About us

A zoo in transition

In the 19th Century, narrative works about wild animals and lands far away captivated humans, making animal shows grow in popularity. This enthusiasm caused the landlord Ernst Pinkert to convert his restaurant ‘the Pfaffendorfer Hof’ into a zoological garden. On Whitsuntide in 1878 4,500 visitors congregated for the opening of the zoo to see kangaroos, parrots and oryx as well as the Bengal tiger and a pair of lions. Since then Zoo Leipzig has managed to grow and live through two world wars and times of economic recession and political turmoil owing to its commitment, persistence and visions.

1878 Pinkert


On 9th June, Ernst Pinkert opens a restaurant (the Zoological garden of Leipzig). From the public house „Pfaffendorfer Hof“ that includes an animal enclosure one of the first zoos in Europe is born. 

1900 Affenhaus1900 Raubtierhaus


The zoo is extended. Within only two years a new building for big cats is built as well as the primate house and the main and administrative buildings.

1910 Aquarium außen


The aquarium is built, in which fish and other sea creatures from all over the world still swim today. 

1913 Terrarium Innenansicht1913 Terrarium


The aquarium is extended to include a terrarium. Snakes, lizards and alligators are still housed in this Wilhelminian-style building today. 

1926 Elefant


Visitors can admire pachyderms from Asia in the newly opened elephant house. 

1928 Flugkäfig1928 Jasonanlage


Wild activity at all heights – the aviaries and the outdoor pens for the big cats are opened. The Jason monument is also erected. 

1929 Bärenburg


Bears move into the newly erected bear castle. 

1934 Pinguinanlage1934 Pavianfelsen


Island enclosures are built for macaque monkeys, baboons and penguins. 

1935 Tierkindergarten


Fun for both kids and adults: the zoo builds an animal kindergarten for stroking, petting and feeding. 

1969 Freiflughalle


The birds start chirping: the walk-in birdhouse opens its doors. It houses exotic bird species at tropical temperatures. The zoo school is also established.

1976 Huftierfreianlage1976 Huftierfreianlage


On the Rosenthal paddock the ungulate enclosures are finished. African domestic goats, Chinese water deer and Australian red-necked wallabies come to Leipzig.

1992 Aquarium außen


One of the oldest parts of the zoo is renovated: after 82 years the aquarium is finally renovated and extended. Additional tanks create new habitat for the fish. 

1997 Nashornanlage


The rhino and anoa enclosures are redesigned and the terrarium is modernised. 

2001 Löwensavanne2001 Pongoland


The new Millennium gets off to a good start for African big cats and primates as the lion Savannah Makasi Simba and Pongoland open their gates.

2002 Arche innen2002 Lippenbäranlage


The sloth bears move from the bear castle to their new home (sloth bear ravine). The historical big cat house is converted into the Explorer’s House Ark. 

2003 Tiger Taiga


More habitat is created for the Asian big cats as the Tiger Taiga is finished. A glass panel down to ground level enables visitors to view the tigers swimming. 

2004 Kiwarasavanne2004 Parkhaus Zoo


Excursions can now be made to see giraffes, zebras and other animals of the newly created Kiwara Savannah. The zoo’s multi-storey car park is also opened. 

2005 Okapiwald


Okapis (endangered forest giraffes) are given a new home. These reclusive animals from the Congo feel at home in the specially designed forest enclosure. 

2006 Elefanten


A temple in the zoo? Naturally! When all is said and done our elephants come from Asia. Our elephant temple Ganesha Mandir provides our elephants with the luxury of sand and water pools.

2001 Außenansicht Gondwanaland


After four years of construction work, our fascinating tropical experience world Gondwanaland is opened. Housing around 640 exotic plant and animal species it gives visitors exciting views from the canopy trail and jungle paths or from a boat trip on the river.


The Armur leopards move into Leopard Valley. Flamingo lagoon and a new zoo exit are opened.


Kiwara-Kopje – an enclosure for Eastern black rhinoceros, cheetahs and patas monkeys as well as Bear Castle playground are opened.


With a restoration concept initiated by Zoo Leipzig, the City of Leipzig and the Leipziger Messe GmbH, the historic Congress Hall is revived as a modern and multifunctional cultural, exhibition and event center in the heart of the city.


After a year of renovation work the historic ape house originally opened in 1901 in the zoo’s Founder’s Garden is finally reopened as a modern koala house.


On 01.08.2017 the high mountain landscape Himalayas is opened as a species-appropriate enclosure for snow leopards and red pandas.


Our vision and concept

This is how we work
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Nature Conservation

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