Chartered by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania on March 21, 1859, its opening was delayed by the American Civil War until July 1, 1874. It opened with 1,000 animals and an admission price of 25 cents. For a brief time, the zoo also housed animals brought over from safari on behalf of the Smithsonian Institution, which had not yet built the National Zoo. The zoo is 42 acres and is home to more than 1,300 animals, many of which are rare and endangered. The zoo features a children’s zoo, a paddleboat lake, a rainforest themed carousel, and many interactive and educational exhibits.