The Tisch Family Zoological Gardens also commonly known as the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo to locals; is a popular family and tourist destination in Jerusalem. Located in the Malha neighborhood; this zoo draws in thousands of visitors each year. The zoo is most famous for its collection of wildlife featured in the Bible and its endangered species breeding program success.
Jerusalem Biblical Zoo – A Fun Learning Experience
Whether you are curious about the animals’ biblical significance; enjoy learning about endangered species; or simply want a day out with the family; the Zoo is the place to be. But the zoo that we enjoy presently hasn’t always looked like it does today. In fact, the original Jerusalem Biblical Zoo was founded by Aharon Shulov, a professor of Zoology; with the goal of providing his students with a research facility that contained the animals mentioned in the Bible. Opening in 1940, the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo would face many challenges in the coming years.
Starting very small, the zoo had to move almost immediately due to complaints by the neighborhoods. Then in 1947, the Zoo moved again to a new space on Mount Scopus to make room for the zoo’s growth. Sadly, the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and the siege of Jerusalem led to starvation in the city; including the zoo. Many of the dangerous species died while the non-dangerous species were released. Again, the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo moved again; only having a few animals left; with the United Nations’ help. Then it began to grow, but soon the Six-Day war would leave behind animal casualties as well. Finally, in 1965, the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo began to flourish; moving one more time in 1993 to re-open the zoo that we know and love today!
A Favorite Tourist Spot
The Zoo is a famous tourist attraction for all types of visitors. Moreover, children love the motorized train that takes you around the grounds as well as the petting zoo! Those with biblical ties love the Bible-themed decorations and the biblical information included on each animal’s information sign.
As of 2009, the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo contained over 2,000 animals representing 271 different species. One unique aspect of the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo is that the animals’ food is free of charge; a plan worked out by Shulov in accordance with the tithe involved in Jewish law. Due to this, the animals participate in Passover too! The animal feed pellets are gradually switched from wheat-based to rice-based ingredients before the holiday and are gradually switched back afterward.