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History of Tiergarten Nürnberg

From Luitpoldhain park to the Schmausenbuck mountain

As early as in the 19th century, the inhabitants of Nuremberg already thought about setting up a zoological garden. But it took until the beginning of the last century, those plans gained shape. Following the Hagenbeck Zoo in Hamburg as a prototype - with spacious outdoor enclosures, especially designed for the biological needs of animals - the Tiergarten Nürnberg was erected on the ground of the "Bayerische Landesausstellung" (a Bavarian state exhibition in 1906) in the Luitpolhain park.

Artificial mountains at Luitpoldhain park

As the site supplied of natural water areas but did not have any elevation, a setting made of concrete was built for alpine animals. The Nuremberg zoo officially opened its gates on May 11th, 1912. A rush of visitors made the cash tills ring, so shortly after, the zoo was able to present its visitors more than 1,200 animals. But very soon, the upcoming World War I and the following inflation endangered the zoo´s existence: food and money became scarce. Yet, the inhabitants of Nuremberg did not let down "their" zoo. And in the "Roaring Twenties", the Nuremberg zoo was booming again. With the NSDAP´s seizure of power in 1934, the end of the old zoo was coming closer. Adolf Hitler claimed the enlargement of the Nazi Party Rally Grounds at the Dutzendteich lake. The zoo was supposed to give way to the Luitpoldarena, the Große Straße (literally: big street, and a former part of the Nazi Party Rally Grounds), also to the congress hall. In February 1939, the zoo was closed for good.

New beginning at Schmausenbuck mountain

Due to careful planning and enormous efforts the new Tiergarten Nürnberg opened up at Schmausenbuck mountain in May 1939, after the construction time had last only 2 years. An early research for a suitable area had started in time: the wooded rocky landscape at the Schmausenbuck was fortunate and had been chosen well. And today, the Tiergarten Nürnberg is one of the most beautiful landscape zoos of Germany.

Recent history

Only a few months after the Tiergarten Nürnberg had opened, the Second World War broke out. Again, there was a lack of food and staff. Air raids wrecked almost every building and enclosure and many animals died.

From the end of the war until 1947, the Tiergarten Nürnberg was protected by US-American troops that bewared the zoo from major lootings. At the end of the 1950s, reconstruction was completed and about 1960, the zoo had reached its pre-war level again. A giraffe house and a tropical center were built in the 1960s and 1970s, as well as a dolphinarium. During the last decades, a natural historic center, a gorilla outdoor enclosure, an Aquapark and a domestic animal- and pet zoo followed. And still, the characteristics of the Tiergarten Nürnberg will change again and again - for the benefit of the zoo´s animals as well as for its visitors.

40 years of dolphin keeping in Nuremberg

It was August 13th, 1971, when the dolphins, which had arrived at the zoo some days before, could be admired by an enthusiastic Nuremberg audience during a performance for the very first time.

The Nuremberg honorary citizen Max Hintermayr initiated the construction of a dolphinarium in his native town by donating 1,250,000 German marks for the project. So, 10 years after the first dolphinarium ever was built at the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago/USA, and 6 years after the first German dolphinarium was constructed in Duisburg, Nuremberg started its own project.

Soon, dolphin keeping went on a fast lane in Nuremberg. Even when the dolphinarium did not succeed in rearing baby dolphins during the first 15 years, and a formerly low average annual survival rate of 4.76 years - things have changed: The Tiergarten Nürnberg managed raising five dolphins within the last 20 years. Meanwhile, the 50 year old Nuremberg dolphin Moby is one of the oldest dolphins around the world.

Another decisive reason for successful dolphin keeping is not only an increased experience in handling marine mammals, but definitely a second dolphinarium in 1988, as well as the extension of a round bassin next to the old dolphinarium.

After 40 years of dolphin keeping the progress goes on: A new dolphin lagoon, which had unanimously been approved by Nurembergs cultural affairs committee and had then been decided by the Municipal Council, will not only offer the dolphins an enlarged basin area but also Germany´s first outdoor facility.