A zoological garden, or zoo for short, is a place where wild animals are encaged in an artificial environment and exhibited to the public.
The first zoos were private menageries, usually belonging to kings. The first public zoological garden was created in Vienna in 1752, when the Habsburg Emperors decided to grant public access to the former privately owned Sch÷nbrunn Palace menagerie - now called Tiergarten Sch÷nbrunn. After the French Revolution, the Paris zoo was opened to the public. The first scientific zoological garden in the modern world, was founded in London in 1828, and opened to the public in 1828 as a way of funding its scientific work. Londoners soon shortened "zoological gardens" to "zoo."
Over time, the mission of zoos has shifted from simply displaying exotic animals, to scientific study (London Zoo), which was the world's first scientific zoo in 1828), and, later, to breeding them, and in particular maintaining populations of animals that are endangered or even extinct in the wild.
Most modern zoos keep animals in enclosures that attempt to replicate their natural habitats.
Many zoos now have special buildings for nocturnal animals, with dim red lighting during the day, so the animals will be active when visitors are there, and bright lights at night to ensure that they sleep.
A petting zoo features a combination of domestic animals and some wild species that are docile enough to touch and feed. Petting zoos are extremely popular with small children. In order to ensure the animals' health, the food is supplied by the zoo, either from vending machines or a kiosk nearby. In addition to independent petting zoos, also called children's farms, many general zoos contain one.
Sometimes monkeys are not separated from the public, e.g. in the Apenheul zoo in Apeldoorn. Peafowl are also frequently allowed to roam free in zoos.
resting outside of her natural habitat.
Nearly all large cities of the world have zoos, though of drastically varying size and quality. Major zoos are important tourist attractions, sufficiently so that governments may underwrite or subsidize the zoo's operating expenses. Public funding of zoos is also justified by their educational value, and they are a common destination for school field trips. However, most zoo funding primarily comes from donations and entrance fees.
Two of the largest zoos in the United States are the Bronx and San Diego Zoos. The Bronx Zoo (operated by the New York Zoological Society) is 265 acres and has more than 6,000 animals. It ranks as the largest zoo in size and animals. The San Diego Zoo is home to more than 4,000 animals and is a world-famous zoo.