From sleeping with polar bears, penguins and Siberian tigers to safari after rare species like the black rhino, Europe’s best zoos offer unexpected surprises and an array of fun and educational experiences for visitors of all ages.
Zoos have existed for thousands of years. Since 2500 B.C., according to National Geographic, wall carvings show expeditions to distant places to bring back exotic animals such as giraffes, elephants, bears, dolphins, and birds to rulers and aristocrats in Egypt and Mesopotamia.
Records document that “old zoo owners hired animal handlers to make sure their animals thrived and reproduced.”
Today’s best zoos feature vast expanses that are home to thousands of amazing animals from all over the world and save many species from extinction while breeding and transporting endangered animals, prolonging their lives and ensuring their well-being.
Breeding in captivity for endangered species makes zoos valuable places for their survival. Animals such as the black soft-shelled turtle, native to India and Bangladesh, are now extinct in the wild. But it lives in many zoos around the world.
Europe offers some of the most impressive zoos in the world and they are major tourist attractions. Here are eight of the best:
Schönbrunner Zoo, Vienna
Tiergarten Schönbrunn was chosen as the first zoo in Europe for the sixth time out of a total of 126 scientifically managed zoos in 29 European countries.
Zoos are evaluated for the biennial rankings of the best zoos in Europe by a zoo expert Anthony Sherida. Among the selection criteria are animal husbandry, species protection, animal stock, biodiversity, zoo education, research, visitor numbers, zookeepers, marketing, and gastronomy.
Also known as the Vienna Zoo, it is the oldest continuously operating zoo in the world since 1752. Throughout its long history, the zoo has become a world center for conservation and education.
Located in one of Vienna’s most famous attractions, Schonbrunn Palace, the zoo is not only considered one of the best in the world but also the first to sponsor the successful birth of an elephant in captivity and the first to give birth to a naturally inseminated panda in Europe.
Among the attractions are giant pandas, penguins, monkeys, elephants, oriental small-clawed otters, arctic wolves, and Siberian tigers. The zoo offers daily talks with the animals, feeding shows and nightly tours.
Berry Daisa Zoo, southern Belgium
Another award-winning zoo and botanical garden, Bari Daiza (Persian for heaven), has been voted the best zoo in Europe for the past three years by the Diamond Theme Park Awards, better known as the Oscars in the animal world.
Located in the heart of Cambron-Casteau Abbey in the municipality of Brugelette, an hour’s drive from Brussels, the Pairi Daiza Zoo, formerly known as Zoo Paradisio, houses more than 5,000 specimens spread over 160 acres and is home to 7,000 animals, and also boasts the largest Chinese gardens. And Indonesian in Europe in addition to the largest cage for birds.
Founded in 1993 as a bird sanctuary around the remains of a 12th-century Cistercian abbey, the zoo has also been voted the best zoo in Belgium and the Netherlands, home to the most beautiful animals of the Temple of Flowers, home to one of two families. For a Sumatran orangutan, the most beautiful amusement park in Belgium.
Given the size of the park and the number of animals to see, the zoo decided to create an immersive experience that offers dwellings with views of bears, wolves and deer as well as underwater rooms in the Land of the Cold-themed section, with glass walls to see penguins, walruses, polar bears and other living animals. In the water swim around.
Barry Daiza has many other features Thematic environments including tropical greenhouses, an educational farm for children, a 20-acre dedicated savannah fauna and a large aquarium.
Zoo officials say its purpose is to save species from extinction and introduce them into the wild if possible, while seeking to educate visitors about the animals’ origin and the need to protect them.
Zoo, Berlin, Germany
Zoologischer Garten of Berlin, or Berlin Zoo, is a historic site that opened in 1844, making it the oldest zoo in Germany.
With its remarkable war-torn history, it has one of the most comprehensive collections of species in the world – more than 1,500 species and 20,000 animals, living on its 86 acres.
Located in the Tiergarten in Berlin, in the city center, it is the most visited zoo in Europe and one of the most famous zoos around the world.
Monkeys and many other monkeys, big cats, lesser known species of deer, rare pigs, polar bears, house reptiles, aquariums, giant pandas, lemurs, and many African and Asian mammals are among its inhabitants.
The Berlin Zoo is known for pioneering successful breeding programs for endangered species and their reintroduction into the wild.
Berlin is also home to one of the largest zoos in Europe which have been dedicated to compliment the Berlin Zoo (see next entry).
Tierpark Berlin, Germany
Tierpark Berlin was founded in 1955 and is located on the former grounds of the historic Friedrichsfelde Palac in what was formerly East Berlin.
One of the largest zoos in Europe, it is located on 400 acres and houses 10,000 animals of more than 1,000 species from all over the world, including Germany’s only giant panda and many beautiful and exotic plants and 8,500 trees, many of which are protected.
It has a petting zoo and a free train to explore every section of the park.
“Visit the natives of long-tailed forest lemurs; embark on a species conservation adventure at Rainforest House; or take a quiet walk overlooking a herd of giraffes,” invites the zoo.
Tierpark participates in about 120 breeding programs, reintroduce species to areas where they have become endangered or extinct, and supports natural habitat protection projects.
Chester Zoo, England
Located in Upton Bay Chester, Cheshire, England, Chester Zoo is the sixth largest zoo in the world and is internationally known for its mission to protect the environment, Special events such as “Breakfast with the Big Five of the Savannah” – elephants, lions, leopards, buffaloes and rhinos – and its educational and training courses for children and adults.
The most famous wildlife attraction in Great Britain, it covers an area of 128 acres, making it one of the biggest attractions in the country. The zoo opened in 1931, and is operated by the not-for-profit North England Zoological Society.
Chester Zoo has about 20,000 animals hidden away in the English countryside, including exotic creatures like Komodo dragons, capybaras, babirus, and Andean bears.
The zoo specializes in endangered animals, particularly some of the world’s near-extinct black rhinoceros, and has played an important role in the resettlement of these species.
Another zoo in England appears among the largest and most beautiful in Europe (see next entry).
Port Lympne Wild Zoo, England
Port Lympne Wild Animal Park in the town of Hyte, Kent, England, is a wildlife sanctuary and hotel.
Over 600 acres constructed during World War I, including the historic Port Lympne mansion and landscaped gardens, the park houses a relatively small number of animals – 700 belonging to 90 species – because it offers the opportunity to go on safari following the organized routes to see the animals freely and in its environment.
Visitors transported in specially modified vehicles can see and photograph rhinos, giraffes, zebras, deer, wildebeest, and more.
Port Lympne houses a number of rare and endangered species such as the Siberian tiger and has the largest breeding herd of black rhino in Britain.
Other populations include tigers, lions, leopards, gorillas, bears, monkeys, Malay tapirs, and hunting dogs.
The zoo, which is also famous for its breeding programs of rare and endangered species, presents “Dinosaur Forest” – unfortunately, with realistic models rather than real ones.
Prague Zoo, Czech Republic
Impressive Prague Zoo (Prague Zoo) in the north of the capital of the Czech Republic not far from the Castle of Troy, opened in 1931. After that, it committed itself to the conservation of endangered species through zoology research, nature protection and public education.
Considered among the best zoos in the world, it occupies 140 acres and is home to more than 5,000 animals of 676 species, with about 500 of them listed as critically endangered, including Galápagos Tortoises, western lowland gorillas, and polar bears.
Other attractions include the Giant Salamander House, home to the huge Chinese giant salamander also known as the “freshwater panda”, the Indonesian jungle, one of the largest tropical forests in Europe, Monkey Island, Lemur Island, and a children’s petting zoo. .
Basel Zoo, Switzerland
Basel Zoo is the most visited attraction in the country, Forbes ranked it as one of the 15 best zoos in the world.
Zoologischer Garten Basel (Basel Zoological Garden), known locally as “Zolli,” places special emphasis on breeding endangered species such as okapi, leopards, pygmy hippopotamus, and Indian rhino, among others, which, along with flamingos and monkeys, are their most popular animals.
Founded in 1874, Basel Zoo is the oldest and largest in Switzerland, and houses 6,900 animals on 32 acres in the heart of the city.
Literally every Somali wild donkey – a type of donkey – in zoos around the world is linked to the population in Basel, where the animal breeding program for this species began.
In May, the zoo welcomed a newborn Indian rhinoceros and 54 baby storks.