Schönbrunn Zoo is the oldest zoo in the world, and has now been named Europe’s best zoo five times in a row. Part of a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site with the imperial summer residence of Schönbrunn Palace at its centre, it provides a unique blend of culture and nature, while promoting conservation and biodiversity. The zoo’s special appeal comes from its imperial charm.
700 species – from anteaters to zebras
Spread across a 17 hectare site, visitors can see 700 different species, some of which are critically endangered, from all over the world: including giraffes eye-to-eye from a purpose-built gallery, orangutans swinging from rope to rope, Siberian tigers dozing on their platforms, koalas munching their way through piles of eucalyptus leaves, and African elephants wallowing in their mud baths. Rolling around and digging in the sand, the playful meerkats are a firm visitor favourite.
Star attraction – giant pandas
The zoo’s most popular residents are the giant pandas. Schönbrunn is one of a handful of zoos worldwide lucky enough to be entrusted with a pair of pandas by the People’s Republic of China. And it is the only zoo in Europe with a proven track record of successfully helping this endangered species to breed naturally. After the birth of Fu Long (2007), Fu Hu (2010) and Fu Bao (2013), in 2016 Yang became the first panda in captivity to raise twin cubs without human intervention, causing a global sensation in the process.
World tour of the animal houses
If the weather makes taking a stroll between the outdoor sections of the park slightly less appealing, then the numerous animal houses will provide a great place to shelter from the elements: the multi-storey rainforest house,which is home to a rich variety of tropical flora and fauna; the aquarium terrarium, with shimmering fish and fascinating reptiles; the historic monkey house,where death’s head monkeys and red ruffed lemurs roam free; the Polarium, with views of the seals and penguins underwater; the neighbouring Polardom, where visitors can watch polar bears diving below the water’s surface; and the Tirolerhof,where visitors can find out everything they need to know about rare breeds of farm animals.
Visitors have the chance to observe many of the animals at feeding time, finding out fascinating facts in the process. Feeding time at the sea lion enclosure is always popular. The numerous restaurants and kiosks at the zoo offer a wide range of meals and snacks, including Austrian specialities. For an extra-special day out, take one of the fascinating tours or a ride on the Schönbrunn Panorama Train.