How to Build a Zoo in Minecraft
With over 30 Mobs in Minecraft and over half of them being much like real life animals, it is very rare to see them all in one place.
Many Mobs in the game are biome specific and can only be found in certain areas. And not every Mob is tamable.
So far, there are only 4 Mobs that you can tame: Horses, Wolves, Cats, and Parrots. The others can be interacted with and bred, but they cannot be made to follow you or be used like the tamable Mobs.
Instead, what we can do, is build a zoo.
A place to safely house all the different Mobs in the game without worrying about them wondering off and disappearing forever while also caring for them and having a bit of entertainment along with it.
Animal Compatibility and Requirments
Minecraft isn’t a simulation game when it comes to its animals, so the requirements for a happy animal aren’t like they would be in other games.
There is no size requirement that has to be met for an enclosure nor do you really have to mimic a biome to keep an animal happy.
Though, that doesn’t mean you can just place all the Mobs together without consequences.
Certain Mobs have different mobility abilities, such as flying or jumping. Mobs like Frogs and Goats can easily jump out of their enclosures, while Parrots can simply fly away. In those cases you would have to build an appropriate pen or cage so they cannot get out.
Of course, keeping the animals inside their enclosures isn’t your only concern. Mobs can easily despawn if you wonder off far away enough.
In order to prevent that from happening make sure that you name every Mob using a Name Tag.
Not all Mobs get along, either. There are many Mobs in the game that are each other’s natural enemy and will kill each other on sight.
Mobs that you should absolutely never put together are:
- Axolotls – any Fish or Squid
- Foxes – Wolves, Chickens and Polar Bears
- Frogs – Slimes and Magma Cubes
- Ocelots – Parrots, Chickens
It is also important to know what to feed your animals. Even though they do not get hungry like we do in the game, some of them can get injured and will need healing. Others you may want to breed.
For example, Parrots cannot be healed and will die immediately when fed a Cookie.
Frogs breed by being fed Slimeballs. Many other Mobs have also special requirements in order to be bred and to grow.
Preparing a Layout
A layout is very important when creating a build. For a zoo you will need to make a layout so you can see a clear view of what you are building and plan a path that you and your guests would be taking when visiting the zoo.
Your paths should be set to go between enclosures and facilities, making a whole round trip around your zoo.
Make sure that your enclosures are also the right size. You don’t want them to be too small, but if they’re too big you will practically lose your animals inside them. Also keep in mind that if you wish to include all animal Mobs, you will need 20 enclosures. Don’t give yourself more work than needed.
In my own layout I only included about a dozen animals and some of them I even placed together in the same enclosure.
When making the layout it is good to take into account not just the enclosures, but the different facilities that can be in your zoo: dens you may include with each enclosure, a shop, and also the type of enclosures you will have.
An enclosure can be many different things:
- Fenced in pen
All of these look a little different and are built with different materials.
For example, my aquariums and terrariums I put all together into a single building as a “Reptile house”, while Parrots and Bats would have cages in an outdoor area.
Building an Enclosure
Once you have a layout ready for your zoo and you know where you will be placing which animal, you can get to building.
Building an enclosure is usually pretty straight forward.
There are a few different approaches when it comes to building that you can take. Obviously all of the pens will have to be fenced in, though they do not have to be on the same level with your paths.
Consider digging into the ground and placing some of your enclosures in a hole, while other ones you can build viewing platforms going around them and have higher fences.
I enjoy building deep enclosures for Mobs such as Polar Bears and Pandas, while for Goats I make a tall fence so they cannot jump out.
Another tip is that every enclosure should have an area with water, like a small river or pond, someplace with foliage where the animal can hide, and then a clear area where it can play. Sometimes, depending on the animal, I add a burrow of sorts where it can go hide and sleep.
These are all just details that add to the aesthetic.
For this tutorial we will work on an enclosure for Wolves.
The Wolves will have their enclosure dug 1 block into the ground, with a slightly taller fence than usual. The fence is made using 1 row of Bricks and 1 row of Dark Oak Fences. A small platform made with Slabs outside will make it easy and safe to look down into the enclosure.
Once you have walled in the enclosure it is time to get to decorating it. We will not be decorating with buildings or furniture, but rather with natural things.
What we are doing is trying to match the biome you would usually find the Mob in. In the case of Wolves we will try to make a mini Taiga biome.
I start off by making a mini river using Stone and Stone Stairs. I add some Andesite and Mossy Cobblestone to give color variation. Then I create patches of Podzol all over the area with some Moss closer to the river.
Now, the Taiga Biome is known for its incredibly tall Spruce Trees. These unfortunately cannot fit in the enclosure and would look odd on their own. For that we can just plant Spruce Saplings or we can build a custom tree of our own, which will be just a smaller version of Taiga Spruce.
Because trees sometimes spread out unexpectedly, I prefer to build the tree by myself.
Around the trees I place Tall Ferns and use Leaves to make foliage and bushes. You can include Berry Bushes in the enclosure as well, but be mindful of it injuring you or the animals.
Finally, at the back of the enclosure I build a small makeshift den, using variations of Stone and Andesite.
To add details you can use Custom Heads or Buttons. Buttons are a great way to put down pebbles (Stone Buttons) or even bits of meat that the animal would be eating (Crimson Wood or Mangrove Buttons).
Finally you can add your Wolves or other animals that you have chosen this particular area for.
Building Other Enclosures
Building the other types of enclosures is even easier. Often times they are smaller and therefore easier to decorate.
When it comes to building aquariums and terrariums, they are built identically. Usually I keep them smaller than the cages, as they are meant for smaller Mobs.
For a Cave Spider terrarium I use Glass Panes to close it off. I only use Podzol and Rooted Dirt for the floor because it looks like substrate. I add a bunch of Grass and Ferns, and then Vines on the walls and ceilings.
Mangrove Roots are a nice touch when building a hidey hole for the Spiders. To me it resembles bark you see in real terrariums. Finally, add some Cobwebs to finish the look.
For cages I take a similar approach, depending on size. In my layout the cages I included were small, enough to host a few Parrot of each color type. For these I use Iron Bars to close them in, with Jungle Trapdoors on the top.
The bottom of the cage I do not do anything special with, only adding a few plants for decoration. Then, I simply add a perch using Chains, because they’re the only block aside from End Rods that can be placed horizontally.
Animal enclosures aren’t all there is to a zoo. Zoos are places you visit not just to look at animals, but to also have some fun and leisure time.
There are many additional facilities you can build in or around your zoo to make it a fun experience.
Every zoo would absolutely need a vet clinic enclosure and a storage facility where it can heal all its animals and also store the food for them all.
Beside every animal pen you can build an indoor version of the enclosure, where you can also go to in order to safely breed or feed your animals.
Finally there are the entertainment facilities for your guests. For this you can really build anything, but some things to consider are:
- A cafe or restaurant
- A playground
- A suveneir shop
- A museum