A Saturday at the Berlin Zoo

Start your weekend with a trip to the Berlin Zoo: meow along with the tigers and high-five with the polar bears!Now that the Winter doesn’t seem to come back any time soon, we can finally think about how to spend our weekends outdoors. Hoovering over the West of Berlin in Google Earth, I realized how very little I know about this part of town. Since I moved here last year, I confined myself to what is known as Ost – the somewhat shabby part of Berlin in the East, known for being the official capital of the former GDR.

Whenever I find myself in a new city, the first four things on my list to visit are a contemporary art museum, a church, a department store and.. the zoo! This quartet usually gives you a very good impression of the city and its inhabitants – or at least the right vibes. As many Berliner still consider the West as a whole different city, I decided to explore the world famous Zoologischer Garten.

The main entrance, with its distinctive Chinese gate, can be found in the Budapest Strasse. You better get there right after 09:00 a.m., or else you’ll be standing in line to buy your entrance tickets. Be prepared to be surrounded by flocks of whimpering children, by the way. This shouldn’t come to you as a surprise.
As the Germans are known for their efficiency, the waiting didn’t take much longer than a couple of minutes. When I was asked if I wanted to buy a ticket that would give me access to the zoo or a combi ticket that would include a trip to the aquarium, I found myself in a Sophie’s choice. So many animals, so little time! I decided to stick with the single ticket: surely, the zoo would easily take up all afternoon, right?

It sure did! Starting with the housing where they keep their predators, I stood eye in eye with the King of all Animals: the mighty lion. He seems to be the main attraction of the zoo, as a large group of people lined up behind the seemingly thin bars that separated the carnivorous murderer from the crowd. His lovely wife, looking slightly less impressive without the headdress, stood by his side – both of them looking as if they were on the set of Lion King 3.

The Berlin Zoo is big, lush and has a true metropolitan air to it, being surrounded by the American style highrise. Don’t take a map with you: it is much more fun to get lost. The well themed buildings, meandering paths and picturesque ponds make for a great escape. Various coffee corners and restaurants will take care of your appetite and sore feet before you are off to the zebras! Mind you: A trip to the Berlin Zoo requires sunglasses, an umbrella and a good pair of walking shoes.

Zoologischer Garten Berlin
Hardenbergplatz 8
10787 Berlin

Opening hours: 09:00 – 18:00 (Daily)
Ticket price adult: € 13
U-Bahn: Kurfürstendamm, Zoologischer Garten
S-Bahn: Zoologischer Garten
www.zoo-berlin.de