The mission of the Niabi Zoological Society is to constantly improve the educational value of the Zoo through continuous expansion and upgrading in the areas of exhibits, research opportunities, educational and volunteer programs, and personnel training.
In 1957, Gordon McLain purchased land located just off Route 6 in Coal Valley, Illinois. It took almost two years to clear the ground and construct the first building.
In 1959, Mr. McLain, a masonry contractor with an interest in exotic animals, opened the gates to the public. The McLain’s Wild Animal Farm was a family owned and operated venture.
Mrs. Charles Deere Wiman purchased the farm and additional land in January of 1963. In May of 1963, she deeded the farm to the County of Rock Island. The zoo was named Niabi, which means "young deer spared by the hunter" in the Osage Indian language.
The zoo grounds cover forty acres, and an additional 200 acres is set aside for native flora and fauna preservation. Niabi is home to over 900 animals representing more than 160 species. Approximately 250,000 visitors a year make Niabi Zoo one of the largest attractions in the Quad Cities. The zoo grounds also offers a playground, a train ride, picnic areas and concession stands