Beijing Zoo, situated
to the west of Beijing Exhibition Center, was known for a short time
after the founding of the People's Republic as the Western Suburbs
Park (Xijiao Gongyuan). The grounds combine cultivated flower
gardens with stretches of natural scenery, including dense groves of
trees, stretches of grassland, a small stream, lotus pools and small
hills dotted with pavilions and halls.
Beijing Zoo was originally built in 1908, and initially named the
Ten Thousand Animal Garden. The Zoo is a comprehensive zoo, which
includes the Beijing Aquarium. Originally, it was a Ming Dynasty
imperial manor, but during the Qing Dynasty, the area became an
animal husbandry and plant cultivation area. After the demise of the
Qing Dynasty, the park was reconstructed and known as the West
On the eve of the
founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, the park housed
only 12 monkeys, two parrots and a blind emu. The park was reopened
to the public in 1950, and on April 10, 1955 formally named the
The zoo has developed
rapidly and by 1987 it covered an area of over 40,000 square meters.
Bears, elephants, pandas, lions, tigers, songbirds, hippopotamuses,
rhinoceroses, antelopes and giraffes were brought in the late 1950s,
and a gorilla cage, leaf-monkey cage and aquarium house, was opened,
containing specimens of over 100 species of reptiles from all over
the world, including crocodiles and pythons.
At present, the zoo
houses over 7,000 creatures of 600 different species, including the
giant panda, red-crowned crane and Pere David's deer-all unique to
China-as well as the African giraffe, rhinoceros, chimpanzee and
antelope; American continent; wild ox from Europe; and elephant and
gibbon from India.
The Beijing Zoo mainly exhibits wild and rare animals from China and
abroad. Visitors from around the world come to visit the zoo for the
Panda and the Golden Monkey, both native to China. The zoo boasts a
population of 20,000 animals with at least 900 species. Conditions
at the zoo used to be very poor and still lag well behind the best
Western zoos, but facilities are being improved.
Visitors coming to the zoo can take a boat (only operational
in the warmer months) all the way to the Summer Palace and Purple
The best time to visit the zoo is during the warm months,
when all the animals are still active.
Though the Beijing Zoo has been extensively remodeled in
recent years, it still is not up to world-class standards when it
comes to animal living conditions. The zoo, however, is open to
giant pandas, which are worth a detour on the way to the aquarium.
The aquarium, which opened in 1999, is an attraction that
both the young and the young at heart will enjoy. It’s located in
the northwest corner of the Beijing Zoo. This means visitors will be
able to see two attractions at the same time
Check our Beijing Bus Tour Programs. You can tour Beijing with our
group bus tour programs for various routes.
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