Brandywine Zoo

Zoo History

1883 -The New Law

The Delaware State Legislature passed a law that set up the Wilmington Board of Park Commissioners.

1886 – Purchase of Potential Zoo Land

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The renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead was commissioned to determine where the zoo should be located. He proposed buying property along the Brandywine River. Mr. Olmstead designed the park the same way he designed Boston Commons in Massachusetts and Central Park in New York City. The property was bought.

1904 – The Imagination of a Zoo

Dr. James H. Morgan proposed establishing a zoo in Wilmington to the Board of Park Commissioners.

1905-Wilmington Free Zoological Association Founded 

The Wilmington Zoo was established after the group adopted the Wilmington Free Zoological Association as its new name.

1925-28 – New Animal Donations 

The zoo received gifts from various animals during this time, including eleven elk, three buffalo, two eagles, five monkeys, two black bears, ducks, parrots, two raccoons, one groundhog, and three alligators.

1928- Bear Exhibits and Monkey House

Three new bear displays they’re constructed, and the last bear pit was filled. They are still in the Main Zoo, close to the Administration Building. A monkey house with large wire cages containing mangabeys, macaques, and squirrels was converted from the comfort station (Exotic Animal House).

1950 –  Children’s Zoo

The Society decides to construct a zoo for kids.

From the 1950s until the 1970s, the Brandywine Zoo was transformed into a kids’ park.

The Brandywine Zoo was transformed into a kids’ zoo in the 1950s–1970s, with several characters and displays from fairy tales.

1952- Construction begins.

 In 1952, the ground was broken. The Wilmington Lions Club played a significant role in the project’s fundraising. Eleven little structures with a distinct Mother Goose figure at their core. Farm animals are brightly decorated in each display, gathered each spring from local farmers who want to give them. Previously, the capybara and otters they’re housed in this region, which was in the extreme corner of the zoo. Forty-six thousand people visited the Children’s Zoo in its inaugural year. The themed area continued to exist in its original form until the late 1970s.

1963 – Main Zoo Temporarily Closes

The Children’s Zoo stayed open, although the central zoo was forced to shut down due to its terrible condition.

1971- New Castle County Takes Over The Zoo

A “Zoo Supervisor” named Hans Rosenberg was recruited. He increased the zoo’s collection while keeping the monkey house inaccessible to visitors even though animals remained inside.

1979- Is Founded the Delaware Zoological Society 

Hans Rosenberg was replaced by Tom Skeldon, who founded the Delaware Zoological Society. The Administration Building, which includes offices and a kitchen, was constructed at this time. Where once there was a duck pond, there is now a tiger exhibit.

1986 – Aza Accreditation 

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) granted accreditation to the Brandywine Zoo, which it has maintained since 1986. The Brandywine Zoo must pass a rigorous inspection every five years to maintain accreditation. This inspection verifies that the zoo has complied with ever-rising requirements for animal care, veterinary programs, conservation, education, and safety.

2005 – 100 Years

Hans Rosenberg was replaced by Tom Skeldon, who founded the Delaware Zoological Society.

The 100th anniversary of the Brandywine Zoo was celebrated.

2014- Red Pandas!

The collection at the Brandywine Zoo has been bolstered by adding two lovable red pandas. These two young ladies were delivered at the Detroit Zoo in 2013.

2016 – Goodbye Zhanna

Zhanna, the Amur tiger who belonged to the Brandywine Zoo, has been relocated to the Bronx Zoo’s Tiger Mountain by a breeding recommendation from the AZA.

2020 – Madagascar Exhibit Opens

The ecosystem of Madagascar, the world’s fourth-largest island, which is located off the coast of Africa and is home to some of the rarest and most unique species of animals, is shown in the Madagascar Habitat. This new ecosystem is home to three kinds of lemurs, all endangered and only on the island of Madagascar. Radiated Tortoises, one of two endangered kinds of tortoises found exclusively in Madagascar, also call this area home.

2022 – Animals Care Center Opens

The Animal Care Center increases its capacity to care for its animal collection by acclimating new animals and providing ongoing veterinary care. This is only one of the ways that the Animal Care Center helps us.

2022 – AZA Accredited

Accreditation, the highest possible level of success, was bestowed on the Brandywine Zoo due to a rigorous examination and evaluation procedure carried out by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).


Animals from the subtropical and tropical regions of North and South America, Asia, and Africa may be found in the Brandywine Zoo. The animals in the zoo vary from those that are more common to those that are critically endangered. The majority of the creatures in their zoo are of more diminutive size. Throughout the year, they provide a wide variety of learning opportunities, conservation initiatives, community outreach activities, and other unique events for people of all ages.

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums has bestowed its accreditation to the Brandywine Zoo. The achievement of this quality benchmark demonstrates to the general public that the Brandywine Zoo not only meets but also excels in animal care, education, visitor services, programming, and conservation.

The Department of Recreation and Parks of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Division of the State of Delaware runs the Brandywine Zoo. The Delaware Zoological Society, a non-profit organization and partner of the Brandywine Zoo, provides financial assistance to the Zoo Brandywine.

Education Programs at The Zoo For December 2022 They are Currently Booking Fun and 

Educational School Experiences

Their on-site programs include inquiry-based, hands-on learning opportunities encouraging research and stimulating the mind. Students may participate in activities and lessons while getting to know some of their animals.


Animal Adaptations 

Discover the value of biodiversity and why preserving each creature is essential as you examine how animals are suited to exist in their habitats. This curriculum is age-appropriate for your pupils.

Five Senses

Learn how both humans and animals use smell, taste, touch, sight, and hearing to interact with their environment and learn about it. This curriculum is age-appropriate for your pupils.

Habitats and Ecosystems

Animals reside in their habitats, which are made up of an ecosystem of interacting plants and animals essential to one another’s survival. Learn about the elements that make up ecosystems, habitats, and the necessities for animal survival. This curriculum is age-appropriate for your pupils.

Zoo Tour

No more than 20 individuals in total. Take a zoo tour with an instructor to learn interesting facts about nature and exciting anecdotes about the animals. Depending on the ages and interests of your party, terms may be modified.

For more information, visit their website or call them at (302) 571-7788 Click for more.

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