950s, when zoo attendance peaked at 125,000. During the 1970s, attendance plummeted to 9,000, then rebounded to 32,000 in 1993. Attendance is leveling out, with 18,000 visitors in 1995.

Established in 1910, the remainder of the 10-acre park has undergone periodic improvements, most recently to its family swimming pool.

City officials are pondering another round of renovations to the popular facility by repairing and expanding the pool and adding other amenities, including slides and visitor areas for a more family-oriented facility, said Jef Farland, director of leisure facilities and services for the city.

Fejervary Park also offers access to the Duck Creek Trail, T-ball fields, tennis, volleyball, skating, picnic and play areas and a handicapped-accessible play structure.

Fejervary Park is at 1800 W. 12th St., Davenport.

-- By Lisa Lansman (January 26, 1998)

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