The Baltimore Zoo was created by act of the Maryland state legislature on April 7, 1876. (Its name was changed to The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore in 2004.) The Zoo is the third oldest zoo in the United States, behind Philadelphia (1873) and Cincinnati (1874). It actually had its beginnings as early as 1862, when the first of many citizens gave animals (the first being 4 swans) to Druid Hill Park for public display. Today the 135-plus acre zoo property is owned by the City of Baltimore and leased to the State of Maryland. The Maryland Zoological Society, established in 1967, operates the Zoo under a lease agreement with the state. The Zoological Society assumed full management of the Zoo in 1984. Currently the Zoo’s animal collection encompasses birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles, representing nearly 200 species. Animals are displayed in natural settings replicating their native habitats.
Polar Bear Watch, the Zoo’s exhibit about life on the edge of the Arctic, features an authentic Tundra Buggy® from which visitors can watch Anoki cavort in and out of the water. At our camel ride exhibit (open seasonally), visitors get up close and personal with our favorite humped animals. Be sure to take a ride on the back of one of these incredible creatures. Visitors learn about animals in their own backyard, as well as those in more exotic locales, when they take a trek through the Maryland Wilderness, home to the award-winning Children’s Zoo, or embark on an African Journey.
The Zoo is proud to be accredited by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA), assuring excellent care for animals, a great experience for visitors and a better future for all living things. Fewer than 10% of the approximately 2,800 animal exhibitors licensed by the United States Department of Agriculture are AZA accredited. The AZA logo is the easiest, most reliable way for people to choose zoos and aquariums that meet rigorous accreditation standards. AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums undergo a thorough review that includes a detailed accreditation application as well as a multiple day on-site inspection by a team of experts from around the country. Learn more about how AZA Accreditation works.