It was in 1714 in St. Petersburg that Emperor Peter the Great founded Kunstkamera - the “cabinet of curiosities.” In 1831 it was decided to divide up this strange collection among seven separate museums as Kunstkamera could no longer accommodate all of the many artifacts it had acquired over the years. A year later in 1832, in the very centre of St. Petersburg on the Spit of Vasilyevsky Island, The Zoological Museum of the Zoological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences opened its doors to visitors. Its impressive collection includes amazing animals that have been collected from almost all of the Earth’s continents and also includes traces of extinct, prehistoric fauna and animals shrouded in tales and legends. The museum’s collection serves as a record of what man knows about the environment. Here each artifact carries with it millions of years of evolution and the hard work of scientists as they have worked to discover our planet’s biggest secret – the variety of life.