Walking around the historic Greenhouse in the previous tip, I suddenly found myself amongst Bird Cage's.
This turned out to be the "Small Mammal and Bird House."
I thought they had a great display of Bird's including exotic's and beautifully coloured and unusual Bird's from many different Countries.
Mammal's were here too. I saw the slow moving Sloth, short-eared elephant-shrews, rare Cuban tree rats, mustachioed viscachas, Gundis, a bristle hedgehog from Madagascar and Chinchilla's. We have a town named Chinchilla in Australia, but no animal Chinchilla's!
In the next section there are small mammals including mouse lemurs from Madagascar, Australian flying squirrel, Bat's and many others. Some of the nocturnal aquatic animal's were Surinam toads, glowing fish and the Chinese giant salamander.
There were quite a few Animal's and Bird's that I had never seen before. I really enjoyed this area!
Next, we head into the beautiful Moorish garden which is known as the heart of Wilhelma!
It was here, King Wilhelm I of Wurttemberg established his Swabian Alhambra.
The highlight of this area is in March or early April when the Magnolia's flower. As we were here in July, we didn't see them, but it still was beautiful!
In the center of the Moorish garden is the water lily pond which had huge Water Lilie's!
No wonder, some of them were the LARGEST WATER LILY IN THE WORLD [Victoria Amazonica], named after Queen Victoria. The water is heated to about 30°, especially for these lillies.
Can you believe, these large leaves can carry up to 70kgs!
Plenty other water lilies were flowering, plus Lotus flowers, and with Koi swimming around, it was a very pretty pond.
Around the edge, there were different animal sculpture's and plenty of seating. There were shady and sunny area's and I thought this was the prettiest part of the whole garden, it was lovely!
Surrounding the actual Moorish garden is a lovely curved walkway and two smaller pavilions called the north & south Pavilon's, these were built in 1844 as an observation point in the Moorish gardens.
What a lovely area the Walkway is.
I was here on a hot, sunny day, so walked along it for quite a way, thinking what a good idea it was. Nice shady area in the heat, and in the Rain, a good place to shelter, plus the advantage of still being able to see the garden.
There were many garden seat's, ceiling decoration and wall decoration in the form of a tiled pattern. As I looked through the columns that were holding the roof, these made a frame around the garden I was viewing. On the outside of the column's, creeper was growing up and around them, making this a very pleasant sight!
This walkway is known as the "whispering galleries" corridor.
People can stand at either end and hear what is being said. It works very well between the passage at the entrance and aquarium house just across the passage towards the ape house and in the curve. Here, two parties can talk at a normal volume over a distance of about 30 to 40 meters away and still understand every word.
Give it a go when there. I have done this elsewhere, and it is surprising how well you can hear!
The Sub-Tropic's section of the garden was just down the steps from the "Belvedere.'
This would be another favorite of mine!
It is a terraced area, that was rebuilt from 1843 to 1853. I guess what grabbed my attention first, were the three large animal sculpture's that were on one terrace. I loved them, and I loved the way it was terraced, and the many Fountains, lovely sandstone walls covered with ivy and Virginia creeper and the thin, tall cypresses just like in Italy.
There were plants galore, I believe 400 from southern area's that were thriving in this location. This is a very sunny area, and also protected from the wind, making it ideal for plants that otherwise have problems surviving outside in the winter, they can grow Seville Orange's here!
From the end of May until October there are also 450 potted plants placed along the Terrace's.
Now, not only plants, but in amongst all of this were many aviaries with many types of colourful Parrot's and exotic Bird's from Tropical countries around the World. There are more than 20 aviaries with parrots, even some Squirrel monkey's, coming from Africa, America and Australia.
Another area not to be missed in this Garden/Zoo!
The Damascene Hall is another Moorish building. Generally closed to the public, it is only open from March to October during limited opening times. I wish it was open, but it wasn't, as I read you see ....
"precious ceiling paintings, stucco walls and marble of the chandelier," sounds like it is worth a visit.
In the back of the Damascene Hall is an exhibition on the history of Wilhelma, and outside is another Aviary with indigenous birds.
This historic building was used by Wilhelm I for pheasants and chickens, what a "grand" life they enjoyed!
This is the only historic building in the Wilhelma that was not bombed during the War, even so, it was restored in 1992.
Out the front of it, is rectangular Pond, which had White Pelican's and other water Bird's. At the end of the pond, the view was very nice looking towards the Damascene Hall.
And now to Wilhelma Zoo.
The Zoo still has Animal's in cages, but this is changing. We could see they were making new enclosure's, where the Animal's could be viewed in safety without being in a cage.
I think there was quite a good range of Animal's including the usual Giraffe's, Elephant's, and other African and Asian Animal's. There were cold climate Animal's including Polar Bear, Syrian brown bears and some other Bear species, seals, mountain goats, Alpine Ibex, and more. These have individual enclosures with watercourses as natural barriers.
So, in closing, we had a wonderful time here.
I think you could easy spend a whole day here as there was so much to see and do, and it is quite a large area to walk around. There is the hill, step's or a pathway, so a little bit of energy is needed.
Let me start with a quote from the Wilhelma website:
"Wilhelma is also held in high esteem as living quarters by wild animals that do not belong to the fixed stock of the zoo. Fox and hare meet up on the meadows in the night; during the daytime visitors notice above all the many birds: grey heron and storks are permanent guests at Wilhelma. Sometimes swans land on the ponds, mallard ducks are always there. Special visitors are green-legged moorhens, nuthatches, woodpeckers, tree-creepers and kingfishers. And the famous yellow-headed amazons are always appearing with a good deal of screeching in the trees at Wilhelma. Our visitors enjoy the lively activities of the "ordinary" blackbirds, titmice and sparrows all over the park. Even squirrels, white weasels, martens and hedgehogs have found their paradise at Wilhelma, which supplies them with food and lodgings in the best of city locations."
The areas outside the cages and enclosures are buzzing with animal life, too. Keep your eyes open and there may be some surprising encounters. Good thing is that these wild animals who visit the zoo regularly are used to human visitors pointing cameras at them. You'll get a little closer to them than under normal wildlife circumstances, so take the chance for a snapshot. I am showing my best pictures here. All these are wild animals who move freely in and out of the zoo grounds, except the peacock who is a zoo inhabitant but also free to move all over the grounds.
My favourite catch is the photo of the squirrel. It was sitting in a bush by the path and so busy nibbling on a nut that it let me approach to less than one metre of distance, my head and camera immersed in the branches of the same bush.
May-Aug. 8.15 a.m.-6.00 p.m.
April+Sept. 8.15 a.m.-5.30 p.m.
March+Oct. 8.15 a.m.-5.00 p.m.
Nov.-Feb. 8.15 a.m.-4.00 p.m.
Better you look by yourself because the opening time is changing from month to month, at the right of the page is a menu where you can change the months:
March-Oct. 9.00 a.m.-4.30 p.m.
Nov.-Feb. 9.00 a.m.-4.00 p.m.
Entrance fees.......... depend of season
Adults € 8 - 12
Children (6-17 years) € 4 - 6
Groups over 15 persons (per person)
Adults € 8 - 9,50
Children € 4 - 4,50
Family ticket € 12 - 30
Icebear taken by Emma
My initial plan was to visit the botanical garden and not the zoo, as I am not usually one for going to zoos. However, I found out that the botanical garden and the zoo are the same place. Oh well I was going to visit the gardens anyway.
Wow. I was not disappointed, the garden was tremendous. You start by walking through the greenhouses where there are many beautiful plants. A toucan greets you in the first one.
After that there is the rest of the extensive gardens and zoo to see. We tried following a suggested route signposted. It was generally easy to keep to but we did stray occasionally by accident.
There are more ponds and greenhouses to see. We were here in good weather so it was nice to sit and admire.
The main part of the zoo was actually very good. Although I did feel that some of the enclosures were a bit small. That being said most of the animals were happy and healthy looking. The penguins even had their own fridge :)
A very entertaining and pleasant afternoon. I would happily visit again
Cost - €10.20 or only 7.00 in winter
Open from 0815 to 1800 in summer closes at 1600 in winter
Germany's unique zoological-botanical gardens, one of the most beautiful of its kind in Europe, was built from 1842 - 1853 for King Wilhelm I of Wuerttemberg as a Moorish garden; around 9,000 animals of almost 1,000 species, exemplary facilities and greenhouses which are open to the public, important collections of orchids, large magnolia grove, aquarium with crocodile hall and famous coral fish collection, modern ape house, bear facilities, walk-in bird free flight facility, demonstration farm with petting enclosure. With ca. 1.8 million visitors a year, one of the most visited sights in Baden-Wuerttemberg.
The animal houses are open 45 minutes after the admission office is closed and the greenhouses up to 30 minutes. The aquarium (opens at 9:00 a.m.) closes on Tuesdays one hour before the animal houses. The park can be visited until nightfall - at latest until 8:00 p.m.
Group tours from March to October with registration
The Wilhelma Main Restaurant has room for 350 guests - outside you will even find 850 visitor chairs, tables and benches. The Café Belvedere is somewhat smaller, they have 32 or 150 spaces. In the restaurant at the demonstration farm, 100 or 200 guests have space.
The Wilhelma is open daily all year round.
May to Aug 8:15 - 6:00
Apr and Sep 8:15 - 5:30
Mar and Oct 8:15 - 5:00
Nov to Feb 8:15 - 4:00 Uhr
After parking our Car, we then walked towards the Main entrance located along the Neckartalstrasse.
I was impressed before we even enter Wihelma!
Well, there was this long wall of Terracotta tiles, that really looked nice, but even more so, because infront was a very nice manicured lawn and garden. Unfortunately, the first wall which was painted with figures and animals suffered moisture damage, and in 1856 was replaced by relief-like terracotta tiles.
Then I saw my first Moorish building, which happened to be the Admission Booth. This Pavilion dates back to 1843, when the then King wanted a covered way to the Wilhelma Theatre, but also a Pavilon built along the way to overlook the Neckar River. His wish is what we see today being used as an Admission booth.
We will now buy our admission ticket and begin our tour
As soon as we entered through the main entrance I saw beautifully maintained garden's, and some pretty European Pink Flamingoes and some white-headed ducks, Stork's, Heron's and other water Bird's.
Map in hand, I then followed the pathway to the historic Greenhouse. Inside were Bromeliad's, Cacti, Orchid's, Palm's, Banana's and many other tropical and subtropical plants. A Koi Pond is a nice touch!
As I come from a tropical area, I was interested to see what they could grow here, and I must say, I was pleasantly surprised. The plant's looked to be doing very well.
In different season's, different shrub's are flowering, such as Azalea's and Fuschia's, and others.
High on the hill I saw another Moorish building.
I wondered what it was, so once again, it was another hill climb to find it was the "Belvedere," and not open to the public. The name is Italian for 'beautiful view," and I did get a beautiful view over the garden's from there.
The Moorish Villa is the former summer residence of King Wilhelm I of Wurttemberg.
It is situated in a high position, where the views are fabulous! The garden surrounding it was so bright and colourful in July.
Either side of the Villa, is the Greenhouse which is full of Tropical plant's. Inside the Greenhouse is a spectacular plant known as "La Diva". The Plant is found in Sumatra, and if you are lucky, you will see one of the largest and most spectacular flower's you can ever see. The tubers of this plant weigh over 75 kilo's.
The tuber of the Wilhelma specimen weighed 40 kilograms and flowered in October 2005 for the first time.
I wasn't lucky, I wish I was. See the website for photo's of what one looks like.
Another lovely Moorish building I came across, was the Wilhelma Ballroom, built in 1851 as a venue for royal ceremonies, receptions and balls. Between the Moorish Villa and Moorish ballroom is the Moorish garden and walkway that join them together.
Of course, it isn't a Ballroom now, but in the Imperial day's of 1953,, King William I [Czar Alexander II] and the French Emperor [Napoleon III] were invited here for a reconciliation meeting.
The Ballroom was badly damaged in the War, with only a small part of the original facade able to be saved.
It is now the Aquarium with a good array of sea creature's. There are large display tanks and smaller aquarium's that hold the various kinds of Fish.
Some I saw were.....
Tropical fish like I see at home, one was sea water, and the other fresh water. The Tropical Fish are ever so pretty in colour, and I really never tire of viewing them! I found Piranha and electric Eel's in the freshwater Tropical, plus many other fish.
Fish were on display for the Amazon area and Native freshwater, where I saw some Fish that are found in the local area. Some of the fish in this display are on the endangered list, so good to see them here.
The Mediterranean had a mixture of giant Lobster, Mussels, and other Fish.
I think I liked the Terrarium the best, because here I saw some Shark's I hadn't seen before, [Horn Shark], and I love seeing rare creature's, and the poisonous /amphibian's. Some of these I hadn't seen before!
The Crocodiles are fed at 2pm daily, and they can viewed when being fed!
Another really good area of the Zoo!