Zoo Wroclaw

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Wroclaw, Poland

Zoo Wroclaw Reviews

Kathrin_E Kathrin_E
371 reviews
Zoo Wroclaw Aug 02, 2014
Wrocław Zoo is located in the eastern part of the city, close to Hala Stulecia. The entrance gate is a relic of the 1913 century exhibition, it used to be the main entrance to the exhibition grounds and was later adapted. In fact the zoo occupies a part of the former exhibition grounds. Its origins are older, though - it was founded already in 1864, opened one year later, and is classified as one of the oldest zoos in Europe. As a scientific zoo that is involved in international breeding and conservation programmes and works up to modern standards, it is home to animals from all over the world.

Apart from seeing the animals, to architecture enthusiasts the buildings are also of interest. The oldest part on the western side of the grounds has a number of historical animal houses which are still in use, though modernized inside and/or their purposes were changed if they did not seem suitable any more. These buildings were designed in the era of historism, the styles were adapted to the inhabitants. While the bears lived in a medieval castle, for the elephants and monkeys 'oriental' styles were chosen. The elephant house was supposed to look like an Indian palace, probably. The „castle“ by the riverside hosts the owls nowadays. Originally it was built for the bears. It is hard to imagine that they kept grown bears in these narrow compartments. Poor beasts. We can be glad that times have changed.

The old buildings cause some problems because they are not up to modern standards and not adequate for the animals' needs. The zoo is undertaking many efforts to create new, larger and better homes for the animals. In 2014 there was a huge construction site in the middle of the zoo grounds that was going to be the new Afrykarium, which will show mostly water-dwelling animals from Africa. Another project is the Odrarium, where visitors will see and learn about life in Wrocław's river. Already completed, for example, are the new vast enclosures for lynx and wildcats, the rhinoceros house, the Madagascar pavillon.

My enthusiasm comes with a few grains of salt, though. At many enclosures the visitors are rather far away from the animals - which is good for the animals because they have their peace and quiet, but not so good for the visitors as it is often hard to spot the animals in the distance. Also, other zoos are better at hiding the electric fences and other security measures. Here, some enclosures have a distinct prison flair, for example the one for the brown bears which is actually a wide stretch of forest and rocky land and a perfectly fine home for the bears, but as a visitor the first thing you notice are the fences. Some older enclosures urgently need renovation and modernizing - but of course they cannot do everything at once.

I visited the zoo a few months before the opening of the new Afrykarium. The Afrykarium hosts various animals from Africa in modern surroundings and, according to more recent reports, has in the meantime become the zoo's greatest attraction.

Practical hints:

For up to date information on entrance fees and opening hours, please check the website: http://www.zoo.Wrocław.pl/index.php - in 2014 the entrance fee was 30 PLN for adults.

Since the grounds are large, paths are winding and navigation is difficult despite signposts and info boards, it is wise to invest 3 PLN more and buy a zoo map.
The 1913 entrance gate
Big crowds around the gibbo tree -…
Gibbon mum and baby enjoy their af…
The brown bears' home has a distin…
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