The Botanical Garden was just one greenhouse when Professor Karl Fuchs founded it on Kazan University campus in 1806. In 1834 the garden moved into a stone building constructed for it by Sredny Kaban Lake in the suburb of Arkhangelskaya Sloboda (Neighbourhood). The building has been remodelled many times since, but it still stands. The Botanical Garden boasted one of the largest plant collections in Russia at the time, listing over 1,000 plants. Locals would often stop by the Botanical Garden after a steamboat ride on Kaban Lake.
A cavalry regiment was quartered here following the 1917 Revolution. Soon it was discovered that only a hundred subtropical plants had survived. In 1921 almost the entire hothouse froze out and all the plants perished. Members of a local research community of nature lovers undertook a restoration of the Botanical Garden in 1924. The first wildlife was introduced into the garden the same year: a wolf cub, two swans and an imperial eagle. The zoo opened next door in 1925. In 1931 the garden and the menagerie were officially merged under the name of Kazan Zoo Botanical Garden. It had a branch in the city centre, at Ulitsa Baumana (Baumana Street), in the years 1937-1952. The Zoo Botanical Garden never closed during the Great Patriotic War. In fact, animals were evacuated here from the Leningrad Zoo.
The Zoo Botanical Garden is now home to some 4,000 animals of more than 160 species, as well as about 6,000 plants of over 1,000 species. The inhabitants include foxes, bears, lions, tigers, a hippo, squirrels, camels, wolves, porcupines, hedgehogs, zebras, leopards, monkeys, panthers, parrots, vultures, brants, swans, eagles, sea eagles, peacocks, pelicans, lizards, basilisks, geckos, snakes, iguanas, caimans, crocodiles and pythons.
Additional options for kids include pony rides, the Zoo Scouting quest game, Lukomorye petting zoo, and photo opportunities with animals and in the hothouse.