Zagreb ZOO

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The ZOO in Zagreb might not look spectacular to a world traveler who visited lot of other ZOOs around the world, but it is really worth visiting while staying with kids in Zagreb. It is not large like Toronto ZOO, or it doesn't have some rare animals, but it has charm of its own. First of all it is in the city, and easy reachable by tram from the main square (Ban Jelacic Square, tram no. 11 or 12, exit BUKOVAČKA ). For the Soccer fans, it is opposite the Maksimir stadium where Dinamo and Croatian selection usually play their games. It is also immersed in Maksimir park where you can spend some time walking around the park and the ZOO. All in all, if staying in Zagreb with kids - it is worth visiting this area.

First of all, the ZOO is open throughout the year from 9 AM, but the closing time depend on the part of the year. Take a look on this page to have up-to-date details.

If you arrive by tram from the center of town, you need to cross the street, and you will probably be surprised by the pedestrian crossing in a very unusual shape - a real zebra-like pattern. Very easy to spot for everyone. The writing is in Croatian, and translated in English it says "Just one step to the real Zebra". Kids loved it very much.

When you cross the street, you will enter the Maksimir Park, when you can enjoy walking around through wooden forest before entering the ZOO. If you arrive during the spring/summer time, there will be probably be several outside activities going on in the park, take some time to explore. We were there (this time) during the autumn time, and the weather was looking like raining, so we haven't spent much time walking around, but instead we went to the ZOO itself.

The tickets are really reasonably priced compared to other ZOOs around the Europe. Adults pay 30 Kn (around 4 EUR), kids 7-14 years pay 20 Kn (around 2.5 EUR), and smaller kids up to 7 years can enjoy free entrance. There are some discounts, currently for Monday visits (but not during the national holidays), and the only family ticket available is the yearly one, which really doesn't fit occasional visitors at all.

The other thing to take care of are the animal feeding times, since this might be the most attractive to the kids. Please take a look at this page to get up-to-date schedule. The Sea Lions and Seals feeding is very funny, and kinds do love this, so try to be there at the right time.

There are also regular talks given by the ZOO keepers, so again please check the schedule if you would like to attend. Unfortunately it might not be in English.

The ZOO is generally organized in outside areas, which can be split in several areas: open terrain for large animals (zebras, antelopes, wolfs, bears, etc.), cages where all the more dangerous animals reside (lions, leopards, monkeys, ...), and the pools where sea animals live (sea lions, seals, etc.). The other parts of the ZOO are in closed areas, where animals like spiders, birds, snakes and alligators live.

Unfortunately some of the largest animals don't leave here anymore. There are no elephants anymore, and it seems that there is no possibility to have them here in the future because of the space requirements (they would need at least half of the current ZOO space - and that's impossible with the ZOO that is in the city). There are also no giraffes, but here are some rumors that they could return after more than 50 years. And, there are also some rumors that penguins will return after more than 10 years of absence. 

The special part of the ZOO is a small enclosed area where kid can freely walk (and "torture" :) ) domestic animals like rabbits, goats and lambs. When you walk in with your kids, there are just two possibilities - they will love this, or they will be scared. Of my two smaller kids son went to the "I love this" team, and my youngest daughter was scared all the time, so I had to carry her around. But then, I am always surprised to see how other parents just let their kids wonder around the animals and annoy them all the time, sometimes in a way that the zoo keepers had to take kids and look for their parents. It is very shocking to me to see how some parents just don't take care of their kids.

One of the things our kids loved most is the open cage with the script "Homo Sapiens" where you can enter and sit on the chairs and in that way become one of the exhibits (animals?). I believe it's the place in the zoo form where everyone has pictures taken :) 

All-in-all this were beautifully spent hours in Zagreb, and kinds were very enthusiastic all the time. I would definitely recommend warmer weather during the beginning of autumn or late spring, where everything, including the surrounding woods would be greener and nicer.

Article Type: 
In-Person Impressions


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