Zoos and wildlife parks: come and meet the animals

Attracting more than 40 million people a year, zoos and wildlife parks are popular places to visit, and for most of us they are our only opportunity to get close to wild animals such as elephants, lions, apes and reptiles.

Zoos and wildlife parks have a certain magical appeal. They give us the chance to see fascinating animals in the flesh – for which you would otherwise have to travel great distances. Experiencing animals in the wild may be exciting but it is not always easy, because they can be very timid or occasionally extremely dangerous. In a wildlife park or at the zoo, however, you can look at these creatures and get close to them without any fear – you can even stroke and feed some or at least watch them being fed. Thanks to monkey enclosures and petting farms, children are always in their element here. Ever wondered how giraffes sleep? And what about fish? Do komodo dragons breathe fire? Why do penguins have wings and what do bears do all winter? The zoo is the place to go for the answers to these questions. It's the zoos' homegrown stars – the enchanting baby animals – that always attract the most attention: mini elephants, cute snow leopard cubs, cuddly little polar bears, adorable baby monkeys or tiny clownfish. Some do the funniest things, others just look incredibly sweet as they play and frolic in their enclosures. For something a little bit different, try a trip to a terrarium – a haven of spiders, scorpions, snakes and reptiles. And who can resist the mysterious underwater worlds and dolphin displays? With zoos, wildlife parks, bird worlds, aquariums and butterfly houses to explore, the range of animal attractions is as diverse as nature itself. But Germany's animal attractions are more than just a great family day-out. They actively contribute to international breeding programmes and species conservation – and by visiting, you are supporting them in these initiatives.