The Beijing Zoo, found on subway line 4, houses around 450 different species of animals from around the world. The zoo, like many zoos, takes you on a tour of many unique exhibits and rare animals, but this is no typical zoo. The Beijing Zoo was built on land that once made up an imperial manner, which makes the grounds more park like and historical than a typical walk through a zoo. On top of the animal exhibits you will encounter historical buildings, beautifully crafted bridges, long canals line with willow trees, and everything you would expect from an imperial manner. If the Beijing Zoo does not rank high on your to do list while visiting Beijing, but we here at Travel Panda would urge you to reconsider.
Beijing Zoo History
The land that makes up the Beijing Zoo was originally an imperial manner, but was later turned into an experimental farm in the early 1900’s, and housed some animals from around the world. The farm was opened to the public in 1908 but was soon changed into a botanical garden. Throughout the years there were many attempts at recreating the zoo, but due to the country’s volatile state, the animals were often disregarded. Finally in 1989 the zoo in its current form was constructed, and was the first of its kind in China.
Beijing Zoo Attractions
As you get off the subway on Line 4 and make your way to the Beijing Zoo, you may be wondering what you are getting yourself into. The exit is lined with little venders and even beggars trying to get you to unload a few yuan. There will even be people outside the gates of the zoo trying to get you buy one of their tickets. Ignore all of them and make your way for the ticket office. The ticket office and entrance gate are the first real indications of what you can expect from the Beijing Zoo. The gate resembles a hundred year old gate that was clearly made for someone of significant wealth and power, and a great indicator of what is to come.
Once inside the Beijing Zoo you will notice a rather important building on your left. It looks historical, and even may be of some interest, but unfortunately it is currently used for bathrooms, souvenirs, and even baby stroller rentals. So if you are traveling with young kids, this might be of interest, otherwise just head to the right and start your zoo experience.
You will quickly notice the Giant Panda Exhibit on your left, which has another ticket office and a guard taking said tickets. Don’t worry, you will not have to purchase another ticket. The 5 Yuan admission into the Giant Panda’s is included in your 20 Yuan entrance fee. Once inside the Beijing Zoo’s Panda Exhibit you will get to see something few zoos actually have.. PANDAS! First though you will have to pass through a few special exhibits featuring some birds and even a couple docile red pandas. Red Pandas are a personal favorite of mine, but unfortunately they were not moving around like I might have hoped. One bit of excitement came when a golden monkey, with its long flowing blonde locks of hair, came crashing into the glass at full force. I may have jumped a bit, but it sure livened the exhibit up a bit.
After a few exhibits, you will come to the actual pandas. If you do not see any outside, fear not, there are several in an inside observation point. If you are coming with the expectation of seeing lively, clean, kung fu using pandas though you may be slightly disappointed. The pandas mainly staid close to the feeding area far from the glass and just laid around. This was unfortunate, but the exhibit made up for it with plenty of panda paraphernalia for visitors to purchase. Ok… so this the zoo is off to a rough start… but I assure you it gets better.
From here you can move on to the several different exhibits. The Beijing Zoo is massive and its paths spread out in an almost confusing manner. This can make navigating to specific areas a challenge as it is fairly easy to get lost. That being said, I imagine no one would really mind being lost in the Beijing Zoo. The grounds are incredible. Beautifully designed, with different animals around every corner. You can’t walk far without running into a pavilion, statue, historical building, or of course an entirely new animal exhibit that will be sure to entertain you for hours.
The zoo contains an impressive amount of rare and endangered animals that are must sees while in China. Some of the more popular exhibits include the Great Panda House, Golden Monkeys, Milu Deer, and of course the Chinese Tigers. The zoo holds a great deal more to see and do including its massive aquarium. Keep in mind though that the aquarium is an additional 120 yuan, and although it might be large and impressive looking, the team here at Travel Panda were just kind of disappointed with its facilities. More on that later.
All in all the zoo has 16 phenomenal exhibits, historical buildings, and the world’s largest inland aquarium that will make it well worth the trip. The Beijing Zoo is the perfect place to observe several species that are unique to China and a must see for any visitor, especially if you are traveling with a family.
- Admission: 20 Yuan (Includes Panda Exhibit)
- Hours: 7:30 – 18:00
- Directions: Take Line 4 to Beijing Zoo. Take exit C and follow the signs.
Beijing Zoo Photos