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[Photos] The Saigon Zoo's Enduring Serenity in the 1970s

Over the years, Saigon has changed as drastically as a flounder undergoing a metamorphosis that transfers its eyes from one side of its face to the other. 

And yet, the Saigon Zoo remains relatively the same. Its lush, tree-filled grounds have been a haven for carefree visitors for over a half-century, as exemplified by these photos taken in 1970 by visiting serviceman Carl Nielsen.  

Stylish visitors on a day out.

Saigoneer makes no attempt to hide our conflicted love for the Saigon Zoo, and one of its many charms is how seemingly unchanged it is from its original construction in the late 19th century. By the time these photos were taken, the animal enclosures were already outdated, and the trees native to other regions of Vietnam were already decades old. 

Ardent zoo visitors will notice a few developments, however. The back of the zoo stretching along the Thi Nghe Canal at one point didn't have a fence, and thus offered great views of a much less-developed background. And while the zoo is currently home to many chintzy attractions, the "mini-cinema" viewer is no longer amongst them.

Former view of the Thi Nghe Canal and bridge.

As the year's outpouring of financial support during its financial difficulties proved, Saigoneers love their zoo and botanical gardens, and it's unlikely the rumors of its demise will come to pass anytime soon. What better way to celebrate its enduring place in the city's heart than by taking a stroll through it via these photos:

A large clock on a grassy hill.  

The commemorative temple that now serves as the Hung King Temple. 

Carl Nielsen beside a bronze elephant statue that the Thai King Paramindr Maha Prajadhipok donated to the Nguyen dynasty in 1935. It remains there today.

Guests circle a bear enclosure.

A monkey in its cage.

Inside what is now the History Museum of Ho Chi Minh City. 

A Buddha statue from the Khai Tuong pagoda which was destroyed during the French colonial period. It is now held at the War Remnants Museum.

70s fashion at its finest.

Mini-cinema attraction.

Well-manicured gardens on the zoo grounds.

[Photos via RedsVN]

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