Only a few minutes away from Vienna’s city center you can find a beautiful zoological garden in a lovely palace garden, Zoo Vienna, or as the Austrians say, the Tiergarten Schönbrunn. And if you now ask yourself if I am scared to get mixed up with one of the three pandas currently living there… I am. Every time I go there I am carefully looking out not the be caught and put into one of the beautiful compounds. But you know, they are so beautiful I would not mind to take a few vacation days with free food in one of them at all.
Want to know a few basic details about the zoo?
The zoo was founded in 1752 and is the oldest zoo in the world. Although it was founded over 265 years ago it was rebuild over the last decades to one of the most modern zoos as well with exemplary species-appropriate compounds.
Although they used modern functional designs for most of the new compounds, they still integrated the old ones here and there. So you will also see a piece of Vienna’s history.
What animals should you visit?
As a proud yearly ticket holder I visit the zoo at least five times a year. Therefore I know how difficult it is to see all animals in one visit as some of them are often asleep or are hiding somewhere. Only after a few visits I was able to spot all of them. Therefore I want to share you my favorite animals to visit.
But firstly, before you head to the zoo: do not forget to grab yourself a zoo map at the entrance. You will need it to be easily able to navigate yourself around the park. No need for any specialized biology skills as they use pictures of the animals on the map as well.
Random fact on the side: unfortunately the pandas rarely face the window because they are annoyed by camera flashs, which people for unknown reasons still use. I would be annoyed be contontrolled lighenings offside thunderstorms as well!
- Giant Pandas & Red Pandas: Of course my distant relatives are in the top position. When you enter the zoo you can find them right on the left side after the koalas. Sometimes you have to be super lucky to find them in their compound as they like to hide. You will most probably see them while feeding time, although they like to turn their backs to the visitors.
You can find the Red Pandas right behind the Giant Pandas. In summer they are a little difficult to find, but you will probably me lucky near the cooling waterfall made with a simple garden hose.
- Tigers & Leopards: At the moment we have two tiny little leopard babies at the zoo. They are so cute and fluffy. Next to their compounds they prepared a small but very interesting and informative exhibition about tigers and leopards and how to protect them.
- Capybara: You will be able to find them in the more remote areas of the zoo. If you happen to visit the zoo on a hot summer day, definitely go see them. They love to play and swim in their ourdoor pond and are super courious and frequently come check you out.
- Penguins: What more is there to say? They are cute and they are fun to watch. So definitely do not miss them.
- Polar bears: Their new compound is really beautiful, but unfortunately it makes them hard to see as well. They have their new secluded area now, which they make use of most of the time. They also do not stick to feeding times and you sometimes need to wait for an hour or so until they show up to grab their lunch. And they will be gone as soon as they showed up.
- Other animals things you definitely should not miss:
Giraffes, elephants, chickens at the mountain farm and the suricates.
And if you travel with children: there is a playground with a small children’s zoo as well.
Mister Wong’s special insider tips:
- Do not forget to plan the feeding times ahead so you can see the animals in action! My favourites are the Southern sea lions, koalas and polar bears.
- You can book different German speaking tours and there is even one at night were you can observe the night active animals through a night vision gear
- You can buy tickets online on the zoo’s website in advance so you do not have to wait in line to buy one.
- Be careful, some parts of the zoo, like the animal houses, close one hour or 30 minutes before closing time.
- If you visit in spring or early summer, there will most likely be lots of baby animals around.
- You can buy Austrian made ice cream in front of the main entrance and in the zoo from a manufacturer called Eisgreissler. My recommendation: pumpkin seed oil (Kürbiskernöl).
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