“ Address: Wilhelmaplatz 13 / Stuttgart / 54020 „
My family and I spent a couple of days in Stuttgart this summer. Two of our days were already planned out for us, but then we changed our plans slightly, wondered what to do, and decided upon a trip to the Wilhelmina - Stuttgart's historic zoo and botanical gardens.
The zoo is quite close to the centre of Stuttgart, in the area of Bad Cannstatt, and can be easily reached by tram. Or if you are staying at the Cannstater Wasen campsite, as we did, it is just a pleasant fifteen minute walk along the river.
The zoo makes a lovely day out with children, there's plenty there, but the site isn't too large. It is however set on the side of a hill, so brace yourself for the walking round. In addition to the usual featuring animals, the zoo has hippopotamuses (not often kept as they are actually quite dangerous to be around), and polar bears (sad to see them in captivity but so impressive, and captivating when they went diving for their food - they even took an unexpected interest in the apples they were fed after the more traditional fish).
One of the highlights was the amazing new enclosure (opened this summer) created for great apes. It is beautifully planned and arranged, and a very impressive structure. Like many zoos the buildings vary in their age and appropriateness - as understanding of the needs of the animals rather than just those of the visitors, has increased, but few zoos can have such beautiful original buildings as the lovely "Moorish" styled pavilions and gardens. These are mostly focused around a beautiful garden area in the centre of the zoo with pergolas surrounding the waterlily ponds and a wonderfully ornate large glasshouse.
The catering facilities are what you would expect at a place like this. There are kiosks throughout the grounds, with snacks, ice-creams and (hot and cold) drinks and two cafeterias, one at each end of the zoo, providing reasonably-priced, unexceptional food. There is a large shop close to the main entrance which is well stocked, with souvenirs and gifts to suit every pocket.
The zoo is open every day of the year, but the actual opening times vary from month to month, so it's best to check.
The cost of entrance is roughly on a par with other views, it costs Euro14 for adults and Euro7 for children. There are lower prices after 4 pm, or during the winter, and also a couple of different family tickets, so I would say that it's a pretty affordable family day out.