National Zoo Awareness Day is on August 31. Do you love zoos and wildlife as much as we do? Zoos are perfect places to bond over a shared love for animals. Contrary to popular perception, they’re not just places for kids and families. We know we’ve been to many a zoo with friends or even on a date. Being around animals elevates any experience. We believe it can change life perspectives altogether. National Zoo Awareness Day in the U.K. celebrates zoos as spaces of learning and fun. When done right, zoos can probably save the world.
History of National Zoo Awareness Day
The history of zoos dates back to the pharaohs of ancient Egypt. The intent, of course, was different. Back then, many rulers kept exotic animals — to either gift other rulers or for vanity’s sake. There was little to no effort in caring for the animals. Humans still lacked the requisite knowledge or will.
Over millennia, our understanding of the animal kingdom evolved. We saw animal trainers and zookeepers emerge. But the general idea of animals as exotic entertainment persisted. Gradually, new knowledge and tools for caring for animals became widespread; zoos and aquariums were born. Around the same time, the idea of humans caring for wildlife first took root and stayed.
By the 19th century, zoology became a popular field of science. Private animal collections were frowned upon, becoming less and less popular over time. The modern zoo as we know it today grew from this evolution of thought. Even so, not all of them are the same.
There are zoos open to the public, while others are purely for conservation purposes. Many private zoos run breeding programs to protect critically endangered species from extinction. Other programs take in rescued animals that can no longer survive in the wild for various reasons.
As conscientious citizens, we must critically examine the zoos in our areas. What is the intent? Are there programs that benefit the animals and conservation? Does the zoo educate the community on wildlife and ecosystems? Are the animal enclosures mimicking natural habitats? National Zoo Awareness Day hopes to instill fascination, love, and respect for animals; particularly when they are in human care.
National Zoo Awareness Day timeline
In Ancient Egypt, Pharaoh Hatshepsut’s animal collection is widely-known.
Ticket sales and charitable contributions to zoological gardens help to fund scientific research on animals.
The United States forms national parks and passes laws to preserve natural habitats.
Yorkshire Wildlife Park is established to encourage ethical tourism and conservation efforts.
National Zoo Awareness Day FAQs
Are there holidays that celebrate animals?
From pets to rare wildlife, numerous holidays celebrate animals. Some examples are World Whale Day, World Spay Day, and National Walking the Dog Day. The list is endless.
What is celebrated on October 4?
October 4 is World Animal Welfare Day. Welfare standards for animals need a critical overhaul. The day aims to raise global awareness and inspire action for animal rights.
How many national pet days are there?
There are hundreds of pet holidays out there. They’re occasions to celebrate our pets in fun, creative ways. Some holidays remind us to go the extra mile when caring for pets.
National Zoo Awareness Day Activities
Visit an ethical zoo
When was the last time you went to the zoo? Make a day of it with your family. Choose one that seeks to educate the general public on animal welfare.
Watch a nature documentary
The BBC’s “Planet Earth” series is all kinds of awe-inspiring. “Blue Planet” comes a close second.
Support a zoo
Support conservation efforts by volunteering or donating to a non-profit zoo. Most of them depend on funding to sustain research and rescue programs.
5 Facts About Wildlife Sanctuaries That Will Blow Your Mind
Costa Rica’s Sloth Sanctuary
This sanctuary is home to numerous sloths rescued from hazardous urban environments.
Louisiana’s Chimp Haven
More than 300 chimps rescued from biomedical facilities live and frolic in the forests of Louisiana.
Australia’s Moonlight Sanctuary
Guests can go on both day and night tours to see Australia's famous residents: wombats, koalas, and wallabies.
Bulgaria’s Dancing Bear Park
The park is a safe home for rescued bears that were once trained and performed across Bulgaria.
Senegal’s Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary
The park's 40,000 acres of wetland is a sanctuary for hundreds of migratory birds.
Why We Love National Zoo Awareness Day
The Earth belongs to everyone
The world isn’t ours alone. Caring for animals reminds us just how much our futures are interlinked.
Wildlife is inspiring
Wildlife leaves us spellbound. We start to feel small, in the best way possible.
A reason to visit the zoo
In an increasingly online world, visiting a zoo still hasn't lost its appeal. Today’s perfect for a fun day out.
National Zoo Awareness Day dates