‘We had a brilliant time here – we were probably there for about five hours. It was a very hot day but we were very impressed with the amount of shade there was around the park. It seems a lot larger than the Ramat Gan Safari – you need to be prepared to walk and walk and walk!’
The Jerusalem Biblical Zoo was originally established in 1940 as a small children’s zoo on Harav Kook Street in central Jerusalem 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 the Hebrew University on Mt. Scopus. As a result of the hardships caused by Israel’s War of Independence in 1948, the zoo was transferred once again to a larger area of 60 dunams (6 hectares, or just under 15 acres) in Givat Komuna, adjacent to the neighbourhood of Romema. The zoo remained there for 41 years, from 1950 to 1991. During this time it gradually developed into a well-known and beloved attraction. By 1991 it was evident that the zoo’s location could no longer serve the purpose of a modern zoo and that it required new facilities to improve animal welfare conditions, and to establish wildlife conservation and education programs. The old zoo closed in 1991, and the process of moving to the new location was begun which culminated in the current zoo being opened in 1993.
Today, the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo, as it is still unofficially known, stretches across an area of 250 dunams (25 hectares or 62 acres) in a lovely valley surrounded by green hills and new neighborhoods. It is considered to be one of the most beautiful parks in Israel and has become a meeting place for all of Jerusalem’s diverse communities.