The Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes is the oldest zoo in the world and takes up around a third of the size of the Jardin des Plantes. It is situated in the heart of Paris, along the Seine river bank.
Originally the Jardin des Plantes were botanical gardens of 58 acres which were created in 1626. The zoo is today part of the Muséum national d'histoire naturelle and was founded in 1793. A political decision created the menagerie, stating that private owners should give their wild animals to the zoo. By the 19th century it was the largest exotic animal collection in Europe.
Over 1,000 animals live in the 55,000 m2 of green enclosure. Within the park there is a restaurant, a children's play ground with rides and a first aid post. The park is open every day from 7.30am to 7.30pm. Entry to the Jardin des Plantes is free, apart from the Jardin Alpin which costs 1€. Entrance into the zoo itself costs 8€ full fare but is free for children under 4, the disabled and unemployed. The nearest train stations are the Gare d'Austerlitz and the Gare de Lyon.