Spread across 4.45 square kilometers, Van Vihar National park is located at the heart of Bhopal City. It was declared as a National Park in 1983 and is developed and managed as a modern Zoological Park, as per the guidelines of the Central Zoo Authority these animals are kept in their near natural habitat.
Situated on the fringe of the Upper Lake which adds immense beauty to the landscape of Van Vihar National Park it sprawls across the foot of the Shymala Hill on the northeastern border. The animals within the park are categorized as captives and herbivores. Carnivorous animals are kept in enclosed areas in line with the modern concepts of zoo management. The herbivores are however allowed to roam freely across wooded areas.
The flora within the Van Vihar National park includes trees, creepers and grasslands. Major trees include Teak, Kardhai, Salai, Palas, Tendu and Gurajan. The specially protected wildlife of the Park includes Tigers, White Tigers, Leopards, White Bear, Sloth Bear, Hyena, Chital, Sambar, Nilgais, Panthers, Jackals, Jungle Cats and Black Bucks. The reptiles include a large number of Crocodiles, Alligators, Pythons, Cobras, Monitor Lizards, Tortoise and Turtles.
Over 200 species of avifauna has been recorded in the Park which include Peacocks, Barbets, Bulbuls, Minivets, different varieties of Orioles, Wagtails, Manias, Blue Kingfisher, Jangle Margi, Phakta, Bhura Teeter, Kala Teeter, Tree Pie, Drongo, Shaker, Gilda, Bagel and Dabchick which are also found during the winters. Although the Park is open throughout the year, July to September is the best time to be here.