The Tisch Family Zoological Gardens is also called the Biblical Zoo, and opened to the public in the year 1993 in the Malha neighborhood in Jerusalem, Israel. The zoo has actually been operating, however, at various locations throughout the city since the year 1941. The Biblical Zoo was established in its current form thanks to a generous donation from the Tisch family in New York, under the support of the Jerusalem Foundation. The zoo was built by the Moriah-Jerusalem Development Corporation and designed by Miller-Blum & Associates Landscape Architects.
The Biblical Zoo spans across nearly one hundred acres, and is consistently ranked as one of Israel’s top tourist attractions, drawing more than seven hundred and fifty thousand visitors each years. The various exhibits of animals and the scenic location of the zoo in the Judean Hills attract visitors from all groups that make up the social fabric of Jerusalem: Jewish, Muslim, and Christian; religious and secular; old and young; locals and tourists. As a result, the Tisch Family Zoological Gardens have become a bridge that connects the communities. It’s one of the country’s few sites that brings everyone together and makes everyone feel welcome.
Established originally in the year 1940, the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo first operated as a rather small zoo for children in central Jerusalem on Harav Kook Street. This zoo was started by Professor Aharon Shulov, a pioneer in the zoology field at the city of Jerusalem’s Hebrew University. A larger zoo was founded in the year 1941 in Jerusalem on Shmuel Hanavi Street. This zoo was just a little over an acre in size.
The zoo was later moved to Mt. Scopus to the Hebrew University in the year 1947. In 1948, as a result of the of the hardships that were caused by the country’s War of Independence, the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo was moved again, this time a larger area consists of slightly less than fifteen acres in the area of Givat Komuna, located adjacent to the city’s Romema neighborhood. The zoo continued to remain at the location for forty-one years, from the year 1950 to the year 1991. Throughout the years, the Biblical Zoo had become a beloved and well-known attraction in the city of Jerusalem.
By the year 1991, it became evident that the location of the Biblical Zoo could serve the purpose of being a modern zoo any longer. The zoo required facilities to be built in order to improve the welfare conditions for the animals, as well as to establish education and wildlife conservation programs. In the year 1991, the old Jerusalem Biblical Zoo was closed, and the process began to move the zoo to its new location. This process culminated in 1993 with the current zoo being opened at its present location.
The Tisch Family Zoological Gardens, or the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo as it is unofficially known, today spans across a total area of sixty-two acres. The zoo resides within a scenic valley that is surrounded by new neighborhoods and green hills. It’s thought to be one of Israel’s most beautiful parks, and has become popular meeting place for the diverse communities of Jerusalem.
1 Derech Aharon Shulov, Jerusalem, Israel, Phone: 972-26-75-01-11