This was my second visit to the Cologne Zoo, however where as I drove there last time and parked in the very impressive bamboo car park, this time we used the metro rail – which is a pretty easy and effective way to get around the city. The stop for the zoo is just a couple of minutes walk away. Furthermore last time the visit to the zoo was planned, but due to the cold weather during our last visit we actually came here instead of going to Phantasia Land (a theme park I remember going to as a young child)… Very glad we changed our plans though!
Baby Animals at Cologne Zoo
The first thing I’d like to mention about this zoo is that they have a great breeding record and I managed to see a number of babies which I hadn’t seen on display anywhere else before, as well as a number of rare species, not often bred. After the number of zoos I have been to, this is a pretty tough thing to do!
Some of the baby animals I hadn’t seen before included okapi, giant anteater and camel (not rare I know but still the first baby I had seen). Furthermore some of the species which I found to be great to see where babies of the orangutans, bonobos and giraffes. Babies are always great for people to be able to see – they certainly attract crowds, but even more so I think its a great indicator that the animals are happy and healthy.
Animal Collection As a Whole
We didn’t come here just for the babies though, as this zoo has a really nice animal collection, which takes some time to see fully. As we were here on a very cold day, we didn’t get to see everything (most notably the bears), however there was still a great deal for us to see. Some of the stand out animals for us to see where the hippos, bonobos, orangutans, douc langurs, blue eyed black lemurs, Philippine crocodiles, rhinos, musk ox and elephants.
For such a big collection, the animals are all in very impressive condition. We did notice that the douc langur had quite well aged looking teeth, so I recommend seeing this species while you still can – it’s not seen very often, especially in Europe! If memory serves me correctly when we were here a number of year ago they had 2.
One thing which you often find with these old city zoos is that they are tied as to what they can do with their buildings (as they are often listed and protected), and that as such they an some times start to look a little tired and dated. However, this is not the case in Cologne Zoo, where the space has been used very well, to display its animals in great enclosures. The best 2 examples of this are firstly in the hippodome, where the 3 hippos are kept (along with the nile crocodiles), as well as the absolutely incredible elephant house. I would go as far as saying that it is easily the best elephant enclosure I have ever seen in a zoo. It is very good looking, as well as being very big. Even if it is cold and they are all indoors, this large elephant herd has plenty of space!
The way in which the great apes are displayed has a really nice feel to it, with all 3 species being kept under 1 roof, with various outside areas for each species as well.
With a background in reptiles and amphibians, the reptile house was certainly a big hit for myself, although I always found it strange how it is kept away from the rest of the park. It is roughly half an aquarium complex, withe the other half downstairs being used to house the reptile vivariums (with more vivariums for invertebrates upstairs). My absolute favourite animal in this area (although it is not designed in a particularly exciting or engaging manner), is the giant salamander, which is on the aquarium side of the building.
Cologne Zoo Final Thoughts
All in all this is a really nice zoo to walk around and there really aren’t any areas which I felt there was a problem with. Even though you are still in the middle of Cologne – a very busy city, it is easy to forget where you are. It’s a very quiet zoo (when it is not too busy with people), and it really does feel like you are surrounded by nature… and what a collection of nature it is!
You can get more information and pre-buy your tickets by clicking here!