Frankfurt Zoological Garden
Lions, rhinos, crocodiles, apes – to observe the impressive animal world of Africa and other continents, the people of Frankfurt and their guests do not have to travel far. For in the heart of the city there is Frankfurt Zoo, which was established in 1858 and is thus among the oldest zoological gardens in the world. In open cages and in unique animal houses, the zoo presents a total of 500 different species and more than 4,500 animals.
This natural oasis became known throughout the world through the commitment of its legendary director Professor Bernhard Grzimek (1909 – 1987). The important zoologist, animal filmmaker and conservationist rebuilt the zoo after its destruction in the Second World War and introduced an exemplary modern keeping of animals in his almost thirty years of work (1945 until 1974). Grzimek’s TV programme ‘Ein Platz für Tiere’ made Frankfurt Zoo famous in the Sixties and Seventies.
One of the attractions of the Frankfurt Zoo, the Europe’s largest home for nocturnal animals, is also named after him. Here in the Grzimek building, day becomes night, and visitors can watch nocturnal animals such as bats or African aardvarks while they go about their routines. Another draw is the Cat Jungle, where visitors can observe Indian lions, Sumatran tigers and rusty-spotted cats. Instead of bars, the cats are behind moats or panes of glass. The Exotarium also makes a strong impression; here visitors can learn about species diversity from the North Sea to the Amazon. This is where penguins, fresh and saltwater fish, reptiles, amphibians and insects live in their natural surroundings. Twice a day there is a tropical storm in the habitat of the Australian freshwater crocodiles. By the Seal Cliffs, there is turbulence both above and below water. The brown fur seals and common seals that live here are crowd favourites. A grotto with underwater windows makes it possible for visitors to watch the lively sea dwellers even when they are underwater.
The Frankfurt Zoo has a worldwide reputation for being the first place to raise all four varieties of primate in one zoo. Since then, more than 100 offspring have been born here to gorillas, orangutans, chimpanzees and bonobos. On 12.06.2008 the Borgori Forest was opened, a completely new type of building for primates. As the name suggests, nature is brought into the building in the form of many trees, bushes, rocks and natural soil, so both people and animals feel as if they are in the jungle.
The zoo features many other animal houses, such as bird halls with a free-flight enclosure, a giraffe house with labelling in braille and a giraffe statue for touching, and a rhinoceros house. In addition to all this, the zoo also offers a children’s zoo and a petting zoo for young visitors, a large playground and pony rides on weekends. For adults, the programme also offers special exhibitions, markets, events and individual guided tours. Zoo visitors can reflect on an eventful day in the very agreeable atmosphere of one of the restaurants or beer gardens on the zoo premises.