Located at 2B, Nguyen Binh Khiem street, district 1, Ho Chi Minh city, Sai Gon Zoo and Botanical Gardens is Vietnam’s largest zoo and listed as one of the oldest zoos in the world. Known as Thao Cam Vien locally, it is home to more than 500 animals of more than 100 species and more than 1,800 trees and plants of more than 250 species. Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens is one of the indispensable tourist addresses in the journey of discovering the city.
Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens began its construction in March 1864 on an area of 12 hectares located near Rach Lang River (in the northeast of Saigon) by J.B.Louis Pierre, a French specialist researching tropical plants. The construction was completed in 1865.
There are a number of different sections to explore including the animal conservation area, orchid garden, plant conservation centre and an amusement park.
The Botanical Gardens has a vast array of flora and fauna including 20 different orchid types, 32 species of cactus and 34 species of bonsai in addition to trees, plants and ferns some of which are as old as the gardens.
The zoo has many kinds of mammals, reptiles, and birds. Besides domestic animal species, there are also many exotic species, some of which are seen in Vietnam for the first time. There are lakes with contain different types of lotuses and a myriad of fish species.
The Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens contains two noteworthy buildings: the monument for the Vietnamese soldiers who were killed in World War II, and the Museum of Vietnamese History. The museum is split into two sections: a 15 room-area displaying items from the beginning of Vietnam to 1930, and a 6 room-area displaying artifacts from the culture and history of South Vietnam. Outside of the museum there is a large yard that displays the weapons of France, used during Vietnam's French colonial era. The museum also contains approximately 25,000 documents of history, culture and ethnography.
With its diverse flora and fauna and the spectacular natural scenery, Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens is definitely worth a visit!