“ Address: Zygmunta Wróblewskiego 1-5 / Wrocław / Poland „
Opening in 1865 Wroclaw Zoo is the oldest zoo in Poland and also one of the largest in Europe. The zoo houses over 4000 animals of 600 different species, many of which are protected or are extinct in the wild. I was lucky enough to be able to take a trip to the zoo on one of my adventures to Wroclaw and this was my experience.
While visiting some friends in Wroclaw they suggested that we take a trip to the Zoo as they know how much I like animals. The zoo is about a 40 minute drive from where they live and is located just outside the city of Wroclaw. As we approached the zoo I could clearly see a big sign simply saying "Zoo" with a picture of a lion, at this point I was feeling like a big kid with excitement building up inside as we were nearly there, however my excitement had to wait as the zoo does not have many parking spaces so we ended up driving round for a further 30 minutes to eventually find a space for the car in a local park. This now meant that we had a 15 minute walk to the zoo, however it was a nice day and the scenery was nice to walk through too.
When we eventually arrived at the Zoo entrance we were greeted by some massive gates and above these was the big Zoo sign that I had noticed as we drove past. To either side of the gates were the kiosks to pay for entrance. The price for an adult was 25zl (Polish zlotys) which is approximately just over £5 depending on the exchange rate. A student ticket was 21zl and a child 17zl. I thought these prices were very reasonable considering the prices of UK zoo's I have visited in the past. Little did I know that once I had been round the zoo I would come out thinking these prices are actually excellent for the size of the zoo and the variety of animals kept there! The staff on the gate didn't speak much English but they were polite and smiled while they served us.
Upon entering the zoo I noticed some gift shops to either side of us along with a few little ice cream shops and a couple of cafe's. In front of us there was a large map board showing where you are and a map of the zoo. We looked at the map and decided to walk to the left and move around the zoo in a clockwise direction, mainly because I was excited by the look of the bear encounter and wanted to see this first. Walking around the zoo we saw the usual zoo animals, dear, lions, tigers, reindeer, monkeys, elephants and giraffes to name a few. As we walked I noticed how all of the enclosures were very big and the animals had plenty of space to roam free without looking like they were being forced to be on show to the public, it was very clear that if they didn't want to be sociable with their visitors then they have lots of hiding places and dens to escape the eyes of admirers. Luckily for us most of the animals were out and about and enjoying the lovely sunshine. All of the enclosures had water supplies and food available for the animals and it was obvious to see that the animals are all very well looked after and in great condition.
After about 20 minutes of walking round we came to a big bridge over what looked to be a huge grassy area with a lot of trees in it, as we walked across this bridge we looked down and could see brown bears roaming free in their massive enclosure which even has a small river/stream running through it. As we were looking at the bears we could hear movement in the tree tops so we looked up to see small monkeys bouncing around in the tree tops above the bears below. At first this concerned me as I didn't want the monkeys to get eaten by a bear, however looking around I could see the monkey enclosure not too far away so they were safe and not always on the loose with the bears if they didn't want to be, I just hope none of them fall out! Continuing our walk around we came across more deer's and some antelope as well as some bird aviaries housing anything from budgies to owls, separated of course.
About half way around the zoo we decided to stop and have a burger and a drink at one of the many cafes. We sat outside as there was plenty of outside seating and relaxed in the sunshine with a slight shade from the big umbrella on the table, ideal if you have kids and want to keep them cool. The prices in the cafe were quite cheap, for 3 of us to have burgers, chips and a coke it came to a total of around 30zl. The food was cooked nice and tasted very nice.
After lunch we continued our walk around the animal enclosures and also some more bird houses and a reptile house, these were all the standard things I would expect to find in a zoo. Also at Wroclaw zoo they have a large building which doubles as both a reptile house and kind of sea life attraction. There are two floors, the lower one has various fish tanks and aquariums with sea life in them and the 2nd floor is home to many varieties of snakes, big spiders and lizards to name a few. Next door to this building there is also a butterfly walkthrough house which you enter through some heavy plastic flaps to be greeted by a large room full of lovely plants and trees and fluttering amongst them loads of very pretty butterflies, I enjoyed this feature although I did find it a little warm especially as it was also warm outside.
Another feature at the zoo I had never seen before and really enjoyed, although I am lead to believe that there is a zoo in the UK which now has this feature too and this is the Lemur walkthrough. This is a very large enclosure which you enter through a door which you then have to wait for it to close to be able to open a second door to get in to the animals. Once inside there is a pathway which leads through to the exit doors. There was a zoo keeper sitting inside the area and a small wooden fence running along the edge of the path with children and at one point me sitting on it watching the Lemur bouncing around in the tree tops above our heads and occasionally being brave and getting close to their human visitors, but never close enough to touch, saying this there is a sign saying that you must not try to touch the animals. We spent about 10 minutes in here although I could have spent longer as they were so cute and it was so rare to be able to be so close to them.
As we made our way past the last few enclosures I noticed a petting zoo which of course I had to go and have a look at, I'm sure my friends thought they had brought a child with them, however once we were inside the petting zoo they were quite happily feeding and fussing the little goats as well. Around the edge of the petting zoo were pens containing pigs with their piglets and also a few with different varieties of sheep in. You are allowed to feed these animals but they are not on the loose like the goats.
After the petting zoo we decided it was time to leave as we had spent a good 4 hours here and we were due to meet some other friends. Which is a shame as I would have quite happily gone round the whole thing again! The exit of the zoo is in the same place as the entrance and leads back out onto the main road ready for the mission of a walk back to find the car.
I really enjoyed my trip to the zoo, even if I was 27 at the time! It made me feel like a big kid again and I really enjoyed seeing so many animals looking healthy and looked after well with plenty of space to enjoy a run around if they wanted to and also plenty of shady areas for the hot days. If you have children they will love to see all the animals in this environment and there are also a few play areas placed around the zoo. I found it very interesting to read about the different animals on the boards that are located by each enclosure, they are mainly in Polish but there is an English translation underneath this. The food we ate at lunch time was very good and great value for money considering tourist attractions usually push the prices up more. Overall we spent at least 4 hours in the zoo and I'm sure we could have spent a couple more there too which I think is excellent value for money with such a low entrance fee. The zoo is easily accessible by a regular on time bus service from the city centre and if you are driving it is very well signposted too.
If you're ever visiting Wroclaw then definitely give this place a visit!
Thanks for reading :)