Schönbrunn Palace is one of the finest palaces we’ve seen. Its countless rooms are nicely furnished and one can easily get lost in its wonderful garden for a whole day. This garden is quite significant anyway: Csaba proposed me there a couple of years ago. (Wow, actually, 6 years already!) But here’s another thing that makes it significant and that might even interest you: it’s home to the oldest zoo in the world.
Because in addition to several large fountains, formal gardens and a forest Schönbrunn Zoo (Tiergarten Schönbrunn) is also located in the huge garden of Schönbrunn Palace. The Baroque Menagerie was founded in 1752 and today it’s a modern zoological garden home to more than 700 animal species. Together with Schönbrunn Palace and its gardens it belongs to the UNESCO World Heritage Site Schönbrunn.
Our stars: pandas and koalas
But neither of these facts made us so excited as the one that there are Giant pandas among the residents of Schönbrunn Zoo. We’ve never ever seen Giant pandas until then! I mean in real. Did you know that they spend about 12 hours a day eating? No wonder they are so exciting creatures. 😛 Okay, but seriously, they do it so cute that we couldn’t get bored with even just watching them eating.
Our day was not all about pandas though. Schönbrunn Zoo hosts other animals that we became huge fans of. Like koalas. They are even more exciting than pandas: they usually sleep for up to 18-20 hours per day. Okay, okay, I’m done with trying to be funny here… But this fact actually leads to an important consideration: it’s worth checking the schedule for koala feeding. Because they wake up to eat and we could also watch the zoo staff doing some quick health checks on them.
Not far from pandas and koalas we found red pandas. Oh, another great sleeper! But we just can’t help loving them… I mean look at him:
Though I’ve already ranted a lot about Schönbrunn Zoo still I’ve barely mentioned a small portion of what it offers. So what else? We liked the rainforest house very much. It’s actually a simulation of the Amazon rainforest so we could explore it level by level. Then the elephants attracted our attention as they were playing and sprinkling water to each other. There are also penguins and seals in the zoo who are usually also very good in attracting attention – they didn’t disappoint either.
Then there are those animals we’ve seen for the first time in our lives: Giant anteater, Cheetah – have we mentioned Koala and Giant panda? – and some that we’ve rarely seen in zoos: King Penguin, Siberian tiger, Arctic wolf or Reindeer.
There are a lot of regular animal talks and feedings led by the zoo staff during the day. We tried to catch as many as we can because they are not just exciting talks but the animals also get excited when they get food (who can blame them?).
The most special zoo we’ve been to
All in all, Schönbrunn Zoo is the most special zoo we’ve visited so far. I mean being founded in a wonderful castle garden is a good start anyway. But it also offers a huge variety of animal species including quite some that can rarely be seen in zoos. Then there are the exciting talks and feedings and a lot of creative design – like you can crawl right into the middle of the territory of the suricates (of course, you are separated by a glass wall). Or walk through the territory of the lions in a tunnel partly made of glass. Not to mention a huge playground for kids. And the Giant pandas…
Do you have a favorite zoo?