At the heart of Dresden, not far from the famous Church of Our Lady, lies one of Germany's oldest zoos. People from all over the world come to spend an enjoyable day in the company of its 3,000 or so animals, representing around 300 species.
Dresden Zoo is among the city's most popular attractions, alongside famous sights such as the Semper Opera House, Zwinger Palace and Church of Our Lady. A delight for animal lovers of all ages, this scenic 13-hectare zoo also serves as a place of learning and as a facility for scientific research and conservation. Its many attractions include the Africa House, home to elephants, mandrills and naked mole rats, the savannah-like enclosure for lions and desert lynx and the Giraffe House, where you can watch these long-necked creatures at eye level from a raised gallery. Brandes House is a tropical enclosure populated by lion-tailed macaques, white-faced sakis and woolly monkeys, which you can watch climbing and playing on large outdoor areas that are separated from visitors only by moats. But there is also much more to discover in the animal kingdom at Dresden Zoo: from Easter and Halloween right the way through to Christmas, events take place throughout the year that make a visit to Dresden Zoo a very special experience.
Dresden Zoo is ideal for families with children. Its underground zoo, whose many inhabitants include harvest mice, bumblebees and earthworms, is accessed by a slide, for example. Over at the petting zoo, there are Cameroon sheep, micropigs and a pantry full of mice just waiting to be discovered! The daily feeding displays are an exciting way to find out about the animals, and afterwards kids can let off steam at one of the adventure playgrounds. The free daily Punch and Judy shows are well worth seeing too. As well as being a fantastic leisure attraction, the zoo is also the city's biggest science education centre. The zoo school, founded in 1996, introduces children of all ages to ecology, environmental protection and the world of animals and animal behaviour. Dresden Zoo also takes part in numerous international breeding programmes – most notably for primates and parrots.