Because of the success of menageries in the city, but more importantly, because of the desire to study wild animals scientifically, in 1803, naturalists in Paris, France, created an establishment designed for the benefit of the nation, the Jardin des plantes (botanical garden). From the very beginning, there was a house for monkeys and birds, pits for the bears, rotundas for the elephants and giraffes, a building for ferocious animals, etc. The space was available and it was managed with care. Different levels were created, trees were planted, as were entire woods; and ponds and small wooden houses were constructed. Paths were laid to crisss-cross the area: a true English garden!
At first, one entered this garden only with the written permission of a scientist. A year later, due to the number of requests, the restrictions were eased: four days of the week were reserved for Museum students and artists and the other three days it was open to an enthusiastic public.
In the nineteenth century, this model was reprised throughout Europe. In the Buen Retiro in Madrid, in l'ile aux paons (Peacock Island), a domain in Potsdam owned by the King of Prussia, in 1822, and in Regent's Park in London in 1828. They were now referred to as zoological gardens, a term derived from the Gardens of the London Zoological Society, which was further generalized at the beginning of the twentieth century, when the word "zoo" was adopted definitively. The accent was no longer on the space but the contents. Opening the zoos to the public at large was widespread, but it developed in stages. In London, for the first 20 years, access was first limited to Zoological Society members. During the week, some outsiders were admitted for an average cost of one shilling, if they presented a letter of recommendation signed by a member of the Society. Then, little by little, came the realization that to defray the costs, it was necessary to open the gardens to all. Those who refused soon went bankrupt.
In that same period, royal menageries were challenged. It seemed unthinkable to be feeding animals when people were dying of hunger. Only certain aristocrats, artists, or old colonials kept wild beasts at the foot of their beds. For example, Sarah Bernhardt kept a puma in 1895 and Cécile Sorel kept a lion in 1880 (approximately). The development of tourism presented ample opportunities to bring home an animal.
Gradually, it was forbidden to display wild animals in the streets, and animal fights were stopped. Only bear trainers, trainers who worked in fairs, and small travelling menageries, with five to ten animals, survived and increased in number.
Towards the end of the nineteenth century, zoos underwent considerable improvements, rejecting the sterility and fragility of cages. For example, aviaries came into being, the first of which was created in Rotterdam around 1880, with earth or lawn-covered grounds, trees or bushes, and nests and shelters; and their dimensions were increased to permit birds to fly a little or to at least spread their wings. All these places presented the illusion of nature and offered more space for exercise. Berlin and London set the example. The idea was to acclimate and domesticate animals, but with more respect than before. The Société protectrice des animaux (SPA) (Society for the Protection of Animals), created in Paris in 1845, dedicated itself to the cause.
The primary objective was to entertain and educate the crowd. It was constantly necessary to satisfy the mass public, continue to rehabilitate animals, and unceasingly acquire new species. Great effort was expended to exhibit the species; for example, the most prized were placed in the centre of the gardens. Egyptian temples were built in Antwerp in 1856 and Indian pagodas were constructed at Tiergarden in Berlin to add an exotic touch. The public wanted animals that were strange, wild, ferocious, and above all, very different from those in Europe; they wanted a change of scene and the opportunity to dream of faraway places.