Prague Zoo (or Zoo Praha) is the 8th zoo Carl and I visited together. It was TripAdvisor’s 5th best zoo in 2017. (Loro Parque in Tenerife, which we visited in 2016, scored #1.) Located north of Prague, the zoo sits on Troja hillside, a land which was donated by the farming tycoon Alois Svoboda in 1922 for the sole purpose of building a zoological garden. As of 2015, the zoo, which opened itself in public in 1931, boasts of 4716 specimens from 681 species, including 144 endangered animals. Some of them, we saw for the first time!
Unfamiliar with the city, we decided to take an Uber taxi to the zoo. It took about 15-20 minutes to get there, and by 9am, we were standing at the ticket line along with groups of children and youth. The tickets cost 200 czk for an adult and 150 czk for a student. They also have other promotional prices, like happy Mondays. Check out the fees here: Prague Zoo Entrance Fees. Funny, they have a walk of fame for animals at the entrance.
Covering 60 hectares of land, with 10 kilometers of routes, the zoo is HUGE. See the zoo map here: Map of Prague Zoo. It is so big that they even have chairlifts and minitrains which run on three different routes. 😉 We decided to climb up the hill first, and then around it, and to take the minitrain if we get exhausted.
Our first stop: the Indonesian jungle. A little disclaimer here: Although the section was named that way, the animals came from all over South East Asia, including some species from the Philippines.
Next: We saw a sleeping polar bear, and next to its cage is a scenic viewpoint!
From South East Asia, we go next to Africa! The zoo houses many kinds of animals from the said continent, and it also has terraria and pavilions with the “cutest” and quirkiest species on the planet.
We tried to see some hippos at the Hippo House after, but our friends there seemed to be shy — or they were just submerged in the water all the time because of the extreme summer heat. Do you see them hiding on the photo below?
What came before us next were animals on fours trotting around the field called Across the Continents. There, you’d see zebras, addaxes, llamas, wallaroos and South African carnivores, among others. Then, we stopped by the parakeets and lorikeets, where one could enter the cages and interact with the colorful birds.
Have I mentioned that the zoo was so vast that they have chairlifts? First time I saw one in a zoo, and I thought it was super cool! We didn’t take them though… Too early to go down, then it was too late to go up. ;D
After greeting som majestic Przewalski’s horses, maned wolves and deer, we reached the Radegast. In Slavic mythology, the Radegast is the god of hospitality, and in turn, he also enjoys being invited to feasts and banquets. His statue in the zoo serves as a meeting point in the middle of three zoo sections – the Across the Continents, the Plains, and the Northern Forest.
And then, it was time for the Elephant Valley! But before reaching the big animals, we came across some more wolves, anoas and hyenas. I actually liked how the zoo tried to connect some social beliefs or cultural depiction to some animals, for instance, elephants to Hinduism. There was a Hindu altar, with a statue of Ganesh, the elephant god which symbolizes wisdom.
We already spent more than 2 hours inside when we reached the Elephant Valley, and were ready to grab some refreshments from one of the kiosks by the Gulab Restaurant. But then, we decided to visit one of our favorites first, the giraffes, at the African Savannah.
Owls, tigers, leopards, kiangs and deer are some of the animals we saw on our way down the hill. The zoo was expanding, building a new house for gorillas and polar bears, but we barely noticed the clatter. The path going down is called a Geotrail, as it features some fossils matched with info signs. Upon reaching the foot of the hill, we passed by mountain goats, like ibexes, and the Bird wetlands and Feline and Reptile House, where we greeted cranes, shoebills, waterfowls, tigers, lions and cheetahs, giant salamander and tortoises. Then, there was the Aviaries under the cliff, Chambal, Bororo Reserve, Water world and Monkey Islands. It was super fun to watch waterfowls get fed!
Downhill were lots of zoo sections, I can barely name them all! And I’m quite sure we didn’t manage to see all of them, unfortunately. We had some energy-refill at Gaston Restaurant, and then, continued towards the Penguin House and Fur seals. They do little shows there, but nothing fancy like the ones in Loro Parque or Oasis Parque.
Well, the visit to Prague Zoo was not all pure joy. I was hoping to get to the lookout tower to see, well, the city below the zoo and beyond. So, at around 3PM, we took the minitrain up, since we were already exhausted from all the walking. The train and the lift cost separately from the main entrance ticket, by the way. The ride was fun and exciting, driving along a cliff. But to our dismay, there was no lookout tower. Shame, we were not informed. What laid before us were the foundations, or log stumps, of the tower that was used-to-be. Hubby bought me some flavored crushed ice to entertain my disappointment.
We walked down the hill, along the Zakazanka Path, which provides amazing views of the surrounding areas, and houses som Czech reptiles, particularly snakes and lizards.
At 4PM, we left the zoo and decided to call it a day. I’d say, a trip to Prague Zoo was a wonderful experience, especially for families with children. It was entertaining in itself, and educational too. The animals are well-taken cared of, and the management is active in programs concerning wildlife conservation and protection. Visit their main webpage for projects and news: PRAGUE ZOO. In addition, a small portion of the entrance fee goes to animal conservation projects in Mongolia, Africa and India.
Day 4 of our Interrail Adventure 2018 coming up, but before that, here’s a short clip of a stingray, an anaconda, and a huge.. fish together in the same aquarium. Cheers! #spreadlove