This is the largest zoo in China and has over
seven thousand animals (six hundred different species). It is located
in the northwestern section of Beijing, opposite the bus terminal.
The biggest attraction is, of course, the giant panda. There are
also yaks from Tibet, tigers from Manchuria, huge sea turtles, elephants,
lions, a rust-colored species of panda closely related to the racoon,
and much more. Besides those animals native to China, other animals
were obtained through exchanges with zoos from all over the world.
There is also a beautiful outdoor bird sanctuary and a restaurant
with large windows overlooking the zoo.
During the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 A.D.) the site
was a park. It became a private garden under the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911
A.D.) Its development as a zoological park began in 1902 when a
Viceroy returned from a foreign tour with a collection of birds
and animals from Germany, which were presented to the Empress as
a gift. The park was renamed Wan Sheng Yuan (Park of Ten Thousand
Animals) and a few years later a botanical garden was added and
shortly after that they were all opened to the public. But during
the civil wars the stock of animals declined to nearly the vanishing
point and the gardens were badly neglected. In 1949 the restoration
of the zoo was undertaken. Today it is not only a popular tourist
attraction but also a favorite place of the Chinese themselves.
Cloud Taoist Temple
Center "Water Cube"
Stadium "Bird's Nest"