Should one say the Berachah of משנה הבריות when one goes to the zoo* and sees many animals one would never see outside the zoo? What if one actually sees animals that he has never seen before? Should he make multiple Berachoth?

*Substitute, as needed, "aquarium", "nature preserve", or any other institution that exists, at least in part, to allow visitors to see exotic animals they can't see elsewhere.


1 Answer 1


Indeed one says the bracha

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה' אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם מְשַׁנֵּה הַבְּרִיּוֹת

at the zoo.

Says Revach

The Shulchan Aruch (OC 225:8) says that one make the bracha if you see an elephant or monkey. Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach says that you make this bracha not only on these two animals but any animals that people see and are intrigued and amazed. When visiting the zoo says Rav Shlomo Zalman, you make the bracha once and have in mind for all the animals. However when going to an aquarium you do not need to make the bracha since all the examples given by the gemara are for land animals and not creatures of the sea. (Aleihu Lo Yibol OC 168)

See also Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 60:13-14

Halachipedia adds

For seeing a monkey or elephant for the first time one should make the Bracha of Meshaneh HaBriyot. However, if one sees another monkey or elephant, one can not make the Bracha again with Shem UMalchut, however, if it has been 30 days one can make the Bracha without Shem UMalchut.

It’s permissible to go to the zoo to see an elephant and monkey in order to make this Bracha.

see there for sources

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