For 600 years, wild and exotic creatures were held captive here by kings and queens.
From lions, tigers, monkeys and elephants, to zebras, alligators, bears and kangaroos, explore the tales of the many exotic animals kept at the Tower.
Learn about the polar bear who fished in the Thames for his lunch, the ostrich who ate nails and many other surprising stories. Interactive multimedia displays allow you to experience the sights, sounds, and even smells of the animals! You will also find out what happened when they escaped...
Founded by King John in the early 1200s, the Royal Menagerie became home to more than 60 species of animal. This began a long tradition of kings and queens keeping exotic animals as symbols of power and for the entertainment and curiosity of the court. Animals were also exchanged throughout Europe as regal gifts, but sadly, they were often mistreated.
As you explore around the Tower of London, you will see many life-size sculptures of menagerie animals by artist, Kendra Haste.
What animals can you find?
The Royal Menagerie was one of the many institutions founded at the Tower of London. Others include The Royal Mint and The Royal Observatory. While some organisations moved out and other functions ceased, many operated for hundreds of years.
Over the centuries there have been many battles at the Tower of London. Explore the Tower’s early years as a formidable historic fortress.
Step inside the luxurious lodgings of two kings, meticulously re-created in the Medieval Palace at the Tower of London.