The Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens have been open for well over a century and curated a reputation as one of the world’s most diverse and historic sanctuaries.
Established by ambitious French botanist JB Louis Pierre in 1865, the zoo has developed into a thriving ecosystem that is home to several animal and plant species. There are almost 600 animals housed here, along with over 200 plant specimens.
The Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens in 1970. Photo: manhhai
Being one of the world’s oldest wildlife parks, the Saigon Zoo, also referred to as the Ho Chi Minh City Zoo, has developed an important role in the conversation and maintenance of its plant and wildlife specimens. While the Zoo has had its share of criticism over years due to the treatment of its animals, efforts have been made to improve their living conditions.
A great number of the plants showcased at the Saigon Zoo are not native to Vietnam and have been imported from overseas. Exotic cacti, tropical flowers, and foreign ferns are widespread and give visitors an insight into the ecosystems of faraway lands.
There’s also an incredible range of creatures, such as monkeys, giraffes, tigers, lions, and snakes, along with a host of marine animals. Visitors can immerse themselves in the tropical landscape and forget all about the hustle and bustle of the congested cities.
A zookeeper with elephants. Photo: Thảo Cầm Viên – Sài gòn Zoo & Botanical Gardens
The primary purpose of the Saigon Zoo is to educate and inspire, and it certainly delivers in that regard! There is a child’s playground area with water features, art activities held at the Museum of Flora and Fauna, and fun amusement park rides within the park.
Not only is the biodiversity-rich and highly diverse, but the architecture on display is also unique and impressive. Located on the property, the Museum of Vietnamese History looks more like a Chinese temple than a gallery while the Temple of Hung Kings was built in a regal style that is quintessentially East Asian.
The entrance to the Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens. Photo: Matthew Laird Acred
Stepping through the Saigon Zoo’s weathered wrought iron gates transports visitors into a thriving ecosystem where animals, nature, and man can co-exist. If you’re looking for somewhere to escape the hectic atmosphere of Ho Chi Minh City and unplug for a few hours, the Saigon Zoo may be the perfect solution!
Address: 2 Nguyễn Bỉnh Khiêm, Bến Nghé, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Phone: +84 28 3829 1425
Hours: Daily | 7 AM – 6:30 PM
Admission: Entrance fee
Opened: July 14, 1869
Keyword: Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens