Whether you’re an expat, tourist or local, there are plenty of sights and attractions to visit and enjoy in Germany, with its myriad of landmarks and amusement parks all over the country. In fact, there’s so much to do that you probably won’t have a hard time coming up with an idea for your next outing!
Well, if you’ve visited too many German castles this year and don’t fancy a day at the spa or a trip to one of Germany’s vast national parks, why not considering a trip to the zoo? Germany has a large number of zoos and animal parks, each with its own unique atmosphere and attractions. From butterfly houses to open game drives and spectacular water exhibits, German zoos offer a fun, immersive and educational day out for the whole family – whatever the weather!
Five zoos to visit in Germany
Zoos and animal parks in Germany don’t just let you see some of the world’s most exotic animals in elaborate, purpose-built enclosures, they’re centers of education and often at the forefront of conservation efforts. global. The following five zoos are among the best in Germany, home to an eclectic mix of animals and specialist attractions that allow you to experience the world’s most intriguing creatures in depth and up close.
Berlin Zoological Garden
Beginning with the oldest and perhaps most famous zoo in Germany, the Berlin Zoological Garden is one of the most popular zoos in the world. It was founded almost 200 years ago in 1844 and today attracts around 4 million visitors a year. The zoo has around 1,200 species of animals, from elephants and meerkats to lizards and the zoo’s oldest inhabitant; a 74-year-old flamingo named Ingo. It is also the only place in Germany where you can spot the rare giant panda!
The Berlin Zoological Garden is Germany’s number one stop for animal lovers. With giant, immersive enclosures and a huge variety of animals, it’s the closest thing to seeing your favorite animals in their natural habitat. On the grounds of the zoo, you’ll find an aquarium that’s home to all your scary critters, reptiles and, of course, your favorite fish. You can also find the “World of Birds” at the zoo, where you can marvel and marvel at some of the most exotic, even fantastical, winged creatures. The zoo has become a fan favorite for its public meals and animal shows.
The zoo is also at the forefront of global conservation and breeding projects, working with a number of universities, zoos and research institutes around the world. She is also involved in European breeding programs, helping to protect endangered species and reintroduce them into the wild.
Leipzig Zoological Garden
Another of Germany’s most popular zoos is the Leipzig Zoological Garden in Saxony. Ernst Pinkert opened the zoo in 1878, converting it from the restaurant he owned. Since then, the zoo has grown to house more than 850 species of animals. The zoo is unique for its special “theme worlds”, such as tropical Gondwanaland and primate-themed Pongoland, which are part of its “Zoo of the Future” plan. The plan will see the zoo transform into six special enclosures, designed to faithfully replicate the animals’ natural habitats. It has already been ranked as the best zoo in Germany and the second best in Europe.
Leipzig Zoo contributes to conservation efforts around the world, working closely with animal sanctuaries in Asia and Africa. The zoo also participates in specialized global breeding programs and has helped reintroduce animals that had previously disappeared in the wild, such as the Mongolian wild horse and the scimitar oryx, back into the wild.
The zoo is also perfect for a day out with the kids, as it offers plenty of opportunities to interact with the animals through attractions such as the Jungle River Boat Tour and the Children’s Village.
Wilhelma Zoologisch-Botanischer Garten
The Wilhelma Zoologisch-Botanischer Garten in Stuttgart is one of the most unique animal parks in Germany and one of the largest in Baden-Württemberg. Originally designed as a public bath for Duke William I of Württemberg in 1837, it is the only combined zoological and botanical garden in Europe. It was reopened as a botanical garden in 1919, following the abdication of the last king of Württemberg in 1918. At that time, the garden was famous for its collection of orchids.
It was reopened in 1949 with an adjoining aquarium after being devastated in World War II and has since hosted a number of exhibits, such as the “German Fairy Tale Animals” and the “Indian Jungle Exhibition in the 1950s, which boosted his popularity. Since 1950, the garden has acquired a number of new buildings and exhibits, including an aquarium, an aviary, elephant and rhinoceros houses and an outdoor terrarium, where butterflies glide around you.
The park’s rich history has contributed to its truly unique and beautiful face. The garden looks more like a sprawling country field than a zoo, with beautifully designed buildings and enclosures, as well as intricate gardens and spectacular flower beds. The Wilhelma Zoologisch-Botanischer Garten is a place where you can enjoy nature in all its glory.
Founded in 1911, Hellabrunn Zoo in Munich, Bavaria is actually the world’s first geo-zoo. a zoo in which the animals are housed according to their geographical location. The enclosures are designed to faithfully replicate the animals’ natural habitats, allowing them to form close and complex communities, much like they would in the wild. The park is specially designed to look more like a nature reserve than a zoo and offers visitors the opportunity to see animals as one would on a safari.
The park puts on a number of animal shows throughout the day, including the hugely popular Sea Lion Training Show and the Birds of Prey Training Show. Visitors also have the chance to watch feeding sessions, which gives zookeepers the opportunity to educate visitors with fun facts and intriguing information about some of the most reclusive and secretive animals. of the world.
The zoo also plays an active role in education and conservation. In 2018, the village of Mühlendorf opened its doors to the public. The Bavarian-style village is part of the European section of the zoo, focusing on regional biodiversity and educating visitors about local wildlife. In July 2019, the zoo school opened in the village of Mühlendorf. The school teaches children more about biodiversity through interactive lessons and even follows a special education program with topics such as “Fascinating Facts About Wild and Honey Bees”.
Duisburg Zoo completes our selection of the best zoos and animal gardens in Germany. Located in Duisburg, North Rhine-Westphalia, the zoo is renowned for its dolphinarium, one of the largest in Germany, and for its interest in Australian animals. The zoo is home to the largest number of kangaroo species in all of Germany and is home to wallabies, wombats, Tasmanian devils and emus. However, the zoo is best known for its koalas, having raised 30 babies over the past 25 years.
As already mentioned, one of the best-known exhibits of the zoo is the dolphinarium. The dolphinarium is home to eight bottlenose dolphins who dazzle onlookers in public training sessions that help educate the public about the dangers their species faces in the wild. Despite the zookeepers’ mission to educate the public about these beautiful creatures and the challenges they face in the wild, especially from humans, the dolphinarium has attracted some controversy from human rights activists. animals.
The zoo also includes a number of other areas designed to mimic the animals’ natural habitats, such as the tropical Rio Negro, an Amazonian-style enclosure that is home to abundant wildlife. The zoo frequently uses underwater viewing platforms, which allow you to see aquatic wildlife up close in the Rio Negro exhibit, as well as the adjoining dolphinarium and aquarium.
It’s time to enjoy the sun!
So the next time you’re at a loss for what to do on a sunny day, why not take the family and your family to one of Germany’s wonderful animal parks? Whether you prefer beautiful sprawling gardens, a jungle safari or an adventure on the high seas, there really is something for everyone.
You can also learn about each zoo’s conservation efforts and their direct impact on animal populations in the wild and, in some cases, the reintroduction of previously extinct animals into the wild. On top of that, most animal parks have a plethora of learning facilities for children and adults, making going to the zoo a fun and educational day out – perfect for school holidays!