A crowd gathered in Balboa Park Sunday for the unveiling of the statue of Rex, whose roar inspired the San Diego Zoo more than 100 years ago.
"I think it's just iconic and the San Diego Zoo is so well known that it just really makes it stand out even more," Kat from Minnesota said.
The lion's roar was heard during The California-Panama Expo in Balboa Park by Dr. Harry Wegeforth. That gave him the idea to start the zoo.
"Who knew that a little zoo that was started with a roar and a collection of animals would one day became the world-famous San Diego Zoo," San Diego City Councilman Chris Ward said at the unveiling. Ward represents District 3, which includes Balboa Park.
The golden Rex statue is more than 27 feet tall and weighs 20,000 pounds. The statue is considered to be the world’s largest work of its kind.
"When you look at it from an engineering standpoint, he's got one touch point and it's not straight center," zoo ambassador Rick Schwartz said. "So, this is over 20,000 pounds of a statue on that one touch point. It's not only magnificent to look at but think about how they build that."
The statue certainly impressed a Wisconsin boy who was visiting the zoo.
"The thing I like about it is it's golden and it's made out of metal," he said.
Schwartz said the statue is meant to remind people where it all started and the connection between the zoo and the city of San Diego.
Lauren Albritton, a zoo member, agreed.
"It's an amazing structure and it really embodies the spirit of the zoo," she said.