History of the vivarium

The history of Karlsruhe's vivarium dates back to the year 1938. Georg Fessenmaier, a school teacher in Daxlanden, set up aquariums and terrariums at his own initiative for the biology lessons he taught, and interest in his collections grew and grew. The first vivarium was created shortly thereafter in the former teaching seminar on Rüppurer Strasse, but it was destroyed by bombs in 1944. In 1948, the vivarium was moved to the cellar of the museum, and soon Georg Fessenmaier was able to present not only domestic fish, amphibians and reptiles but exotic animals as well.

The popularity of the vivarium amongst the people of Karlsruhe, however, meant that housing it in the natural history museum's cellar was not an adequate solution. After several delays, a new vivarium was finally opened in the ground floor of the museum in 1962. Over the years, the collection of animals in the vivarium has continued to grow, and several animals have been integrated to the main area of the permanent exhibition.

The focus of the collection has shifted over the course of the decades. Today, in addition to the terrariums and the fresh water and Mediterranean aquariums, the magnificent tropical coral reef tank is a main attraction with its impressive range of species.