My first visit to London Zoo was in the 1950s when the Zoo’s main purpose was to provide a spectacle for the public with a bit of education thrown in. Therefore I was able to take full advantage of all the non PC facilities on offer; camel rides, elephant rides and of course, the chimpanzees tea party. This was eventually discontinued in 1972 when it was realised that the chimps were reluctant to give up their celebrity status and retire out out the limelight, making them rather difficult to handle like many another spoiled celebrity thrown upon hard times.
Today london Zoo is rather an odd place. They are of course in the forefront of modern zoological thinking when it comes to habitat etc but are somewhat disadvantaged by the number of listed buildings on site. Of these the only one still used for its original purpose is the Giraffe house which opened in 1835
A more recent arrival is the pygmy hippo - I don't remember seeing those as a child
The penguins are always a star attraction at any zoo and at Regents Park they had their own specially designed Modernist pool. When they were removed from this recently so it could be refurbished it was discovered that they did much better in a more natural habitat so 'Penguin Beach' was created.
The original pool, which is grade 1 listed, has been turned into a water feature.
Some of the newer areas include walk through aviaries and it's good to be able to get close up without wire or bars in the way.
But the end of the day all the animals are captive, even though their captivity may enable others of their species to roam free in their natural habitat in the future, and they are behind bars.
Till next time x