American Zoo Day, celebrated on July 1, is all about bringing the importance of zoos to the forefront. While zoos originally were small confined spaces that were more or less a prison for animals, things changed over time as people became educated regarding animal rights. Today, zoos in America are huge and provide an environment that reflects the natural habitat of the confined animal. This is why modern zoos perform a role of a sanctuary rather than a place where animals are put on display. To honor and celebrate American Zoo Day, we suggest you head out to the nearest zoo and be prepared to see beautiful animal species you may never have seen before.
History of American Zoo Day
American Zoo Day is celebrated every year on July 1 to mark the day the Philadelphia Zoo was opened up to the public in 1874. What’s so special about this zoo, you ask? Well, it was America’s first zoo. The charter of the zoo was signed in 1859, but due to the Civil War, the zoo was not opened to the public until much later. The Philadelphia Zoo is also important since it focuses on the conservation of numerous animal species. Today, the zoo houses over 1,300 animals.
Though zoos existed in numerous regions across the world since ancient Egypt, it wasn’t until the 19th century that the trend of opening zoos took over the world. Unfortunately, initially, these enclosures were formed for the purpose of entertainment and cared less about the comfort and life spans of animals. However, after World War II, zoos also became breeding places where animals close to extinction were brought in. Believe it or not, zoos have played a huge role in saving numerous threatened species from being wiped off the face of this planet. For instance, there were only 50 Hawaiian geese left in Hawaii in 1947. Two of these geese were housed in a sanctuary in England where they began to breed.
Most importantly, zoos and the exotic animals within their walls are often studied by scientists who want to understand their behavior and formulate ways in which better living conditions can be created for mammals. Many of these studies have been published in the ‘Journal of Zoology’ since 1830.
American Zoo Day timeline
Queen Hatshepsut from Egypt collects animals from around Africa and gathers them in one place.
Hernán Cortés discovers a zoo in Mexico.
Ménagerie, le zoo du Jardin des Plantes is the first modern zoo to open in Paris.
The name ‘zoo’ is created after the Zoological Society is established in London.
American Zoo Day FAQs
Is there a National Zoo Day?
Yes. National Zoo Lover’s Day is celebrated on April 8 every year.
What is the oldest zoo in the U.S.?
The oldest zoo in the U.S. is the one chartered by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
What is the number one zoo in the world?
The San Diego zoo is the most popular zoo in the world and was founded in 1916.
How to Celebrate American Zoo Day
Visit a zoo
What better way to celebrate the zoo than to visit it in person? Better yet, arrange a trip to Philadelphia Zoo and have the time of your life!
Teach the young ones the importance of zoos
Teach your children or those you know why zoos and animals’ lives are important and how dedicating a space to a certain species of animal can be beneficial.
Collect funds for the local zoo
To show how much zoos mean to you, gather some funds and donate them to your local zoo to play a direct role in improving the living conditions of the animals.
5 Fun Facts You Need To Know About Zoos
The zoo with the most species
Berlin Zoo in Germany has over 1,500 species.
Zoos in the U.S.
There are over 355 zoos in the U.S.
Extinct animals are found in zoos
39 of the extinct animal species exist only in zoos.
The most expensive zoo animal
It costs 1 million dollars yearly to house giant pandas.
Zoos and World War II
London Zoo killed all dangerous animals in the zoo in case it was bombed and the animals escaped during World War II.
Why American Zoo Day is Important
It tells us why zoos are important
American Zoo Day highlights the benefits of zoos and how they can help in preserving some animal species. However, it is important to ensure the zoo is spacious and provides animals with a natural habitat.
It introduces different animal species
There may be some animal species you never knew existed until you visit a zoo. Yes, zoos definitely show us some of the greatest creations of mother nature, and also increases our knowledge regarding different animal species.
It teaches us how to treat animals
Zoos that are well-maintained are a great example of how animals should be fed and treated. It's also important to ensure that both the genders of a particular animal species are kept together.
American Zoo Day dates