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Dublin Zoo was opened in 1831 by the then Royal Zoological Society of Ireland, which had been founded the previous year. The animals were supplied by its counterpart in the UK, London Zoo.
Like other Zoos of this time, Dublin Zoo was nothing like it is today. Its purpose was to show as many different kinds of animals as possible to people who had never seen anything like it.
Our Zoo has had a long and fascinating history – here are just some highlights from the first hundred years.
1833 The entrance lodge to the Zoo was built for £30! You can still see it today!
1838 To celebrate Queen Victoria’s Coronation the Zoo held an open day – 20,000 people visited, which is still the highest number of visitors in one day.
1844 The Zoo received its first giraffe
1855 The Zoo bought its first pair of lions. These bred for the first time in 1857.
1868-9 An aquarium, a lion house and the Society House (which still stands) built with funds from a government grant.
1876 Reptiles shared the aquarium; it officially became the reptile house in the 1890s
1898 Haughton House opened, providing tea rooms for members upstairs and animal enclosures downstairs.
1916 Getting in and out of Phoenix Park became difficult during the Easter Rising and meat ran out. In order to keep the lions and tigers fed, some of the other animals in the zoo were killed!
1939-1945 During World War II the popularity of the Zoo soared despite the difficulty in replacing animals that died. The public donated food for the animals and, after the war when fuel was still difficult to acquire, trees were chopped down to heat the houses.
Today there are still parts of the zoo that date back to the very beginning – why not come along and see them yourself.
Dublin Zoo is much more than a fun-filled; stimulating day out for all the family… it’s a place to learn about wild animals, especially those which are endangered. The Zoo is a registered charity – your visit will help maintain Dublin Zoo to a high standard, improve the Zoo and contribute to conservation programmes.
Located in the Phoenix Park in the heart of Dublin city, Dublin Zoo is Ireland’s most popular family attraction, and welcomed over one million visitors last year.
As one of the world’s oldest, yet popular zoos, the 28 hectare park in the heart of Dublin is home to some 400 animals in safe environment where education and conservation combine for an exciting and unforgettable experience!
The distinguishing characteristic of mammals is that the mother nourishes newborn young with milk produced by special glands. Mammals also have several other distinguishing features. Hair is common among mammals and can take many forms, including whiskers, spines and fur. All mammals breathe air so even those living in water e.g. whales must surface to take a breath.
Like birds, all mammals are warm-blooded. That means they generate their own body heat through metabolism, and can thus stay warmer than their surroundings, day or night, sun or shade. Mammals can be carnivores, herbivores, insectivores, fruitivores or omnivores. There are approximately 5,400 species of mammals, this also includes humans.
Birds are warm-blooded vertebrates that are well adapted for flight, though not all birds can fly. All birds are covered with feathers, contain a strong skeleton, and have efficient digestive and respiratory systems. There are about 10,000 species ranging from very small to very large.
Reptiles: Instead of hair or feathers, reptiles are covered with scales that keep them from drying out. They are cold-blooded, so they must move between sun and shade to regulate their body temperature. Unlike mammalian young, who are dependent upon their mothers for some time after birth, most reptiles are independent from day one. There are more than 6,500 reptile species
Amphibians are cold-blooded vertebrates that are able to breathe through their skin. There are about 6,000 species of amphibians.
Amphibians can live both in fresh water and on land, although all amphibian species depend upon water for reproduction and to keep their skin moist. They range in size from frogs less than a half-inch long, to a giant salamanders that reach 1.5 metres in length.
Invertebrates are the most abundant creatures on the planet — comprising more than 97% of all known animal species. By definition, an invertebrate is an animal without a backbone. That includes jellyfish, insects, worms, snails, lobsters, and spiders.
Hours and Rates
Dublin Zoo is open from 9.30am daily
Child under 3 Free
Senior Citizens €12.50