The Buffalo Zoological Gardens is the third oldest institution of its kind in the United States. The Zoo's mission is to provide the general public with an educationally, culturally and recreationally significant community resource. This is accomplished through the advancement and encouragement of the science of zoology, through the conservation of the world's wildlife and through the innovative exhibition of diverse species of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish.
Originally conceived as a deer park in the northeast corner of Frederick Law Olmsted's Delaware Park, The Buffalo Zoo was established in 1875. Spurred on by local donations of animals, The Zoo grew and rapidly developed between 1875 and 1930 and attracted great community interest and involvement. This growth led to the Zoological Society of Buffalo being founded in 1931. The Society worked with the City of Buffalo to effect many improvements to The Zoo over the next four decades. Included in this period was a major renovation (1938-1942) by the Works Progress Administration (WPA), which featured buildings using classic, period architecture.
In 1973, operational responsibilities for the Zoo were turned over from the City of Buffalo to the Society, which assembled a professional staff to provide care and oversight for the collection. Since the Society assumed leadership for the Zoo, important capital projects have been completed. Improvements are continually made to make the Buffalo Zoo responsive to the animal's needs and a great venue for family outings, recreation and education.
Today, the philosophy of the Buffalo Zoo is to exhibit animals and plants in ecological habitats and geographical arrangements that represent the biomes of the world. Current programs focus on providing visitors with a better understanding of the natural world, how animals relate to each other, to their environment and to humankind. No longer are animals housed at the Buffalo Zoo solely for the amusement and entertainment of visitors, but rather, are presented to increase awareness for the importance of conservation for the benefit of both the animal kingdom and the human race.