The park´s history
Laugardalur Valley is a very special place to the city's residents. The last several decades, various facilities have been built for people to spend their free time on sports, games, outdoors activities and education. The Park and Zoo adds its own special contribution to the valley and has become increasing popular.
The decision to build the zoo in Laugardalur Valley was taken by the Reykjavík City Council on 22 April, 1986. The goal with its establishment was to educate the general public on Icelandic farm animals, give them a closer look at Icelandic farming practices, and strengthen the bond between people and animals. Construction of the zoo began in 1989. Within one year, six structures for animal keeping were built, a seal pond was dug, areas for foxes, minks and reindeer formed and a goat enclosure set up. In addition to that, the workshop Hafrafell, which painter Örlygur Sigurson owned, was converted into an office and lecture hall. Plans were put in place to keep more than 20 species while letting the animals that live in Iceland have the spotlight, including farm animals and those found in the wild. There are few animals of each type. Efforts are made to display their variatiations, colors, both sexes and their offspring. The zoo was opened by then mayor Davíð Oddson on 19 May, 1990.
It was immediately apparent that guests really appreciated this addition to the city's cultural activities. Based on the positive reception, the city authorities decided to develop an area of land next to the zoo where there could be multiple services and facilities to spend one's free time. This area was given the name The Park. The mayor at the time, Markús Örn Antonsson, broke the first ground for The Park project on 24 August, 1991. After construction began on The Park, a decision was made to combine it with The Zoo and operate them as one unit. Landwise, the two sections are connected by the bridge Bifröst. A little less than two years after the first ground was broken on the project, on 24 June, 1993, the area was formally opened by the mayor, and The Park and Zoo, now as a combined singular entity, began to operate.
EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMMING WORK
The concepts that were chosen as the foundation for the development of the area were seeing, learning, doing and being which are connected to key terms such as family, adventure and stories, games and environmentally friendly progress. The people behind the conceptualization and design of the area sought out references from Icelanders' cultural history. Accordingly, there are various motifs in the combined park and zoo's two sections relating to Norse mythology and the country's Viking Age. Examples of this usage of motifs include a viking ship, öndvegissúlur [high-seat pillars] and a replica þinghóll [parliamentary mound] made to look like that ancient structure, in addition to the naming conventions utilized. Many of the historical blueprints that were on the table still haven't been realized. Educational programming was initially the cornerstone of the zoo's business. It still has that role today, with about 10,000 student participants hosted per year.
THE PARK AND ZOO TODAY
Today The Park and Zoo is situated on a 91,660 m2 site. In the detailed land-use plan for Laugardalur Valley (from 27/09/2004), an expansion consisting of a 24,000 m2 lot has been proposed to the west of The Park and Zoo. Within the expansion site, there is a building lot which is connected to the property at Mímir's Bridge. As the park has been built today, there is a geographical boundary between its operational units, i.e. between the Park and Zoo. The operational units of the park as a whole are bilaterally connected by walking paths around Laugardalur Valley, as well as being united by bridge. The location of the expansion site's property provides excellent possibilities for better connecting the activities and operations at the park. Over the last several years, the animal enclosures have been renovated and a new reception house built that sells souvenirs. Further construction is planned to take place at the park in the coming years.
Staff at the Park and Zoo
The staff have a varied background, with diverse education and experience