The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore

Meet Hodor the common warthog (Photo credit: Maryland Zoo)

Did you know the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore is the third oldest zoo in the nation? Although the then-named Baltimore Zoo officially opened in April 1876, the zoological gardens that acted as the basis for the zoo opened all the way back in 1862. To put that in perspective, our very own Maryland Zoo was created during the Civil War! Howard Daniels, a landscape gardener, helped to cultivate Druid Hill Park in 1862, and many wealthy Baltimore citizens added to his cause by donating animals to elevate the natural beauty of the park, eventually leading to the official creation of the zoo.

An African penguin (Photo credit: Maryland Zoo)

Over time, the zoo began culminating a repertoire of foreign animals like camels (1919), elephants (1926), hippopotami (1926), and many more. In addition to simply housing the animals, in 1984 the Maryland Zoo created habitats that mimicked the animals’ natural environments. These exhibits included Maryland WildernessAfrican Journey, and Northern Passage. Maryland Wilderness shows off native animals and the local Maryland environment. The African Journey displays iconic animals such as elephants, giraffes, and lions. Finally, the Northern Watch is home to grizzly bears, North American porcupines, and bald eagles.

Currently, the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore is home to around 130 species of animals, ranging from birds to reptiles to mammals.

Victorian-era penguin exhibit (Photo credit: Maryland Zoo)

While the three exhibits I mentioned earlier still exist, the most successful is the newer Penguin Coast exhibit. After opening back in 2015, it has won the American Association of Zoological Parks and Aquariums (AZA) Award for Exhibit Design. Penguin Coast is also the “largest and most successful African penguin breeding colony in North America” according to, as it is home to over 90 African penguins!!

The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore is one of the more unique destinations in the state, with a rich history and numerous fascinating exhibits to see. 

If you want to check out some of their live exhibit feeds, click here!

All photo credits go to the Maryland Zoo (

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