Of all the things I envisaged doing in Hannover, I can safely say that milking a mechanical cow was not one of them!
I understand that Hannover Zoo has undergone a major facelift in recent years, and it shows. The design of the Zoo is innovative and, in places, downright playful, with many tongue-in-cheek structures and 'props' that I found amusing (see photos).
Included in the price is a boat ride along a river that recreates a tropical habitat - in fact, the boats are attached to an underwater cable that pulls them at a fixed speed along the channel. This is clever and charming on a day when the zoo is fairly quiet, but has the potential to be chaotic during the summer holidays when the zoo is packed with people. Other little quirks include an ruined Indian temple, complete with elephant sculptures that spout water from their trunks and a ruined plane (which looks like a prop from an Indiana Jones movie) that has nosedived into a stand of enormous bamboo.
The range of animals is interesting, and there are some unexpected species: for example, this was the first time that I had seen a blue crane (South Africa's national bird, which has endangered status) with young.
For kids, there is an excellent farmyard section, including the infamous mechanical cow, which does actually yield 'milk' if you've got the right milking technique! There is also a wonderful and extensive 'jungle gym' which is situated adjacent to the restaurant, so parents can sit and keep an eye on their children. We visited on a Friday in mid summer, and the zoo was open until late (not sure whether this is a regular occurrence, or was just the case on that day?), so the restaurant was full of families who were taking advantage of the long evening, which was lovely.
For those seeking a more conventional 'zoological garden', you may find the slightly 'theme park' atmosphere somewhat annoying, and I did feel that the scientific side had been dumbed down slightly too much for my liking. However, for those wanting a family day out at the 'zoo', this will be right down your alley!
Hanover Zoo was such a good day.... The enclosures are all modern and the animals all seem to be happy and healthy. The admission price was 10.50 euro for an adult and 9 euro for children. A little expensive but a for a really nice and full day out it was definitely worth it. The best thing about this zoo was that you really had the opportunity to get close up and personal with the animals. I stood face to face with a giraffe (I was standing on a platform of course!) and could reach out and touch the elephants.
Whilst the views dont compare with its Taronga Zoo cousin in Australia the animals were equally wonderful. Was interesting (not to mention amusing) to see Australian animals such as kagaroos and emus in the 'exotic' animals section of the zoo. As you can imagine, they are quite common place in Oz.
In short, it was a great day out and I reccommend visiting if you are in Hanover. Definitely check out the pink pelicans while you are there, they are quite cheeky and tried to take my map!!
Opening times are:
Winter (October 26 - February 29, 2004):
10 a.m. - 4 p.m
Summer (March 1st - October 25):
9 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Enjoy it !
Although it's a little expensive, the zoo is a must. If you go there you need time. Normally you can't see everything in one day.
My tip is: take a trip with the boat, you have a better view on many animals there and it is better for your feet.
The picture you see is also made on the boat trip.
Since they seem to have a lot of money in Germany and there was an Expo the zoo had a real facelift. Buildings where knocked down , improvement here and there and they made a really great effort to make this zoo as visitorsfriendly as possible.
So this is a modern zoo...
Most original i find this 'schlos neuschweistein'. It is a city with a population of guini pig. Not the main attraction but nice to see.
The elephants are housed an an impressive indian temple. You can sit in the center and enjoy a coffee 'out of india' and watch the elephants on the right , a colony of monkeys and deer on the left....
A few steps away are the tigers having a nap and you can go visit the souvenirchop.
You wont escape the german sausage..not even in India. :-)
This is quit an attraction. A gorilla mountain. Don't be misguided. These aren't the rare mountain gorilla's. You wont find any of those in a zoo
(there is one case where there is a lot of doubt - want a pic , write to me)
But these are the more common western lowland gorilla. They got a spacious outside that is really a must see visually. The gorillas seem to be quit happy and did some serious family expansion. More pictures from these magnificent animals in the album below.
Gorillas live in family groups with one male leader and about 4 females. Gorillas are vegetarians and quit gentle animals. Sometimes a younger male (a son of ..) travels along with the group as a peripheral male. He protects the group. Females usually have one young evry 4 or 5 years and how smarter the animal the less instinct the more they will have to learn from their mother.
As I'm always focused on apes.. you might think that there isn't anything else to see.
Well the savanna is really cool , the hippos live in a sort of hippoparadiseriver where you can have a boatrip. Wombats - not a really common zooguest.
And last but not least , they build a tipical german farm where you can eat. The giant piece of meat with some fine cooke vegetable and five fries as its supposed to be here. I remember the icecream was really good. It had a full real vanilla taste with a bunch of hot crickets on it. olé
if you would like to see some more pictures from the Zoo in Hannover have a look at my travelogues in "Niedersachsen" (Lower Saxony)
The Hannover Zoo is quite modern, they try to build places where the animals feel "like home".
Only what people know, can they love.
Only what they love will they protect.
This is the philosophy behind Hannover's new Zoo. It was declared an EXPO-Project called "EXPOnat Hannover Zoo" ("Exhibit Hannover Zoo"), with an entirely new concept of visitors' experience. The new attractions like the Gorilla Mountain, Jungle Palace, Meyers Hof, Sambesi and (in the near future) Arktika, were designed as enclosures (rather than the traditional cages) where the animals can live in conditions similar to their natural habitats.
Our Zoo is one of the best in whole Europe. The animals have a lot of space. Their enclosures remind of their normal surroundings: one big place looks like an African savanne (it is called "Sambesi-River") and another like an old palace in India.
2003 there were a lot of births in the Zoo: two small elefants, a giraffe-baby and some other little animals were born.
I really love this zoo and I would say that it´s one of the best in Europe. Most animals are kept in large exhibits.... A great attraction is a boat trip on the Sambesi.......you can watch the African animals from a boat. There is an Indian temple, which is the home for the elephants and tiger and the is a typical farm with cows and pigs for the city kids!!! Their products are served in the zoo´s restaurant "Meyer´s Hof". Excellent kitchen!
The entrance fee is quite high, but it´s worth it.......all animal have a better life through that...
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