The  giant bird  cage was a steel truss framework that spanned 228' by 84' by 50' tall that was designed by Frank Baker, Superintendent of the National Zoo.

The structure cost  17,5000 dollars.

 The massive structure was divided into two sections; the first area held  large birds and fowl, cranes, storks, pelicans, hawks, swans, pheasants, etc., and the other  contained  small birds of song and brilliant plumage.

Patrons could walk through a mesh wire 'tunnel' in the middle of the cage and view the over 1,000 birds on display and in flight. 

A  public outcry saved relocation of the aviary to the National Zoo in Washington, D.C.,  and in  1905 the city of St. Louis purchased it for 3,500 dollars (that did not include any birds).

The popularity of the bird cage during the World's Fair inspired civic leaders to build a real zoological garden in St. Louis. In November 1910, the Zoological Society of St. Louis was established. The founders formed the organization with the hope that a zoo would make the city more appealing for visitors and residents alike.  The St. Louis Zoo, was the first municipally supported zoo in the world. 

The city also paid 7.50 dollars  for a pair of Mandarin ducks and 20 dollars  for four Canada geese. A few local residents donated owls to add to the new collection.

In  1967, the interior of the flight cage was remodeled to include a boardwalk; in 1996, the St. Louis Zoo restored the super-structure of the birdcage.

The Bird Cage Restaurant cost 10,000 dollars to build.

The flight cage now hosts over 20 species of birds and is open year-round. T he structure was restored in 1967 and 1996, and the interior was revamped in 2010, modeled after the swamps commonly found in Missouri and Illinois.

Lee  Gaskins'    AT THE FAIR  The 1904 St. Louis World's   Fair  
                     Web  Design and Art/Illustration   copyrighted  2008 
A color postcard of the Bird Cage.
Inside the wire mesh tunnel in the  Bird Cage
The Bird (or Flight) Cage  housed the Smithsonian's U. S. bird exhibit.