Each year on April 8, National Zoo Lovers Day is observed. This would be a perfect day to visit a zoo and be one of the millions of people who visit them each year. Enjoy seeing your favorite animals swinging from the trees or splashing in the water and have a fun-filled day.
Zoo is actually short for Zoological Garden, and is mostly used to refer to the modern concept of a zoo. Prior to this the term menagerie was used, coming from a long history reaching back all the way to the ancient world. The oldest collection of this sort was found during an archeological dig in Hierakonpolis Egypt in 2009. The animals they had there included an impressive array of hippos, elephants, baboons, wildcats, and hartebeests.
The oldest modern styled zoo was established in 1752 at the order of Emperor Francis I, in the beautiful city of Vienna, Austria. It was intended solely for the viewing pleasure of the imperial family, but was extended to the public in 1765. The next zoo to open was in 1775 in Madrid, and then another in Paris in 1795.
A few zoo facts:
- 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.
- The Red McCombs Wildlife in Texas is the biggest zoo (by acreage) in the world in terms of the total land area that is spread over 12,000 acres in area.
- The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is home to over 5,000 animals representing over 700 species divided into geographic regions of the world.
- Opened for visitors since 1864, the Moscow Zoo is one of the oldest zoos in Europe, with the presence of over 6000 animals representing 927 species.
- The San Diego Zoo is one of the most famous zoos in the world, with over 4,000 animals of more than 800 different species. It is spread in an area over 100 acres in the city of San Diego.
- More than 3.2 million people visit the San Diego Zoo each year.
- Nebraska’s number one paid attendance attraction, the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha is home to about 17,000 animals of 962 species. It encompasses over 130 acres (53 ha) of land area. Although there are bigger zoos in terms of acreage or species numbers, none rank as high as the Henry Doorly Zoo if both these categories are combined. For this reason it is listed here as the largest zoo in the world. It also features the largest cat complex in North America, the world’s largest indoor swamp, the world’s largest indoor desert, as well as the largest glazed geodesic dome in the world.