ARTIS Royal Zoo is the oldest zoo in the Netherlands, founded in 1838 for members only and then opened to the public in 1851. The zoo is in the centre of Amsterdam, in a nice quiet leafy neighbourhood and far larger than I had been expecting.
The zoo is included in the I amsterdam card but you do still have to queue at the ticket booth to get a ticket that is then scanned at the entrance, and to get your map, which I was slightly taken aback to be charged for, since every other zoo I’ve been to has included it in the price. That aside the zoo really is fantastic – well laid out and designed with animals surprisingly close to people with no cages in many cases – I was impressed to see how close you can get to the lions for example and in the elephant’s enclosure you can walk through the middle of their swimming area. A few of my favourites are below:
Alpine Ibex – as with many of the animals at the zoo I looked up to find an animal surprisingly close to where I was standing,
Southern ground hornbill,
and red-legged seriema.
There’s not just a zoo on site, there are other places like the planetarium and Micropia – museum of microbes – but the only other place I had time for was the aquarium, which again was much larger than I was expecting.
I spent all morning and part of the afternoon there and I can easily see how you could spend the whole day exploring. A really great zoo, you can find more of my photos here.