Its origin dates back to 1774, when Charles III ordered the construction of an animal park in the current Cuesta de Moyano.
In the late eighteenth century facilities moved to the corner of Parque del Buen Retiro, near the Puerta de Alcalá current. The cages, known as La Leonera contained the most dangerous animals.
Wildlife greatly increased year after year. Both kings Ferdinand and Isabel II improved facilities.