The zoo is located within the walls of the former Koenigsberg zoo founded in 1896 by German contractor Klaass Herman.
During World War II the zoo was badly damaged. One of the four animals who survived was a hippopotamus. He was named Hans after the war and became the symbol of the new zoo of Kaliningrad that opened on June 27, 1947.
Today, Kaliningrad zoo is a permanent member of the Eurasian Association of Zoos and Aquariums (EARAZA) and takes part in many international programs of conservation and reproduction of rare animal species.