Beijing Zoo, situated to the west of Beijing Exhibition Center, was known for a short time after the founding of the People's Republic as the Western Suburbs Park (Xijiao Gongyuan).
The grounds combine cultivated flower gardens with stretches of natural scenery, including dense groves of trees, stretches of grassland, a small stream, lotus pools and small hills dotted with pavilions and halls.
In the 18th century, the zoo was known as the Sanbeizi Gardens, supposedly named after the third son of Emperor Kangxi, Prince Cheng Yin. Another explanation is that Sanbeizi refereed to the Qing courtier Fu Kang' an and the Gardens the site of his villa.
In fact, as early as the Ming Dynasty, an imperial mansion called the Garden of Happiness and Friendship constructed for Prince Kang stood here, and during the Qing, part of the Sanbeizi Gardens called the Garden of Continuity (Jiyuan) became the private property of an official in the Bureau of Palace Affairs.
In 1906, during the reign of Emperor Guangxu, the park area became an agricultural experimental farm and a zoo. Known as the Garden of Ten Thousand Animals (Wanshengyuan), it opened to the public in 1908.
Under the successive rule of the Northern Warlords, the Japanese and the Kuomintang, the park became increasingly desolate. The only elephant died in 1937, and the Japanese, under the pretext of protecting themselves against air raids, poisoned the remaining lions, tigers and leopards.
On the eve of the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, the park housed only 12 monkeys, two parrots and a blind emu. The park was reopened to the public in 1950, and on April 10, 1955 formally named the Beijing Zoo.
The zoo has developed rapidly and by 1987 it covered an area of over 40,000 square meters. Bears, elephants, pandas, lions, tigers, songbirds, hippopotamuses, rhinoceroses, antelopes and giraffes were brought in the late 1950s, and a gorilla cage, leaf-monkey cage and aquarium house, was opened, containing specimens of over 100 species of reptiles from all over the world, including crocodiles and pythons.
At present, the zoo houses over 7,000 creatures of 600 different species, including the giant panda, red-crowned crane and Pere David's deer-all unique to China-as well as the African giraffe, rhinoceros, chimpanzee and antelope; American continent; wild ox from Europe; and elephant and gibbon from India.
Beijing Zoo Tours
Beijing Capital Museum, Lama Temple, Confucius Temple, Beijing Panda House and Ancient City Wall 1 Day Private Tour
--- from US$42
This 1 day private tour covers the trip to Beijing Beijing Capital Museum, Lama Temple, Confucius Temple, Beijing Panda House and Ancient City Wall.
Beijing Old Hutong, Lama Temple, Confucius Temple and Beijing Panda House 1 Day Private Tour
--- from US$45
Take rickshaw to the Hutong, then visit Lama Temple, Confucius Temple and Beijing Panda House, on the way back to the hotel, have a short exterior visit to the Birds Nest, Water Cube, enjoy this one day private tour package.
Lama Temple, Summer Palace & Beijing Zoo Private Day Tour
--- from US$64
Visit Lama Temple, Summer Palace and Beijing Zoo, enjoy this 1 day private tour package.
3-Day Classic Beijing Private Tour Package
--- from US$111
3-day private tour package covers airport transfer & the trip to the attractions: Mutianyu Great Wall, Ming Tombs (Dingling), Summer Palace, Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace, Hutong Tour and Beijing Zoo Panda.
3-Day Beijing Private Tour Package
--- from US$118
3-day private tour package covers the trip to the attractions: Badaling Great Wall, Ming Tombs, Summer Palace, Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Hutong, Lama Temple and Beijing Zoo Panda.
5-Day Beijing Private Tour Package
--- from US$133
5-day private tour package covers airport transfer & the trip to the attractions: Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Badaling Great Wall, Ming tombs, Summer Palace & Beijing Hutong by rickshaw, Lama Temple and Beijing Zoo Panda.
Popular 6-Day Private Tour Package
--- from US$221
Attractions: Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Summer Palace, Peking Roast Duck, Badaling Great Wall, Ming Tombs (Changling), Temple of Heaven, Beihai Park, Jingshan Park, Old Beijing Hutong Tour, Beijing Panda House, Lama Temple, Chinese Acrobatics Show (Kung Fu Show or Peking Opera).
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