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New York’s Central Park Zoo Was The First Public Zoo In The US

Each year on April 8th, National Zoo Lovers Day encourages us to explore our local zoos. Each year millions of people visit zoos and learn about the many animals that live there. Also known as zoological parks, many of them serve as breeding centers. These facilities are relied upon when species are endangered or at risk of becoming endangered. They also provide education to the public about a broad variety of animals and their habitats.

  • The Vienna Zoo is the oldest existing zoo and was opened to the public in 1765.
  • The United State’s first public zoo, Central Park Zoo, opened in 1874 in New York.
  • There are 350 zoos in the United States
  • Approximately 175 million people visit a zoo each year.
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom has had more than 9.8 million annual visitors.
  • More than 3.2 million people visit the San Diego Zoo each year.
  • It is estimated that there are more than 2,800 zoos & aquariums in the world.
  • Germany has 414 registered zoos, the most in any single country.
  • The USA has at least 355 zoos.
  • 29 zoos & aquariums in the USA have more than 1,000,000 visitors a year.
  • Busch Gardens Tampa Bay has the most with about 4,500,000 visitors.
  • The oldest running zoo in the world is Vienna Zoo in Schonbrunn which dates from 1752.
  • Philadelphia Zoo was opened on July 1st, 1874 and is said to be the oldest zoo in the USA.
  • Berlin Zoo, Germany, with over 1.500 species has the largest number of species in any zoo in the world.
  • The Monterey Bay Aquarium has about 124.000 individual animals and the largest number of animals in any zoo in the world.
  • The largest zoo in the US is Red McCombs Wildlife near San Antonio, with over 12.500 acres.
  • An orangutan named Fu Manchu repeatedly escaped from his cage at the zoo using a key he had fashioned from a piece of wire. Every time his zookeepers inspected him, he hid the key in his mouth. – Source
  • Dubbed Hairy Houdini by the press, a zoo-born Bornean orangutan named Ken Allen befuddled his San Diego zookeepers in the summer of 1985, leaving his enclosure seemingly at will. He never escaped when zoo employees were nearby, so they sent in a spy disguised like a tourist, complete with a camera, to discover his secret. Ken Allen was escaping by pressing his hands against an outside wall and his feet against a parallel dry moat wall and inching his way up. The zoo spent upward of $45,000 escape-proofing his enclosure. So how did Ken Allen enjoy his freedom? He sat on the wall and threw rocks at a neighboring orangutan named Otis, who was considered unfriendly but who lived with more females.
  • During the outbreak of World War II, London Zoo killed all their venomous animals in case the zoo was bombed and the animals escaped. – Source
  • About 19 Guinea baboons from Paris Zoo were sent to a national park in England in 2004. They were unable to understand English commands but were fully cognitive of French words, forcing their English keepers to learn French. – Source
  • Dr. Seuss’ 1950 book “If I Ran the Zoo” featured such animals as “a Nerkle, a Nerd and a Seersucker, too!” This is the likely origin of the slang term “nerd.”
  • Zoos have long been the object of April Fools’ Day jokes, so much so that a few have succumbed and joined in the fun. The Como Park Zoo in St. Paul, Minn., set up special phone lines in spring 2015 for fools who were tricked into calling Ms. Ella Fint or Ms. Anna Conda.
  • In 1866, a jokester sold tickets for the public to see a full “procession of the animals” at a zoo in London. More than 300 people fell for it — and fell hard. When zoo officials told them that, of course, no such unsafe parade was forthcoming, it took a mass of policemen to avert a riot.
  • Before Sylvester Stallone hit it big in the movies, he had a job cleaning the lions’ cages at the Central Park Zoo in New York City.


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