Attempts to develop a zoological garden in Bratislava stretches far back, while the first official considerations and discussions are dated back to 1948. At this time however, there was no tradition of zoological gardens in Slovakia, hence it was very difficult to create a conception of the future garden. At first, in 1949, it was considered to build a Zoo in the area of Železná studnička. But the experts’ reports had confirmed this location as unsuitable. A new alternative was therefore accepted – to build up a Zoo in Mlynská dolina which originally covered 9 ha and later expanded to 90 ha. The first intention was to build a Zoo corner within the area of the Park of Culture and Relaxation but later on, taking into consideration the importance of Bratislava as the capital of Slovakia, it was agreed to build a separate breeding and educational institution.
The construction had begun in 1959 and the ceremonial opening of the Zoo took place on May 9th 1960. During the first decade of the existence of the Zoo, there was already some achievement regarding breeding of macaques, baboons, porcupines, nutrias, leopards, pumas and dingos. As one of the first Zoos in Europe, ours was successful in breeding lynx. A special attention deserves hand-rearing of antelopes, hamadryas baboons, common fallow deer and roe deer. Regarding educational activities, the advisory service to breeders of small animals, as well as amateur clubs such as horse riding, falconry, or zoological, husbandry and conservationists’ clubs were very successful. Later on, the collection of animals had been expanded by many rare animal species. The Zoo thus reached the most significant breeding success in the former Czechoslovakia, involving first hand-rearing of Persian leopards and stripped hyena.