Desert House

The Desert House (Wüstenhaus) is not part of the main zoo – it is located opposite the Palm House, right next to the main Hietzing entrance. It has its own opening times and admission prices. A desert experience trail leads through authentic desert landscapes of the sort found in Central America to Madagascar, showing the flora and fauna that call these unique habitats home and revealing how they survive and adapt to their surroundings.

Fish that nibble, snakes that rattle and a maze of glass tubes

Right next to the main entrance, visitors can dip their fingers into a special aquarium where they will be gently gnawed on by Garra rufa fish, also known as ‘nibble fish’. The trail leads on to the Kaiser's spotted newts, (widely held to be the world’s most attractive), and the black-tailed rattle snakes. Measuring up to 1.3m in length, they are indigenous to Texas and other parts of the USA. Another highlight is the 70m-long maze of glass tubes occupied by a colony of naked mole rats.

Lined by cacti and other succulents, the route continues below chirping red fodies, passing other desert dwellers such as rare radiated tortoises and highly venomous Gila monsters. For more than 100 years, the Desert House has been home to numerous unusual examples of plant life: Emperor Franz Joseph I ordered the building’s construction in 1904, as a place to keep his valuable collection of Australian and South African plants. In 2000 it was redesigned to create the Desert House.

Desert House Opening Hours

January–April9 a.m.–5 p.m.
May-September9 a.m.–6 p.m.
October–December9 a.m.–5 p.m.

Ticket office closing time and last admission is 30 minutes before the Desert House closes.
Children aged under 14 must be accompanied by an adult.


 Per personGroups of 10 or more
Adults8 €7 €
Children and youth*6 €5 €
Disabled persons (50%+)6 €5 €
Children under 6 yearsfreefree

Combination pass: Schönbrunn Zoo, Palm House and Desert House

Good for one year for a one-time admission to each attraction.

 Per personGroups of 10 or more
Adults32 €29 €
Children and youth*20 €17 €
Disabled persons (50%+)20 €17 €
Children under 6 yearsfreefree

*) from 6 to 19 years old

Special guided tour: The Living Desert

This special guided tour of the Desert House gives a fascinating insight into the bizarre plants and animals found in the world’s deserts. It takes in authentic desert landscapes from America to Madagascar – passing cacti and succulents as it explores the natural habitat of lizards, tortoises, small mammals, birds and fish.
Duration: 1.5 hrs, daily.
Start: by arrangement
Price: € 105 per tour, plus admission to Desert House
Participants: max. 20