The zoo is not exactly one of Vienna’s best-kept secrets, so you may find you have to wait in a long queue at the ticket office. Or you could just buy a ticket online right now and skip the line? Either way, the zoo makes for a fantastic day out – even if you don’t have kids with you. Schönbrunn was voted as Europe’s best zoo for the fifth time in 2018. And rightly so! Even though the zoo in Vienna has been open for almost 300 years, it can still compete with some of its more modern counterparts.
As it stands, more than 8000 animals representing over 700 different species call this 17-hectare site their home. Pandas, elephants, monkeys, zebras, giraffes, goats, rabbits and so on and so on. Even fish and jellyfish are in their element here with their very own spot at the aquarium, which is guarded by a cute little crocodile at the entrance. Well, it seems cute at least… Anyway, it’s good to know that there’s no need to panic if you can’t quite fit in a separate trip to the Haus des Meeres aquarium in Vienna.
At Schönbrunn Zoo, you can watch animal feeding times and/or shows every half an hour or so. The elephant enclosure is one place to head when the time comes, but none of the animals disappoint. No trip to the zoo would be complete without a demonstration or two. If the weather is playing ball, the seal feeding show is a real hit because the audience sometimes ends up getting sprayed by the excited animals as they show off what they can do.
The zoo owners and staff take their responsibilities very seriously and all the enclosures here are plenty big enough for the animals inside them. You may even find that you don’t get to see all the animals, as they are left to their own devices. Sometimes they parade proudly around their outdoor areas and sometimes they just want to stay snuggled up out of sight.
If you’ve got kids in tow, you’ll be pleased to hear that there are plenty of playgrounds for burning off excess energy and seats for resting tired legs. Not to mention all the opportunities for little ones to learn about the incredible animal kingdom.
Whilst you enjoy a fun family day out and soak up the baroque surroundings, you can rest assured that Schönbrunn Zoo is dedicated to lots of animal conservation projects.
The spot where the zoo now stands was used by Emperor Maximilian II as a hunting ground back in 1569, on the grounds of Schönbrunn Palace. He would never have imagined that his descendant Emperor Franz Stephan I would go on to open a menagerie right there with his wife Maria Theresia in 1752. Up to 1778, the grounds were only open to the imperial family. And then the doors were opened to the public on Sundays and tickets were free. But you’d only be let in if you were properly dressed!