While there is a lot to love about China, the Beijing zoo is a magical place that you will fall in love with. Located at the center of Beijing, this zoo was the first of its kind in the country making it among the oldest and largest zoo in China. The main attraction in the zoo are the giant pandas as well as the magnificent aquarium.
With a history of over 100 years, the zoo is reminiscent of traditional Chinese gardens delivering a tremendous aesthetic scenery while still managing to host a wide variety of animals. Being this old, there are a few historical sites within the zoo most of which are used as display halls. The animals in the zoo come from China as well as from all over the world. It is a perfect place to visit alone or with the family.
-The zoo also serves as a center for zoological research that helps to study rare animal breeds from all over the world and animal husbandry.
-The first ever successful artificial insemination breeding in the world occurred at this zoo in 1978.
-Also, the first giant panda birth in captivity happened here in 1963.
-The zoo was initially called the Wansheng Garden, which also means the garden of 10,000 animals.
-The zoo has several collaborations with animal organizations around the world for collaborative efforts to ensure conservation of animals in these regions.
-The restaurant within the zoo offers some of the animals such as scorpion, crocodile or hippopotamus as a delicacy to its visitors
-It receives more than 6 million visitors annually
History Of Beijing Zoo
The Ming dynasty (1368-1644) initially developed the zoo area as a mansion and garden for the emperor’s family. It was a perfect location for a traditional Chinese garden as numerous streams and lakes could make great water features. In addition, hills were used to add a variety to the landscape. Later, the Qing dynasty maintained the garden, build temples and subsequently converted it to an experimental farm and an animal collection much later.
Most of the land was set for agricultural research purposes with 175 acres compared to only 3.7 acres for animals by 1906 but grew steadily until the start of the Chinese civil war. By 1937, the only elephant at the zoo died, and by 1949 only 12 monkeys, a blind emu and two parrots remained. Redevelopment after that was rapid the renaming to the Beijing zoo in 1955.
Research on zoology in the zoo instead of crops is a primary objective of the zoo today. Maintaining the traditional Chinese gardens is also a primary objective with exotic flowers and magnificent landscapes being a major attraction to the park. The park now offers scenic beauty to the visitors as well peace to the animals in the park.
The Culture Of The Beijing Zoo
Traditional Chinese Garden
The park was initially a Ming dynasty garden, and some of these gardens have been recreated with beautiful flower beds, trees, pools, streams and small rivers, stretches of meadows and perfectly landscaped hills. The gardens offer not only a superb natural scenery but also a refreshing climate for the animals and visitors in the park away from the busy city.
The beauty is a welcome sight to the zoo and offers a perfect blend of flora and fauna within the zoo.
Hall of the Giant Panda
Who does not love pandas; whether it in the movies, mascots endorsing the Olympics or even in the WWF logo, these cute, cuddly animals are loved everywhere making this hall the main attraction in the park. Another reason why they are loved so much is that they are an endangered species.
Covering almost 2.5 acres, the hall offers both an impressive view while still managing to house such large animals comfortably. The inside of the hall mirror the style of a traditional Chinese garden. Here you will not only get to view these magnificent creatures but also enjoy the magnificent scenery of the garden.
Ocean Hall (Aquarium)
When you’ve had fun with the pandas, how about heading over to the aquarium and get to discover more about the thousands of different species of aquatic life of all size. It was opened in 1999 and offers quite an experience such as performances by whales, sea lions, and dolphins at the aquarium’s theatre.
The ocean hall is hard to miss as it looks like one big ocean trumpet shell where feel as if you are deep at the bottom of the ocean. You will relish this experience for a long time.
These small mountains are man-made and mainly house different mammals such as tigers, lions, jaguars, pumas, monkeys, and bears among other wildlife from Africa and Australia and other winged animals like condors, bustards, and parakeets. Notably, these section houses some rare, endangered animals like the Siberian and Bengal tigers and snow leopards. The rarity of these animals makes the viewing experience even more exciting.
The man-made hills and caves are expertly designed and constructed to offer protection to these animals during winter times as well as provide a natural visual effect that makes the experience unforgettable.
Other halls that you need to visit are; the hippopotamus and rhinoceroses hall, elephants’ hall, giraffes’ hall, amphibious reptiles’ hall, gorillas’ hall, nocturnal animals hall, monkeys’ hall, and penguins hall. These halls though not as popular as the aquarium and panda halls still offer great views of different species of animals. You can choose what animal hall to visit depending on your fancy.
Established during the Ming dynasty over 500 years ago, there are some significant prehistoric sites within the zoo. Such sites include a former palace of the Qing family; the Chang Guan Manor, the Lamarck house, the Leshan Garden, former agricultural research offices and several historical tombs.
Tips For Visiting Beijing Zoo
-The entry fee is ¥15, and an extra ¥5 to access the panda hall.
-The panda house and aquarium are the main attractions.
-Avoid visiting in the golden week (October) and summer holidays, as it is very crowded.
-There are restaurants within the zoo that offer delicious Chinese cuisine.