The zoo in Riga is located on the territory of the picturesque Mezaparks microdistrict, west of Kisezers lake. The Riga Zoological Garden, founded around 1908, laid the foundation for the Riga Zoo. Already on October 14, 1912, the zoo opened to visitors and presented 267 animals of 88 species. Of the buildings of those times, a mountain café on the lake shore, entrance gates and the administration building have survived to this day. In 1914, the Zoological Garden acquired 538 animals.
During the First World War, many animals were taken to Germany and Königsberg, and the zoo was closed. It opened on September 24, 1933 thanks to a new society, the Latvian Zoological Garden. The collection of inhabitants of the zoo was then small – 124 animals of 48 species. The World War II, which soon began, did not contribute to the development of the zoo. Only thanks to the dedicated work of the staff, the collection of animals and premises could be saved almost without loss.
After the Second World War, the Riga Zoo developed steadily and soon became one of the best in the entire Soviet Union. In 1987, it numbered 2,150 animals of 405 species.
The zoo survived not the best of times during the collapse of the Soviet Union: the number of visitors decreased, the crisis began. However, today the zoo is expanding again, active construction is underway, the collection of animals is growing, the zoo is preparing to celebrate its centenary.
Riga Zoo is a favorite resting place of locals and one of the most visited tourist attractions in Riga. To date, the exposition of the zoo, located on 20 hectares, is represented by more than 430 species of various animals, birds, and other animals. Now the zoo visitors are offered excursions from 1 hour 30 minutes to three hours.
Riga Zoo is constantly evolving, new buildings and expositions appear, collections of animals are being updated. In addition, the Riga Zoo has a branch “Ciruli”, which is located on the highway Riga-Liepaja. In the zoo “Ciruli” live 38 species of wild animals and 12 species of domestic animals.