The zoo in Riga is located in the picturesque microdistrict Mežaparks, west of Lake Kishezers. The basis of the Riga Zoo was laid by the society “Riga Zoological Garden”, founded about a hundred years ago, in 1908. Already on October 14, 1912, the zoo opened for visitors and introduced 267 animals of 88 species. From the buildings of those times to the present day, there is a mountain cafe on the shore of the lake, the entrance gate and the administration building. In 1914, the Zoological Garden acquired 538 animals.
During the First World War, many animals were taken to Germany and Koenigsberg, and the zoo was closed. It opened on September 24, 1933 thanks to the new society “Latvian Zoological Garden”. The collection of zoo inhabitants was then small – 124 animals of 48 species. The Second World War, which began soon, did not contribute to the development of the zoo. Only thanks to the self-sacrificing work of the staff, the collection of animals and the room managed to be saved practically without losses.
After the Second World War, the Riga Zoo developed steadily and soon became one of the best in the entire Soviet Union. In 1987, there were 2150 animals of 405 species.
Not the best times survived the zoo during the collapse of the Soviet Union: the number of visitors decreased, the crisis began. However, today the zoological garden is expanding again, active construction is being carried out, the collection of animals is increasing, the zoo is preparing to celebrate its centenary.
Riga Zoo is a favorite vacation spot for locals and one of the most visited sights of Riga. To date, the exposition of the zoo, located on 20 hectares, is represented by more than 430 species of different animals, birds, and other animals. Now, visitors to the zoo are offered tours of a diverse range of duration from 1 hour 30 minutes to three hours.
The Riga Zoo is constantly evolving, new buildings and expositions are emerging, animal collections are being updated. In addition, the Riga Zoo has a branch “Ciruli”, which is located on the highway Riga-Liepaja. In the zoo “Ciruli” on the area of 137 hectares live 38 species of wild animals and 12 species of domestic animals.