The province, also known as Paknam, is located at the mouth of the Chao Phraya River. It was created during the Ayutthaya period, with its center originally located at Prapadaeng. It was the sea port of Siam, and was secured with forts, town moats and walls around the town. King Rama II started the building of the new center at Samut Prakan in 1819, after his predecessor King Taksin had disbanded the town fortification. Altogether six forts were built on both sides of the Chao Phraya River, and on an island in the river the pagoda Phra Samut Chedi was erected. These were involved in the Paknam incident of July 13, 1893, which ended the Franco-Siamese War with a French naval blockade of Bangkok. Of the original six forts only two still exist today, Phi Sua Samut and Phra Chulachomklao.
Samut Prakan is home to the Crocodile Farm & Zoo, the largest crocodile farm in the world. It was built in 1950 and is situated at Tambon Tai Ban. The farm has over 60,000 crocodiles of different kinds in various pits. Daily shows feature crocodiles being caught bare-handed. Another star attraction for visitors is the elephant show. You can also see tigers, chimpanzees, and other animals such as gibbons, turtles, boa constrictors, pythons, birds, camels, hippopotami, and various species of fish. There is an education and research center for the preservation of wildlife and also a dinosaur museum. A fun day out for the whole family!