The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden is the second-oldest zoo in the United States, opening in 1875, after the Philadelphia Zoo (1874). It is located in the Avondale neighborhood of Cincinnati, Ohio. It originally began with 64.5 acres in the middle of the city, but has spread into the neighboring blocks and several reserves in Cincinnati’s outer suburbs. It was appointed as a National Historic Landmark in 1987.
The zoo houses over 500 animals and 3,000 plant species. In addition, the zoo also has conducted several breeding programs in its history, and was the first to successfully breed California sea lions.
The Cincinnati Zoo has been active in breeding animals to help save species, starting as early as 1880 with the first hatching of a trumpeter swan in a zoo, as well as four passenger pigeons. This was followed in 1882 with the first American bison born in captivity.
In January 2017, the zoo had its first birth of a hippopotamus in 75 years. Named Fiona, she was born six weeks prematurely and her survival was in doubt. The zoo’s efforts to save her and her subsequent improvement to good health provided a viral sensation on the internet.
The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden is also one of the finest horticultural display gardens in the country. The plant collections are a unique blend of gardens and exhibits that demonstrate the diversity of plants and their relationship to humans and animals. Over 3,000 kinds of plants provide informative and educational resources for all plant enthusiasts. Exploring the Garden each season provides a new and changing look in the landscape. A 2019 reader’s choice ranking of the nation’s best zoos by USA Today named the Cincinnati Zoo the top zoo in North America.
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