There’s nothing quite like a trip to the zoo. Germans know this especially well, as Germany has some of the best and largest zoos in all of Europe. These zoos offer a great day out for animal lovers and wonderful educational opportunities for children of all ages. They also contain species from all over the world and make important contributions to wildlife research and conservation. Many German zoos even host conservation programs and educational initiatives that aim to raise awareness about endangered species and improve our knowledge about their natural habitats.
Whether you’re a fan of lions, giraffes, zebras or elephants — or whether you just want to get the kids out of the house for the day — there are many great zoos to choose from in Germany. Here are the five we think are must-see destinations for visitors and locals alike.
- Tierpark Berlin
- Berlin Zoological Garden
- Tierpark Hellabrunn (Munich)
- Wilhelma Zoologisch-Botanischer Garten (Stuttgart)
- Leipzig Zoo
1. Tierpark Berlin
Tierpark Berlin is the larger of the two zoos in Berlin. In fact, at 160 hectares, it’s not only the largest zoo in Germany, but in all of Europe! Located in the eastern part of the city, Tierpark was opened by the GDR administration in 1955. The older Berlin Zoological Garden was in the British sector when Berlin was divided into four sectors by the victorious powers following World War II. The authorities in the GDR wanted an equally loved zoo for the people and did not want their section of Berlin to be in any way inferior to the western part.
With over 7,000 animals and over 800 species to see, you may have a hard time deciding which furry, feathered or hoofed resident to visit first. Venture through a variety of themed areas, including a rainforest house and monkey house. And don’t miss the herd of giraffes in the Savanna arena or the red pandas of the Himalayas. You will be filled with wonder at the beauty of these creatures. Make sure to stop by at the feeding times, which are listed online, to learn about their specific diets.
2. Berlin Zoological Garden
The Berlin Zoological Garden (Zoologischer Garten Berlin) is the oldest zoo in Germany and one of the most popular. Founded in 1844, the Zoological Garden covers 35 hectares of Berlin’s historic Tiergarten. It is widely renowned for its beautiful old-world architecture, open garden spaces and extensive collection of animals, with exhibits ranging from the African savannah to the tropical rainforest. The Zoological Garden complex also contains one of Germany’s best aquariums, renowned worldwide for its astonishing biodiversity.
3. Tierpark Hellabrunn (Munich)
For visitors to Munich, the Tierpark Hellabrunn is a must-see destination, with an extraordinary menagerie of nearly 20,000 animals from over 500 species. Hellabrunn is notable for its commitment to animal welfare and conservation. The zoo’s robust breeding programs, for example, aim to preserve endangered species.
The zoo offers a spacious and playfully decorated park where you can spend a delightful day with friends and family. Be sure to check out the animal feeding times in order to get a better look at your favorite residents.
4. Wilhelma Zoologisch-Botanischer Garten (Stuttgart)
A combined zoological and botanical garden in the northeastern part of Stuttgart, the Wilhelma is one of the most beloved and popular zoos in all of Germany. A palatial complex that was originally built in the 19th century as a bathhouse, residence and park, the Wilhelma now attracts over a million visitors each year, making it the second-most visited zoo in Germany.
In the stunning gardens, you can learn not only about the many curious and diverse animal species that call the zoo home, but also about efforts to maintain natural biodiversity and urban sustainability. The zoo features 63 different stations to visit, with over 11,000 inhabitants belonging to 1,200 species. Among the highlights are the large aquarium, terrarium for snakes and crocodile hall. With so much on offer, a visit to the Wilhelma Zoologisch-Botanischer Garten is undoubtedly a perfect day out for the whole family.
5. Leipzig Zoo
The Leipzig Zoo is one of the most modern in the world. It was founded in 1878 and has since expanded to a 27-hectare arena, including two hectares of water, in the Rosenthal area of the city. It is home to a wide variety of animals, birds and reptiles, some very unusual and rare. Visitors follow a nature trail through six themed worlds: Founder’s Garden, Gondwanaland, Asia, Pongoland, Africa and South America. These enclosures are spacious and well-maintained.
The concept behind Leipzig’s zoo is the combination of species-appropriate animal keeping with conservation, education and discovery tours. The goal is to be a “Zoo of the Future.” It offers a range of educational and interactive experiences for visitors, making it an ideal location for children to learn about the wondrous animal kingdom. Gondwanaland is a highlight of Leipzig Zoo, as it is the world’s largest indoor rainforest.
Let’s go to the zoo
These are just a few of the many wonderful zoos that Germany has to offer. Whether you’re bringing the family for a day out in Berlin’s Tierpark or going on a cute date at the Tierpark Hellabrunn, let your visit be an unforgettable experience. While you enjoy the antics of these beautiful, exotic creatures, open your heart and mind to the extensive conservation, research and educational endeavors that these German zoos are trailblazers in.