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Tourist Sites in Jerusalem: Biblical Zoo - Tisch Family Zoological Gardens


The Jerusalem Biblical Zoo was originally established in 1940 as a tiny little children's zoo on Harav Kook Street in central Jerusalem. The zoo was founded and established by the late Prof. Aharon Shulov, one of the pioneers in the field of zoology at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

In 1941, a somewhat larger zoo was established on Shmuel Hanavi Street in Jerusalem. This one covered an area of 4.5 dunams (0.45 hectares, or just over one acre). In 1947 the zoo was moved to Mt. Scopus, where the Hebrew University had a plot of land set aside for it. As a result of the evident suffering of the animals during and after Israel's War of Independence in 1948, a decision was made to transfer the zoo to a new and larger area of roughly 15 acres in Givat Komuna, adjacent to the neighbourhood of Romema after negotiations with the Jordanians and involvement by the United Nations. Of the 200 animals that lived at Mount Scopus, only eighteen remained, including a lion, a leopard, a hyena, two vultures, two kangaroos, and two bears. The zoo remained here for 41 years, from 1950 to 1991. During this time it gradually developed into a well-known and beloved attraction. The old zoo closed in 1991, and the process of moving to the new location was begun.

Today, the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo, as it is still unofficially known, stretches across an area of 62 acres in a lovely valley surrounded by green hills and new neighbourhoods. The zoo encircles a small lake situated near the main gate. The lake is fed by a series of pools and waterfalls that flow one into the other. Spacious lawns and shady beauty spots surround the lake and pools. The water system is artificial, and relies on recycled water. The zoo is built on two main levels that house most of the animal exhibits. One main, circular route extends the length of both levels and connects most of the sites on the zoo grounds. Additional side paths also connect the two levels, and exhibits are situated along these paths as well.


Since its opening, the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo has been operated by a company that was specifically established for this purpose. The zoo is therefore being run as a corporation, while at the same time being recognized as an NPO (Non-Profit Organization) both in Israel and abroad. The zoo is the product of the combined efforts and investments of the Municipality of Jerusalem, the Jerusalem Foundation, the Jerusalem Development Authority, and the Israel Ministry of Tourism.

The ownership of the zoo is shared and divided evenly among the Municipality of Jerusalem, the Jerusalem Foundation, and the Jerusalem Development Authority. The zoo's Board of Directors consists of 18 members.

The establishment of the zoo in its present form was made possible thanks to the generosity of Tisch family of New York, under the auspices of the Jerusalem Foundation. The dedication ceremony took place in the presence of the President of the State of Israel at the time, the late Chaim Herzog, and members of the Tisch family, in November 1992.

On February 28, 1993, the zoo opened its doors to the public for a preview period. The official opening ceremony took place on September 9, 1993.

The zoo was designed by Miller-Blum & Associates Landscape Architects, and was constructed by the Moriah - Jerusalem Development Corporation. Since its opening, the zoo has added many new exhibits and features. Thanks mostly to the efforts of the Jerusalem Foundation, we were fortunate to receive the generous donations that were needed for each addition, so that the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo could develop into the institution that it is today.

Contact Information / Hours of Operation

Address: Jerusalem Biblical Zoo,
Aharon Shulov 1

Website: Jerusalem Biblical Zoo
Tel: 02-6750111

Sun-Thu 09:00-18:00
Fri 09:00-16:00
Sat and Holidays 09:00-17:00

Source: Jerusalem Biblical Zoo.

Photo: SuperJew licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license via Wikimedia Commons.