“Don’t feed the animals” is a relatively new term which originated in zoos when they evolved from purely recreational facilities to more educational and research based ones in the 1970s. In the late 19th and early 20th Century, zoos did not benefit the needs of the animal, but rather those of the visitor. Animals were kept in small cages with no resemblance to their natural habitat. In 1973, our third grade class visited the Pittsburgh Zoo in Highland Park, and even at that time, it was still basically a Victorian exhibition-style zoo with small cages and concrete floors. Rock Springs Park had a small zoo at the start of the Macdonald Era in 1927. One of the key features was “Monkey Island” with its “Monkey Hotel.” I had only ever seen a distant shot of this feature in postcards and photographs (see above), but this close-up recently became available.
This sign is blurry, but a close analysis shows it to read, “Do Feed the Animals.” Here is a recreation of the sign and its exact wording: