A botanical pleasure garden, palace and zoo in one: who ever heard of such a thing? But it does exist, in Stuttgart – at the Wilhelma Gardens, where elephants, pelicans and orchids and much more besides can be admired in a beautiful romantic setting.
Germany's only 'zoological-botanical' gardens, the Wilhelma Gardens in Stuttgart provide truly regal accommodation for their animals: the gardens, greenhouses and buildings in a Moorish style were built for King Wilhelm I of Württemberg in the middle of the 19th century, originally as a residence and for ceremonial occasions.
After sustaining damage during the Second World War, the gardens were rebuilt and animals were added to make the park more attractive to visitors. Today, the Wilhelma Gardens are one of the most popular zoos in Germany with more than two million visitors a year.
It is difficult to decide which part of the 30 hectare grounds is the most beautiful. The bears and big cats exude a menacing charm, and the zoo also breeds great apes, who live near the jungle house, just past the giant water lilies. There, crocodiles lie in wait, and the thunder of the waterfall mingles with the calls of exotic birds. All this is set within the breathtakingly beautiful botanical gardens. Why not discover the royal splendour of the Wilhelma Gardens for yourself?