The Berlin Zoo is the largest and most popular zoo in Europe. Although only 91 animals survived World War II, its successful captive breeding program and new acquisitions from around the planet have made the Berlin Zoo one of the most exciting of its kind. Located on the edge of the Tiergarten, the Berlin Zoo is a great way to spend an afternoon in Berlin, whatever the weather.
Colorful flamencos at the Berlin Zoo. Image DrGaz, via Flickr
The Berlin Zoologischer Garten (the full name of the zoo, and the name you’ll see on the nearby train station), was built in 1844 and quickly became a Berlin landmark. Different philosophies of handling animals are reflected in the sections of the zoo built over the last 170 years. The older sections, such as the elephant and antelope areas, were built with the idea that the animal is on show for the visitors’ entertainment. Newer sections, such as the hippo lake and the rare deer sanctuary, have the animals’ welfare in mind as well, and are designed to reflect their natural habitats. All in all, there are almost 1,500 different species of animals in the zoo, making it the largest zoo in the world.
The Berlin Zoo has had some famous ‘residents’ in the past years. A polar bear named Knut, born in captivity and raised by zookeepers, caught the attention of worldwide media and became something of a superstar in Berlin. Unfortunately, Knut died in 2011. Likewise, Bao Bao the giant panda was loved by visitors and locals. Today’s stars include Paula, the baby hippo, and two tiny owls from Brazil.
Llama in the snow at the Berlin Zoo. Image pauldc, via Flickr
Visiting Berlin Zoo
You should plan to spend at least half a day at the Berlin Zoo in order to take it all in.
Tickets cost 12 Euros for an adult, and discounts are available for children and students. There is an additional entrance fee to the aquarium – decide in advance whether you want to go there too.
Opening times to the zoo are seasonal, closing around 5pm in the winter and 7.30pm in the summer.