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A zoo is a room 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 meeting hall, where idle dwarves will congregate and throw parties. While dwarves may receive positive emotions from admiring a zoo's restraints, cages, and any preferred creatures, they do not appear to consider them "tastefully arranged" (unlike furniture in sculpture gardens); it is unknown if this has any effect on the stress of the dwarves.
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.
Note that the game neither uses the term zoo nor calls a room created from a cage a meeting hall.
| Barracks • Bedroom • Dining room • Dormitory|
Jail • Meeting hall • Museum • Office
Sculpture garden • Tomb • Zoo