For thousands of years zoos have held a special place in the hearts of animal lovers, from the ancient Egyptians to modern-day sightseers. Fascination with wild animals has led to the development of roughly 3,000 zoos in the United States, which are visited by 12 million people a year.
1500 BC Queen Hatshepsut of Egypt built the worlds first zoo.
1000 BC Chinese emperor Wen Wang founded the Ling-Yu, or Garden of Intelligence, an enormous zoo that covered more than 1,500 acres.
300 BC The Greeks were the first civilization to establish public zoos.
1752 The first modern zoos were the Imperial Menagerie, established in Vienna in 1752 (opened to the public in 1765), and the zoo established in 1793 in connection with the Jardin des Plantes (Botanical Garden) in Paris.
1874 The first zoo in the United States opened in Philadelphia.
1880 The first elephant was born in captivity to Hebe, a member of the Great London Circus. In captivity, elephants eat approximately 100 pounds of food and drink 40 gallons of water daily.
1889 On March 2, Grover Cleveland signed a bill establishing the National Zoo, the first zoo established with the purpose of saving animals on the brink of extinction. Known today as the Smithsonian Zoo, it is home to more than 5,800 animals.
1895 Hluhluwe Game Reserve, located in Northern Zululand and one of the worlds oldest animal reserves, was established. Reserves are large sections of land used to conserve the natural living environment of rare and otherwise endangered wildlife.
1911-1965 Lifespan of Adonis, the world's longest-living hippopotamus, who was housed at the Memphis Zoo. Adonis lived for 54 years and sired 26 offspring, giving Memphis the title "Hippo Capital of the World.
1916 Founded by Dr. Harry Wegeforth, the San Diego Zoo spends almost $800,000 on animal food a year, and its weekly shopping list is five pages long.
1926 Established at an elevation of 6,800 feet, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is the only mountain zoo in the country.
1927 The Edinburgh Zoo was established in Scotland and today remains home to the worlds largest captive penguin colony. In the wild, penguins inhabit Africa, Australia, New Zealand and the Arctic.
1960s1970s The birth of the natural habitat exhibits in zoos demonstrated the need for a holistic approach to zoo construction and maintenance.
2001 Microsoft Corp. introduces Zoo Tycoon, the first Tycoon-style game to celebrate the worlds fascination with zoos.
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