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The Wilhelma in Stuttgart: where zoology and botany take a modern turn

There is no finer zoological-botanical garden than the Wilhelma in Stuttgart. Its picturesque blend of flora and fauna makes it one of the most beautiful zoos in the world. A trip to Stuttgart's zoo feels like a day's holiday in the heart of the city.

With nearly 10,000 animals from over 1,000 different species, the Wilhelma is also among the world's most bio-diverse zoos. What's more, the historical park and its tropical glasshouses are home to some 7,000 species and varieties of plant from every climate zone on Earth. In the northern section of the Wilhelma you can see zebras, okapi, giraffes, rare Somali wild asses and a variety of antelope, all living in large outdoor enclosures. Maned wolves and spectacled bears roam around the bear and mountain animals enclosure, which resembles a rocky landscape. The individual enclosures are not separated by fences, but by ditches that are hidden from view. Polar bears, otters and other semi-aquatic animals are at home here too, and when they dive below the surface, you can watch them through the underwater window. See fruit bats, Red Sea lanternfish, Chinese giant salamanders and mouse lemurs on the move in the nocturnal house and watch a bee colony and leafcutter ants at work inside the insectarium. The huge walk-in aviaries offer ample room for budgerigars and aquatic birds to fly around while the pied avocets, European oystercatchers and ruffs splash about in the waves.


The great ape enclosure at Wilhelma Gardens in Stuttgart is internationally acclaimed. All four great ape species live in family groups here with their adorable offspring. The compound also has an enclosure for rearing the young – Europe's only nursery for young great apes. A further highlight is the aquarium, where you can see marine life from all over the world, ranging from indigenous trout to brightly coloured tropical reef fish. An absolute must-see is the reptile house with its colourful venomous snakes and giant pythons, not to mention the tiny poison dart frogs, crocodiles and alligators that you can watch feeding. You get to meet the animals kept by our ancestors over on the demonstration farm, where kids can stroke and cuddle ponies, sheep and goats. In addition to the zoological and botanical marvels, there is a wonder from the world of physics concealed within the covered walkway of the Moorish garden: the whispering gallery enables you to hold a conversation across an incredible 40 metres – all in a hushed whisper. Wilhelma Gardens in Stuttgart also has excellent places for visitors to eat.