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This article is about the current version of DF.
Note that some content may still need to be updated.

A zoo is a meeting hall defined around a built cage or restraint that is not designated for "justice" (i.e. jail). Zoos can be assigned to specific dwarves, or left unassigned for communal enjoyment. An unassigned zoo seems to function like a regular meeting hall, where idle dwarves will congregate and throw parties. Dwarves may receive positive emotions from admiring a zoo's restraints, cages, and any preferred creatures and may consider them "tastefully arranged" (like furniture in sculpture gardens).

Caged grazing animals will eventually get hungry and die if not fed, making them impractical for use in a zoo. Hateable vermin can inspire negative thoughts in visiting dwarves, and should similarly be avoided. Although filling your zoo with your fortress's prisoners seems very dwarfy, a mix of regular animals is more likely to match your dwarves' preferences. A zoo can even function without animals, though the likelihood of positive emotions will be reduced.