The zoo (Tiergarten Schönbrunn) was constructed in 1752 next to Schloss Schönbrunn by Adrian van Stekhoven at the order of the Holy Roman-German Emperor Francis I, husband of Maria Theresia, to serve as an imperial menagerie. It was centered around a pavilion meant for imperial breakfasts. Therefore, thirteen animal enclosures in the form of cut cake pieces were established around this central pavilion.
The central pavilions and the menagerie building were built by Jean Nicolas Jadot de Ville-Issey. A small zoo had already existed on the premises since 1540, but the complex was only opened to the public in 1779. Initially, there were no entrance fees.
Nowadays it is a cafe and restaurant.