The Berlin Zoological Garden - affectionately known as the Zoo - on the south west corner of the Tiergarten is a wonderfully kept urban Zoo with a huge playground, restaurants and coffee shops, providing a whole day's worth of family entertainment. A site Berliners are justly proud of, this large and very well-kept Zoo is home to more than 20,000 animals and over 1,500 species. The Berlin Zoo and its animals are part of local life and most Berliners will be aware of the news of a new arrival.
Zoo Berlin was opened in 1844
Rare among city zoos, the Zoo Berlin was founded in 1844 on the initiative of zoologists Alexander von Humboldt and Martin Lichtenstein and was the first Zoo to be built in Germany. Under Friedrich Wilhelm IV it became a joint project by Martin Lichtenstein and Peter Joseph Lenné who had redesigned the Tiergarten and allocated the southwestern tip of the Tiergarten as a zoological garden. Prior to this a pheasantry had served the royal kitchen from 1742. The royal family's private zoo had been on the Pfaueninsel (Pheasant Island) where pheasants can still be seen strutting around.
Numerous architects worked on the design of the urban habitats for the specific animal. The Antelope House dates back to 1872 and the Elephant House to 1873. The Hippopotamus House (1997) is an example of more modern concepts applied for the well-being of the animals. Under a 13,000 square feet glass solar panel roof the hippopotamuses can be viewed beneath the water and the animals are no longer simply on display.
Over three million visitors each year
There are two impressive main entrances – the Lion Gate on Hardenbergplatz, and the Elephant Gate next to the Aquarium on Olof Palme Platz. The Zoo is visited yearly by over three million animal enthusiasts. Feeding Times for many different animals can be checked prior to your visit on the Zoo's website.