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A Visit to the Zoo in Zurich

Zurich is Switzerland's biggest city. Yet, compared to New York or London, Zurich seems small with it's half a million inhabitants. Nevertheless, it features a great number of interesting places and fun activities for people of all ages. One of the more interesting places of Switzerland is located in Zurich: the Zurich Zoo.

Although I'm personally a bit ambivalent towards the existence of zoos and the keeping of animals in compounds, a zoo can truly be a great place to visit. As a child, I was a frequent visitor to the Zurich Zoo and I remember loving the elephants and the peacocks. The polar bears were another favorite and the monkeys always good for a prank. Plus, there used to be a real long slide for kids which I totally loved.

Ape - Dieter /
Founded in 1929, the Zurich Zoo is located on one of the hills around Zurich. According to its website, the zoo has been constantly enlarged and modernized over the last years and, today, is the home for hundreds of animals from various species.

Thus, when I decided to visit the Zurich Zoo again after several years of absence, I was curious to see what had changed, which animals had left the zoo and which compounds had been closed or remodeled. I had also heard that the new Masoala compound was impressive.

At first, I did not perceive any significant changes. The entrance seemed a bit more modern but the overall layout of the zoo had not changed much. The house of reptiles and fishes was still as humid as I remembered and the monkeys played in the same small cages as before. Although, I know it's better that they're gone, I still I missed the polar bears. Plus, the long slide from my childhood was missing also.

Also the elephants were still in the same compound I remembered from childhood but I was happy to learn that they will receive a much larger compound in a few years. Update: They really did! In 2014 the new Kaeng Krachan Elephant Park was opened.

Tiger - Alexander Medefind /
On a more positive note, I saw that many compounds had indeed been enlarged. The tigers, for example, lived in a larger outdoor compound and not in cages anymore. Also the bears enjoy a quite large compound now. What I also liked a lot, were the places with information about the animals. In addition to the plates with information there were volunteers and zoo staff explaining about their animals. The snake keepers even had two snakes with them that people could touch. My personal favorite was the guy next to the lamas and alpacas. We were discussing the different kinds of wools they have for half an hour. Very interesting!

Overall, the visit to the Zurich Zoo was quite interesting. However, one thing I was definitely disappointed with: the Masoala hall. Supposedly, there are several species of animals living in that giant tropical glass house. Yet, we did not see any of them except one puny chameleon. After all the talk about this place, it did not hold up to my expectations.

For more Information about the Zurich Zoo you can check the official Zoo Zürich website. The zoo can be reached conveniently from Zurich main station by tram and is worth a visit in any season and weather. If you get cold, you can always buy a hot cup of coffee in one of the restaurants!



  1. Love your comparison about the Zurich Zoo between today and yesterdays. I feel with you. Last time I had visitee the Zoo was over 20 years go. Going back with my kids last year was a trip down memory lane. Guess what? My favourite were the free-walking peacock, the elefants and the polar bears! ;)
    Thanks for sahring! Regards, Ingrid


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