Moscow Zoo

Vladimir Gerdo/ТАSS
The old Moscow Zoo, the fourth biggest zoo in Russia, beloved of many generations of Muscovites and visitors, was founded in 1864 by the Russian Imperial Society for the Acclimatization of Animals and Plants. The mission of that society was not so much to amuse the people of Moscow, but to study animals and plants. It was much harder than it is today to bring exotic faunae and florae to Moscow in the mid-19th century, let alone keep them in Moscow. The Zoo was called "Zoological Gardens" then, with the subtitle: "A Living Outdoor Museum." The Zoo is today a sprawling scientific and educational complex sized 22 hectares, with rare animals, research labs, a children's zoo populated by animal characters from Russian folk tales, and numerous study groups for children. The Zoo is of two parts: the old and the new. This should be kept in mind, otherwise it is easy to lose one's way. In the old part, you will find jaguars, giraffes, zebras, cheetahs, walruses and brown bears. The "Night World" pavilion with half-blind rodents, and the "Bird House" pavilion with rare birds are also in the old part. The new part of the Zoo is home to monkeys, polar bears, crocodiles, pythons, and the Exotarium with rare fishes. The Zoo is pretty crowded most of the time, but less so on weekdays.