The zoo grounds was originally an imperial manor during the Ming Dynasty that became part of the estate of the general Fukang’an during the Qing Dynasty. In 1906, the Imperial Ministry for Agricultural, Industry and Commerce established an experimental farm, which held a small menagerie. The Viceroy of Liangjiang, Duanfang, purchased a batch animals from Germany and deposited them there. The animal collection attracted great interest when the farm opened to visitors in 1908. The Empress Dowager and the Emperor Guangxu both visited the zoo twice. The farm was known as the Wanshouyuan or the “Garden of Ten Thousand Beasts”.
Among the historical buildings at the zoo is Changguanlou, a Baroque-style country-palace of the Empress Dowager designed by a French architect and built in 1908, and it remains one of the best preserved Western-style palaces in China.
After the Qing Dynasty was overthrown in 1911, the zoo became a national botanical garden during the Republic of China. During the Second Sino-Japanese War, many of the zoo’s animals died of starvation and some were poisoned by the Japanese Army. Only 13 monkeys and one old emu survived the war. In the 1930s with French aid, Lamarck Hall, named after the botanist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, was built at the experimental farm and housed plant research.
After Beijing became the capital of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, the city government renamed the Beijing Agricultural Experimentation Center the Western Suburban Park (西郊公园), and began gradually rebuilding the zoo. In 1952, national leaders Mao Zedong, Zhu De, and Ren Bishi donated their war horses to the park. The park was renamed the Beijing Zoo in 1955. The zoo sent staff to study zoo management in the Soviet Union and Poland, and began to trade animals with Eastern Bloc countries, Japan, Burma, India, and Indonesia to expand its collection. Leading Chinese universities also established research presence in the zoo to study animal behavior and to breed endangered species.
The zoo’s development came to an abrupt halt during the Cultural Revolution as zoo staff were purged, research work stopped and contacts with foreign zoos were severed. In the 1970s, as China forged diplomatic relations with the Western bloc, the zoo received animal gifts from the United States, France, United Kingdom, Mexico, Spain, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Australia. The zoo also organized a four-year mission to Ethiopia, Kenya, and Tanzania, which brought back 157 species and 1,000 animals including giraffe, African elephant, zebra, wildebeest, oryx, ostrich, Thompson’s and Grant’s Gazelle, Geochelone tortoises, baboon, and aardvark.
During the 1984 Summer Olympics, the Beijing Zoo sent a pair of Giant Pandas, Yingxin and Yong Yong to Los Angeles for an exhibition. In 1987, Yong Yong and Ling Ling went on exhibition at the Bronx Zoo.
Located in Beijing Zoo, Beijing Aquarium is the largest and most advanced inland aquarium in China, covering a total area of 4.2 hectares. It is designed in conch shape with orange and blue as its main color, symbolizing the mysterious vast sea and endless vitality of marine life. The aquarium has six halls: Rainforest Wonder, Shark Hall, Whale and Dolphin Bay, Seabed Travel, Feel Pool and Ocean Theater.
Visitors will be fascinated by the beautiful blue world upon entering the aquarium and where the unforgettable journey of getting close to ocean creatures begins. One will also feel like returning to mother nature upon entering the miniature rainforest that consists the primary jungles of the Amazon Basin, home to over 100 species of rainforest fish and fresh water fish. Sea elephant, man-eating fish, variegated carp, glass catfish and many other rare and precious fish are some of the species found here.
From the movie “Shark Tale”, sharks were depicted to be voracious and powerful as they feast on other creatures in the ocean. However, what the shark world is really like is for visitor to find out in the Shark Hall. They are not as depicted in the movie but somewhat serene instead!
Whale and Dolphin Bay is the home and school for whales, dolphins and sea lions. It is here that they are being trained by professional trainers for performances to entertain visitors.
The Feel Pool measures 39 yards long, resembling the long and winding coastline. Many mollusks such as trumpet shells and echinoderm such as holothurians, sea stars and sea urchins live there. Visitors can gently caress them, though with caution as some are rather timid while others are poisonous. Green turtles also swim about in the pool without a care in the aquarium.
Seabed travel takes visitors to a wonderful trip to the bottom of the sea. The undersea tunnel leads you into a colorful and calm ocean world, with all kinds of fish swimming inside the circular tank. Visitors can virtually touch the belly of the furious white sharks and shake hands with turtles. The 32 fish tanks exhibit fancy fishes from home and abroad and visitors are sure to gain much knowledge about them at the end of their visit.
Finally, the Ocean Theater is a venue where animals perform their tricks. It has a capacity for 3,000 viewers, with hot and romantic Hawaii scenery in the background. The incomparably superior performance from these animal stars win rounds of applause from spectators every day.
So, please come by. All the stars of the ocean are awaiting you!
Tip: Table of Animal Performance Information
|Ocean Animal Performance||Ocean Theater||11:00, 15:00 (Monday to Friday) 11:00, 14:00, 16:00 (Saturday and Sunday)|
|Water Ballet||Ocean Theater||10:30, 14:30 (Tuesday to Friday) 10:30, 13:30 (Saturday and Sunday)|
|Sea Diving and Feeding Performance||1st Floor, Seabed Travel||10:00, 13:30 (Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday) 10:00, 15:00 (Saturday and Sunday)|
|Archerfish Feeding Performance||Rainforest Wonder||09:30, 14:30 (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday) 09:30, 15:00 (Saturday and Sunday)|
|Sea Snail Feeding Performance||2nd Floor, Seabed Travel||10:00 (Monday to Sunday)|
|Shark Feeding Performance||Shark Hall||14:30 (Monday) 15:45 (Wednesday, Friday|