The Zoo and Botanical Gardens that conserves endangered plants and animals, stands as one of the most ancient and cherished landmarks in the vibrant city of Ho Chi Minh City.
Zoo and Botanical Gardens over years
The construction of the Zoo and Botanical Gardens, originally known as the Botanical Garden, began on March 23rd, 1864, under the vision of Pierre-Paul De La Grandière, the Governor-General of Indochina. Its main purpose was to conserve plants and animals while supporting scientific research. Mr. Louis Adolphe Germain, a French army veterinarian, oversaw the expansion of 12 hectares of unused land north of Thi Nghe Canal for animal rearing and plant cultivation.
By 1865, the garden had expanded to 20 hectares, featuring a diverse collection of rare species from nearby countries like India, Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia. On February 17th, 1869, just five years after its establishment, it opened to the public with 509 animal species, including 120 mammals, 344 birds, and 45 reptiles. Locals fondly referred to it as “Saigon Zoo,” a name that remains today.
Between 1924 and 1927, the Saigon Zoo and Botanical Garden expanded further, acquiring an additional 13 hectares along the north bank of Thi Nghe Canal, introducing more species, and erecting significant landmarks like the King Hung Temple and the Blanchard de la Bross Museum. In 1956, the garden was renamed Zoo and Botanical Gardens , and the Blanchard de la Bross Museum became the National Museum of Saigon.
Since April 30th, 1975, the Zoo and Botanical Gardens has been a popular destination for millions of local and international visitors. To accommodate the growing number of tourists, it has continuously upgraded its facilities, including stone embankments along Thi Nghe Canal, drainage improvements, fencing installations, and the renovation and expansion of animal enclosures to better suit their ecological needs.
Special features of Zoo and Botanical Gardens
Fauna and flora
Over the course of over 150 years of construction and growth, the Zoo and Botanical Gardens has evolved into Vietnam’s largest zoo. It is now home to more than 1,000 animals spanning 125 species, nearly 2,000 varieties of woody plants representing 260 species, 23 types of domestic orchids, 33 varieties of cacti, and 34 types of bonsai. Covering an expanse of 17 hectares, this green oasis also houses numerous species listed on the Red List of Threatened Species. Also, there are many animals on the verge of extinction, which are taken care in U Minh Thuong national park in Mekong Delta tours like otter. So, traveler also learn about these types in Zoo and Botanical Gardens instead of moving far away.
The main purpose
The primary mission of the Zoo and Botanical Gardens is to safeguard endangered wildlife and plant species while also imparting environmental awareness to the public. Among its noteworthy initiatives, the captive animal breeding program has emerged as a resounding success, aimed at bolstering the populations of these vulnerable species. Notably, the Zoo and Botanical Gardens holds the unique distinction of being the sole zoo globally to have achieved successful breeding of the crested argus pheasant, a globally endangered bird species. Moreover, Zoo and Botanical Gardens plays a crucial role in enhancing students’ understanding of biology and environmental matters through extracurricular activities in Ho Chi Minh City tour.
Constructed concurrently with famous sites in Vietnam tours like the Saigon Post Office, Notre Dame Cathedral, and Ben Thanh Market, the Saigon Zoo and Botanical Garden serves as a historical witness, having endured the vicissitudes of Ho Chi Minh City for over 150 years. Its enduring vitality and rich cultural significance bestow upon the Zoo and Botanical Gardens a unique and unmistakable character unlike any other.
What to See and Do at Zoo and Botanical Gardens ?
Exploring the animals and plants
Thanks to the corporation with many zoological and biological gardens, as well as a lot of scientific organizations all over the world, the zoo is continuously made more abundant. Zoo and Botanical Gardens is the home of dozens of mammals, birds and reptiles such as giraffes, monkeys, African lions, white Bengal tigers, gibbons, chimpanzees, zebras, antelopes, deers, black bears, African ostrich, flamingos, turtles, snakes and so on. Besides the familiar animal species, Zoo and Botanical Gardens has many exclusive species, some of which have their first presence in Vietnam.
Playing recreational games
Zoo and Botanical Gardens for sure is an ideal destination for children to play on weekends. Besides discovering the plants and animals here, children can take part in a wide range of entertainment games such as fishing, ball house, buoy house, ferris wheel, glider, swan-shaped boat, balloon, electric car, train and many other interesting games. Moreover, there is also an area for adventurous games such as sky-exploring, flying carpet, high-speed glider. The ticket fee for each activity is quite cheap, ranging from 10,000 VND to 20,000 VND. You can find this playing area near the Nguyen Thi Minh Khai entrance of Zoo and Botanical Gardens .
Watching art performances
At weekends and in the holidays, Zoo and Botanical Gardens offers a free 30-minute performance of elephant at the elephant rearing zone from 09.00 to 09.30 am. In particular, on some holiday occasions, there will be an additional show in the afternoon from 14.00 to 14.30. Moreover, in the grounds of Zoo and Botanical Gardens , at the main stage, there is an art program with intriguing performances of local artists such as singing, dancing, zoo circus and magic show. These musical shows take place on Saturday and Sunday from 10.00 am to 12.00 pm, and on Sunday, there is an extra performance from 16.00 to 18.00. This is one of the activities that you should not miss when coming.
How to Get to Zoo and Botanical Gardens
If you go by motorbike, you can reach Zoo and Botanical Gardens on two streets: Nguyen Binh Khiem Street (the main entrance) and Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street. There are also two parking areas on these streets, and the parking spot for cars is only on Nguyen Binh Khiem Street. And if you go by bus, you can get off at Nguyen Thi Minh Khai and Le Duan Street, then have a short walk to reach Zoo and Botanical Gardens . The buses that take you to this park are bus No. 06. 14, 19, 45, 52 stopping at Nguyen Thi Minh Khai gate and bus No. 18, 35, 50 on Le Duan Street.
Due to expansive size, you can take a tram near Le Duan gate for a panoramic view of the park. Tickets stations are available at the entrance. It’s best to visit during the dry season from December to April when the weather is ideal for outdoor activities. If you visit in summer, bring an umbrella, hat, and sunscreen for sun protection.
When observing the animals, maintain a safe distance from potentially aggressive carnivores. Please respect the environment by refraining from picking flowers, carving trees, or feeding animals without permission from zookeepers.
Zoo and Botanical Gardens is a historic gem of Ho Chi Minh City and a symbol of the city’s unique character. Its enduring vitality and distinctive natural and cultural values make it an unparalleled destination. If you get the chance to visit Ho Chi Minh City and Zoo and Botanical Gardens , we’d love to hear about your experiences and memorable moments.
The Zoo and Botanical Gardens stands as a timeless treasure in the heart of our city. With its rich history, diverse wildlife, and dedication to conservation, it invites all to connect with nature and heritage. Furthermore, in the North of Ho Chi Minh city, Cu Chi Tunnels tour is a wonderful place to learn about history. Cu Chi Tunnels and the Zoo and Botanical Gardens must be a unique combination to the Ho Chi Minh city tour.