An illustration of London Zoo in the 1800s.

An illustration of London Zoo in the 1800s.

On Apr 27, 1828, The Zoological Society of London opened a zoological garden in Regent’s Park, still a major attraction for visitors to Britain's capital city today.

Opened in London on 27 April 1828, London Zoo is the world's oldest scientific zoo. Managed by the Zoological Society of London, the zoo was originally intended for scientific study but opened to the public in 1847. Situated on the northern edge of The Regent's Park, on the boundary line between the City of Westminster and the borough of Camden, it remains one of the most popular visitor attractions in London.

In 1831 or 1832, the animals of the Tower of London menagerie were transferred to the zoo's collection. It was opened to the public in 1847  Today, it houses a collection of 673 species of animals, with 19,289 individuals, making it one of the largest collections in the United Kingdom.

It is managed under the aegis of the Zoological Society of London (established in 1826). The Society also has a more spacious site at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo in Bedfordshire to which the larger animals such as elephants and rhinos have been moved. As well as being the first scientific zoo, ZSL London Zoo also opened the first reptile house (1849), the first public aquarium (1853), the first insect house (1881), and the first children's zoo (1938).

ZSL receives no state funding and relies on 'Fellows' and 'Friends' memberships, entrance fees, and sponsorship to generate income.

Happily follow almost 18 weeks of closures between 2020 and 2021, due to the pandemic London Zoo opened its gates once more to the public on Apr 12, 2021. 

Below enjoy a documentary, narrated by Stephen Fry, on how London Zoo coped during the pandemic: