The 10-hectare (25-acre) park was open to the public in 1880 after an unpopular zoo was removed. During the following years, a campus for the famous Solvay School of Commerce was established in the park but construction of additional buildings was soon curtailed for fear of encroachment on the park and its fragile wildlife. The buildings have remained to this day but only one still belongs to Solvay (and houses the Solvay Conference). The building of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences is also located in the park.
The park's outstanding feature is its pond, fed by the Maalbeek stream. Many rare trees (remnants of a botanic garden) and animals such as mallards, moorhens, coots, and even Egyptian geese and rose-ringed parakeets thrive in this urban environment.