The Krakowski Ogród Zoologiczny (Cracow Zoological Garden) was opened to visitors on 6th July 1929.
The ZOO is located on a Jurassic plateau at 345 metres above sea level, in the middle of a woodland park known as the Las Wolski or Park Miejski, which covers an area of nearly 500 hectares 10 kilometres to the west of the city center. The highest point in the Las Wolski, the Piłsudski Independence Mound, affords a magnificent panoramic view of the city and the picturesque surroundings of Jurassic hills.
When it was first opened, Cracow ZOO, which was then referred to by its historical Polish name "Zwierzyniec" (Menagerie), had an area of 4 hectares and 111 animals belonging to 37 species. By 2008 its surface area has grown to 20 hectares, and there are now nearly 1500 animals in the ZOO, representing about 260 species.
Cracow ZOOs most interesting animals include: the visitors favourites Citta and Baby, the Indian elephants, a herd of pygmy hippopotamuses, which are threatened with extinction, a herd of Przewalski horses, which are no longer found in the wild, Pere Davids deer, and a number of rare species of antelope, such as the addax, the bongo, the leachwe and the common waterbuck. Other amazing animals to be found in the ZOO are: the barasingha, the South American tapir, Chapmans zebra and the South American sea lion.
Cracow ZOO has had several successes in animal breeding that have reached the global scale of achievement, such as the hand - rearing of the Andean condor chicks and the maned wolf. We have also had litters from snow leopards, Chinese leopards, ground cuscus, fennec foxes, black mangabeys, chimpanzees, white - handed gibbons, common marmosets and sand cats.
We are also proud of the hatches we have had of a number of parrot species, such as the white cockatoo, the blue - and yellow macaw, and the grey parrot, which is an exceptional achievement.
In our Reptile House you can see a number of interesting species of lizards, turtles and snakes. We have also had hatchings from our reticulated pythons, tiger pythons, the Philippine sail-finned water dragon and the veiled chameleon. Our collection also includes dwarf Caimans, amphibians, exotic fish and invertebrates.
The Director of Cracow ZOO is a member of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA). We are a member of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA). Importantly, our ZOO is a contributor to the work being done in animal breeding by several dozen international commissions in order to save the species now threatened with extinction.