“ Salzburg Center for the Preservation of Nature and Species / Salzburg Zoo / A-5081 Anif / Tel: +43/(0)662/820176-0. „
Anifer Landesstrasse 1,
Although called Salzburg Zoo, the zoo is actually situated just outside Salzburg in a place called Hellbrunn
The zoo is open daily from 8.30am and is either open until 16.30 or 17.30 depending on the time of year you visit - more details can be found on their website www.salzburg-zoo.at. Additionally, in August on Friday and Saturday nights, the zoo is open until 11pm (last admission at 9.30pm)
Entrance to the Zoo will cost adult 8 euros and children (4-16 years) 3.50 euros so I thought the price was fairly reasonable as the zoo is large and will take you a good few hours to walk around, for a family with children, you could make a whole day of it. If you have a Salzburg Card (available everywhere in Salzburg) then entry is free.
You can catch a local tram to the Zoo but make sure you ask the driver to give you a nudge where you are meant to get off, the zoo is very large but you can easily drive past it without realising its there as it fits into the natural surroundings so well. The tram journey from the middle of Salzburg town takes around 20minutes.
About Salzburg Zoo
At Salzburg Zoo they keep animals, both native and exotic, in an environment similar their natural surroundings. One of the zoo's main goals is to ensure a harmonious balance between the beauty of the local landscape and a natural environment for the animals. The habitats for the animals have been created using natural materials so the animals really do feel as much at home as they can do. I am undecided with Zoo's - I always think it is better to see animals in their natural environments but this zoo really did offer lovely habitats for the animals and spacious enclosures. Each enclosure backed onto a huge mountain which was great for certain animals such as the wolves as they were able to stand up high on the slope of the mountain and observe their surrounding.
The Zoo is split into sections and I will give a brief description of the main sections. Please note that there are more sections that what I am going to mention but I am going to outline the main sections that I think are of more interest to anyone wanting to visit the zoo.
The African Savannah has been designed to look like the African wilderness. All the animals in this section have large enclosures which are fairly similar to their natural environments. Animals that can be seen in this section include: rhinoceros, zebras, cheetah, antelopes and guinea-fowl co-exist with one another which was lovely to see.
In this section you are able to see animals native to Eurasia such as bears, lynx, groundhogs and river otters. The river otter enclosure is lovely, you can view it from the front and see the ground they have to roam and you can also see the water they swim in. To the left of this, there is a section where you can sit in an enclosed area (with a couple of benches) and there is a large glass screen which shows the above and below water levels so if the otters are out and about swimming, you can actually view them under the water. Also in this section, you are able to see into the sleeping area of the otters as there is a glass screen which allows you to view them.
Rat and Mice Section
Here, you are in an enclosed area with large glass screened areas where you are able to view various species of rats and mice. The enclosures are large and decorated very originally, one rat enclosure was decorated like a living room with a table, sofa armchair and various other items which gave you the impression you were looking into someone's living room. The rats were running around all the various objects and seemed to be having a great time jumping between the furniture items. The mice section was set up in much the same manner but this time it was done out like a kitchen, with loaves of real bread on the side which the mice were tucking into! I really liked the original decoration of this section; you could view the mice running in and out of kitchen drawers and could imagine that what they would be like when they invade people's homes.
There is a large wolf enclosure with several wolves (we counted 7 in total) but there could have been more as the enclosure was large and went back quite a way. The wolves had a very natural environment; the enclosure was sloped and backed onto the side of the mountain. The wolves had large fallen down trees in the enclosure with them and they seemed to enjoy walking along these.
The obviously houses the Racoons. This is in a large shed like building and you are able to view the racoons interacting with one another. There is a fenced off section where the racoons have various objects to play on, such as suspended logs etc and they also have a bad area with a large heat lamp where a few racoons were all huddled up together getting some heat! Although their enclosure was fenced off, they racoons were able to climb through sections of the fencing and stand it the area provided for the guests to stand in. This was certainly an experience, we didn't realise the racoons could get through the fencing and we were busy watching a few playing together and suddenly another couple that were playing together came charging out of their enclosure and stood about a foot away from us. At this point we got a little bit freaked as they were so close, but we moved a little bit and the racoon started making clicking noises and then backed away from us and continued playing with his friend! I really enjoyed this section too as you got so close to an animal that you would normally never see that close up.
This section, although quite small was extremely fascinating. You enter an indoor enclosure which is really humid (to the point where it steamed my camera up, coming from the cold outside) There are branches all over the top of the enclosure and down both sides, and in here are tiny monkey's (unfortunately I can not tell you what sort of monkeys there are as the signs were all in Austrian). They are roaming freely and playing with one another while chattering to each other with cute little clicking noises! You can get so close to the monkeys and I'm sure you could touch them if you felt the need but personally I didn't fancy getting bitten by one so certainly didn't touch them! In here, there was also a 3 foot long iguana who was absolutely gorgeous. I thought it was a bit random that he was in here alone with all the monkey's but he seemed happy enough basking on his branch!
Personally I loved this zoo. Unfortunately we decided to visit the zoo when it was peeing it down with rain so my only annoyance was that we got cold and wet but we still had a great day. We rushed it slightly because we were cold and it still took us a good 4 hours to get round every section.
I loved the fact that each species of animal had large, natural environments that were adapted to the already beautiful backdrop of Hellbrunn.
I also loved the fact that you could get s close to certain animals, like the monkeys and racoons. The otter enclosure was also one of my favourite sections as I liked the fact that you could see them swimming underwater.
A visit to Salzburg Zoo is an educational experience for both young and old. Observing local species and creatures from other continents is both entertaining and informative and with very reasonable entry fee's is definitely worth a visit. My only grumble was that all the signs are in Austrian so you couldn't always tell which animals were what!