Taipei Zoo, sometimes known as Muzhi Zoo, is situated to the southeast of the city and is reputed to be the largest zoo in Asia, covering an area of 165 hectares, over half of which is open to the public.
The zoo was founded in 1914 under Japanese sovereignty and was taken over by the Taiwanese government in 1946. Due to expansion it moved from its previous home north of the city to its present location in 1987.
The zoo has eight exhibition areas: Formosan Animal Centre, Children’s Zoo, Asian Tropical Rainforest Animal Area, Desert Animal Area, Australian Animal Area, African Animal Area, Temperate Zone and Outdoor Observation Area. It also comprises six buildings: Education Centre, Nocturnal Animal House, Penguin House, Amphibian and Reptile House, Koala House and Insectarium. It also features a wetlands eco-park and special exhibition house.
Taipei Zoo has several restaurants, a shop and tourist office as well as huts and rest areas. A pay-as-you-go tram service is available to take you around the park. Tour guides are available for groups of thirty or more and have to be booked 10 days in advance. The zoo is open daily from 9am to 5pm throughout the year, except January 22nd (Chinese New Year’s day).
You can get to the zoo by taking the MRT metro service (the Wenshan-Neihiu or “brown” line) to Taipei Zoo Station—the last stop on the line. A good idea for a round trip, and to enjoy some wonderful scenery, is to take the Maokong Gondola (closed Mondays, except public holidays) that operates from the back of the zoo and takes you to Maokong Station where you then take a local service back to the city.