The Best Zoos in Germany for a Fun Family Outing

Monkey family in ZOOM Erlebniswelt Gelsenkirchen
Monkey family in ZOOM Erlebniswelt Gelsenkirchen | © Ceving / Wikimedia Commons
Anwesha Ray

Zoos have been among the most popular family destinations for centuries. They give both adults and children the chance to bond with nature and observe a vast diversity of animals up close. While most cities in Germany have a zoo, some stand out due to their unique offers. Let’s take a look.

1. Berlin Zoological Garden


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Berlin Zoological Garden opened its gates in 1844, which makes it the oldest zoo in Germany. Over the centuries, the zoo has been continually improved, and today it is almost unanimously agreed to be the best and most popular zoo in the country. This zoo is home to over 20,000 animals, reptiles and birds across 360 species, and records an annual footfall of several million. Visitors consistently rave about the feedings and shows hosted here. Also, it happens to be the only zoo in Germany where you can meet everyone’s favorite: cuddly pandas!

2. Duisburg Zoo


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Almost 300 species of creatures call Duisburg Zoo their home, which can be observed in an environment as close to their natural habitat as possible. However, Duisburg Zoo’s biggest selling point is the fact that it houses the largest dolphinarium in Germany. Four times every day, hundreds of spectators gather in a tiered stadium to witness bottle-nosed dolphins pull off amazing tricks with ease. Also, the zoo breeds fossas, a rare and exotic animal from Madagascar. Additionally, it is one of the very few zoos in Germany where you get to see koala bears.

3. Hellabrunn Zoo, Munich


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Hellabrunn Zoo, Munich, is the very first geo-zoo in the world, which means that it houses animals as per their geographic distribution, in complex communities that are designed to closely resemble their natural habitats. In fact, the zoo is more of a natural reserve than a traditional zoo. So, a walk through Hellabrunn Zoo is like a journey through forests in different parts of the world. En route, you get to see animals up close, without the interruption of any readily visible enclosures, which gives you the thrill and feel of a safari.

4. Zoologscher Garten, Leipzig


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Though Leipzig Zoo was inaugurated way back in 1878, it has been dubbed as the Zoo of the Future, because of its ultra-modern infrastructure and unique layout. The zoo has been consistently applauded for its ambitious projects, including the massive Pongoland (housing gorillas, chimpanzees, orangutans etc.) and Gondwanaland (the second-largest indoor rainforest in the world that is amazingly life-like). Other than the usual creatures, here you can also say hello to rare Siberian tigers and Eastern quolls. This is also the only zoo in Europe where you can see Chinese pangolins.

5. Wilhelma Zoologisch-Botanischer Garten, Stuttgart


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The uniqueness of Wilhelma Zoologisch-Botanischer Garten in Stuttgart lies in the fact that it is the only combined zoo and botanical garden in Europe, and houses animals, birds and reptiles across approximately 1000 species—among the highest number in the world. On the other hand, the beautiful Wilhelma Botanical Garden invites you to feast your eyes on around 7000 species of plants and the biggest magnolia grove in the continent.

6. Tierpark Hagenbeck, Hamburg


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Hamburg Zoo is not only Germany’s first private zoo, but also the first ‘modern zoo’ in the world, housing animals in open enclosures without cages, separating them from visitors with ditches and natural barriers. Today, hundreds of thousands of zoos all over the world replicate this layout. Hamburg Zoo houses 1850 creatures (including one of the biggest elephant herds in the world) from five continents in an environment that closely resembles their wild habitats. In addition, the zoo offers pony rides, a mini train that chugs through the park, a playground, a petting zoo and a fascinating diversity of plants. Visitors are also welcome to try their hand at feeding some of the animals.

7. Allwetterzoo Münster


© Dietmar Rabich/Wikimedia Commons
Allwetterzoo Münster makes sure that family fun continues uninterrupted even in unfavorable weather. Many parts of the zoo have shaded walkways, while certain sections are indoors, protecting visitors as they walk through the park admiring more than 3000 animals from up close. Feedings and the sea lion show never fail to delight visitors. The zoo is also involved in conservation work.

8. ZOOM Erlebniswelt Gelsenkirchen


© Ceving / Wikimedia Commons

ZOOM Erlebniswelt Gelsenkirchen is among the most modern zoos in Europe. The entrance is modeled after a Westphalian farm, and has a petting zoo, a playground and a shop. It operates three safari areas: Alaska, Afrika and Asien. Each section has been carefully designed to resemble its respective geographic region and houses rare and exotic creatures from various continents.

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