Point of Interest

ZSL London Zoo

England / Europe

The Zoo was opened on 27 April 1828 as a collection for scientific study. It was opened to the general public for the first time in 1847. It serves as a home for a wide variety of animals and is also the international headquarters for research and conservation work of the Zoological Society. It is the oldest scientific zoo in the world. The zoo is run by the Zoological Society of London, which was founded by Sir Stamford Raffles in 1826, with Decimus Burton as architect. George IV granted the society a royal charter in 1829, and the zoo opened to the general public to aid with funds in 1847. Soon afterwards, the world’s first reptile house was opened (1849), then the first public Aquarium (1853), the first insect house (1881) and the first children’s zoo (1938). In early times the animals had been kept indoors as it was feared that they would not survive in the cold of England, but in 1902 Dr Peter Chalmers Mitchell reorganized many of the buildings and enabled many animals to live in the open air. Famous to generations of visitors was Guym the Gorilla, now commemorated by a bronze statue. He arrived at the zoo from Paris in 1947 and lived there until his death in 1978.  

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