Hagenbeck Zoo in Hamburg is a 19-hectare park, a zoo and an all-weather cultural attraction rolled into one. People have been enjoying days out at this leafy oasis on the outskirts of Hamburg since 1907.
Carl Hagenbeck's world-famous panoramas are still the defining feature of Hagenbeck Zoo. These heritage-listed enclosures give you the impression of being in the wild with the animals and let you see predators roaming seemingly freely. Nearly 2,000 animals representing more than 200 species and from all five continents live in the park, from the African lion to the zebra shark. The zoo also successfully breeds endangered species such as the orang-utan and the Asian elephant. What child wouldn't like to feed a giraffe, see an elephant calf or watch other rare and cute young animals? It's all possible at Hagenbeck. The little ones can get up close to pygmy goats and ovambo goats in the children's zoo or run around in the large playground with its Wild West fort. Carriage rides, camel and pony rides in summer and lots of daily feeding displays turn a trip to the zoo into a magical experience. Watching animals is great fun, no matter how old you are. From the Asian elephant and the orang-utan to the giant South American otter and the dwarf zebu – all the animals have a part to play in this distinguished zoo. In the Polar Sea, opened in 2012, you can see walruses, fur seals, sea lions, penguins and other marine creatures at close quarters. Whether nose to nose with a diving polar bear or surrounded by a colony of penguins – you are given plenty of fascinating insights into the inhabitants of the polar seas on a 750m walk-through trail. The penguin enclosure is particularly spectacular, and the large sea bird aviary is populated by king eiders, long-tailed ducks, Arctic terns, ruffs and other Arctic sea birds. A visit to Hagenbeck Zoo promises to be one to remember!
Animals may be the stars at Hagenbeck Zoo but you also get an insight into foreign cultures. Of particular note are the exquisite hand carvings on the Nepalese pagodas and on the Thai pavilion in the Japanese pond. Right next to the zoo and the tropical aquarium is the world's first themed zoo hotel. Its colonial architecture is breathtakingly exotic and even the journey to one of its 158 rooms and suites is an adventure: each themed floor, which you arrive at by 'ship', takes you a tour of discovery through the flora and fauna of Africa, Asia and the Arctic.