Berlin Zoo is among the most visited sights in Germany's capital, welcoming around three million visitors every year. Opened in 1844 and covering 35 hectares in the west of the city, it is one of the world's oldest, largest and most bio-diverse zoos.
Berlin Zoo rose to global fame thanks to a cuddly little polar bear named Knut, who was born there in December 2006 and hand-reared by the staff. Berlin is also the only city in the world in which it's been possible to breed all flamingo species and subspecies. The capital's zoo is also acclaimed for its collection of zoological rarities and its breeding success stories, including with the black rhino. It is home to around 18,000 animals, covering 1,600 species. The aquarium, which opened in 1903 and spans three storeys, is a zoo in itself, boasting nearly 10,000 creatures including tropical and indigenous fish, the famous jellyfish, crocodiles and the creatures of the insectarium. The big cats here are joined by many smaller, lesser known predators such as fossas from Madagascar and ring-tailed mongooses. And the renovated nocturnal house gives a glimpse into the world of animals that are active at night. Inside the glass-domed hippo house, you can watch the residents above and below the water through a 14m glass panel. And in the penguin enclosure, a group of king penguins waddles around on real ice and snow. The seal enclosure, meanwhile, has recently had a major extension. These are just some of the animals and attractions that you will encounter on your visit!
Berlin Zoo is also worth visiting for its distinctive architecture. The animals do not just live in shelters but rather in Asian-style houses and pagodas amid scenery inspired by the Orient; other buildings are modelled on Indian design. The Siamese cattle stall is the largest Thai building in Europe. Since German reunification, Berlin Zoo has been working in close cooperation with its counterpart in the east of the city. The two zoos try to avoid doubling up on animals, which means it's well worth visiting both to see their combined total of nearly 23,000 residents.