The Yangon Zoological Gardens is the oldest and the second largest zoo in Myanmar. Located immediately north of downtown Yangon near Kandawgyi Lake, the 70acre recreational park also includes a museum of natural history, an aquarium and an amusement park. With a collection of nearly 200 species and 1100 animals, the zoo draws nearly 2.2 million visitors annually. The zoo was operated by the Forest Department under the Ministry of Forestry until April 2011, and is now operated by a private firm.Yangon Zoo is open from 8 AM to 6 PM daily.HistoryThe first collection of wild animals in Yangon began in 1882 in connection with Phayre’s Museum, then situated at the present site of the Yangon General Hospital. Funded by a public donation of 240,000 kyats(approximately US$240,000 then) construction started at the present site near the Royal Lake (Kandawgyi Lake) in 1901. The newly established 42acre zoological gardens was formally opened as the Victoria Memorial Park and Zoological Gardens in honor of Queen Victoria. The major attraction at the opening was the white elephant of King Thibaw, the last king of then Burma, whom the British had exiled to India only 20 years earlier. In 1908 the Victoria Memorial Park and Zoological Gardens Act was passed giving the establishment a legal recognition.