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Visit the Zoo Day is celebrated on December 27 each year. Although the origins of the day are unclear, we do know that the idea of the zoo stretches as far back as a couple of millennia. The word ‘zoo’ is, in fact, the shortest way to refer to a zoological park or garden. Zoos are typically home to a range of species and function as protective shelters for the animals housed within them.
History of Visit the Zoo Day
An early form of the zoo or zoological garden was called a ‘menagerie’. It is said to have been much smaller than the more modern zoo. The first iterations of zoos were private collections and acted as a show of power. Excavators discovered remnants of a menagerie in Egypt, which they believe dates back to around 3500 B.C. Famous kings such as Alexander the Great of Greece, King Solomon of Israel, and King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia were known animal collectors from their respective times. Evidence of such zoos or collections of animals has also been found in places like China and Rome.
The first ‘modern’ zoo was built in 1793 in Paris, France. This idea of the modern and public zoo appears to have become popular in the 18th century, during the Age of Enlightenment, when science became more of a central pillar to society. Individuals wished to study animals, to better understand their anatomy and behavior, among other things. The city of London also saw its first modern zoo being opened in 1828. Animals from the Tower of London menagerie were added to its collection in due course, with the zoo eventually opening to the public in 1847.
The focus of early modern zoos was not on functioning as natural habitats for the species housed in them. Instead, they were more like museums of living animals kept in small display areas. Zoos today work towards educating and entertaining members of the public, while also furthering scientific research and promoting the conservation of species.
Visit the Zoo Day timeline
3,500 years ago
The Earliest Zoo
The earliest form of the zoo is the menagerie, which can be traced back to Ancient Egypt through excavations.
The World’s First ‘Modern’ Zoo
The first modern zoo is built in the city of Paris.
The Oldest Scientific Zoo is Opened
The world’s oldest scientific zoo, the London Zoo, opens its doors to scientific research.
America’s First Official Zoo
With the Philadelphia Zoo unable to open until 1874 because of the Civil War, Central Park Zoo becomes the first official zoo to open in the United States.
Visit the Zoo Day FAQs
When is National Zoo Lovers Day celebrated?
National Zoo Lovers Day is celebrated on April 8 every year. Visiting your local zoo is the best way to celebrate this day.
Are all zoos good to the animals?
No, there is a history of mistreatment of animals by zoos. Reintroduction into the wild and ethical research are often not the primary concern of some zoos.
Is it safe to go to the zoo?
Yes, zoos are perfectly safe to visit, with establishments having to adhere to various sets of rules to ensure visitor safety.
How To Celebrate Visit the Zoo Day
Locate your local zoo
Get on the internet and search for your local zoo. Be sure to find the name of the organization that runs it and learn more about the safety measures they have in place for your and the animals’ benefit.
Visit the zoo
Make the most of the holidays and visit the nearest zoo with your family. Spend a day appreciating the beautiful creatures that call the zoo home.
Zoos are in constant need of support, financial and otherwise. Encourage your friends and family to visit the zoo and help support the animals near you.
5 Interesting Facts About Zoos
Zoos were not always public attractions
Early collectors of animals used menageries as shows of power and even traveled far and wide to bring back exotic animals.
The Aztecs maintained an animal collection
Emperor Montezuma II maintained one of the earliest collections of animals in the whole of the western hemisphere.
The largest zoo in the world
India’s Sri Venkateswara Zoological Park is the world’s largest zoo.
Africa’s Big Five
Lions, rhinoceroses, leopards, elephants, and the African buffalo are considered to be Africa’s Big Five and can be found together at a zoo at the Gondwana Game Reserve in South Africa.
London Zoo and Winnie the Pooh
A.A. Milne named Winnie after his son’s teddy bear, which was itself named after a Canadian black bear that Milne’s son often saw at London Zoo.
Why We Love Visit the Zoo Day
It highlights the importance of animal conservation
This day reminds us of how vulnerable animals are to the harmful effects of human development. It is important to be mindful and inclusive of animal life at all times.
We get to reconnect with animals
With time, humans have seen the divide between themselves and the wildlife growing. This is an important day to reconnect with nature.
We learn about animals and their habitats
We all read about animals and their habitats in class. But seeing and observing them in real life is perhaps the right way to cap off all those lessons.
Visit the Zoo Day dates
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