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Airport transit zoo visits

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by devilfish, 1 Jul 2015.

  1. devilfish

    devilfish Well-Known Member

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    Over the past few years I've been taking advantage of prolonged transits in airports to visit a zoo or aquarium. Does anyone else do this?
    A quick online search reveals that a lot of people enquire about these journeys but I'm unsure about how many people follow them through.
    It's sometimes a risky game, but often much easier than expected.

    A few features are required/preferable for this to be a success:
    • Easy & rapid exit and re-entry to the transit zone
    • Straightforward transportation to the desired collection
    • Most importantly; reliable transport and good time management.

    Easy airports where I've attempted this include

    Zurich, Switzerland
    - Zoo: train from airport to main station and tram to the zoo
    - Voliere: train from airport to main station and a walk/tram ride to voliere

    Istanbul Ataturk, Turkey
    - Turkuazoo: metro from the airport to Kocatepe station.
    - Akvaryum Istanbul (located near the airport complex) - a quick taxi ride, though traffic can be fairly bad.

    Brussels National airport, Belgium
    - Brussels aquarium: train ride from the airport to Centraal station, metro from there to Simonis and then a walk through the park.
    - Antwerp Zoo/Aquatopia: train from the airport to Antwerp Centraal station; the zoo is adjacent and Aquatopia is across the square. Discount vouchers available from the information desk in the station (or for other zoos from the foyer in Aquatopia).

    Frankfurt, Germany - a failed attempt due to numerous train cancellations on the day of my travel.


    Airports where I've travelled directly to/from a zoo which seem like potential transit destinations:

    Copenhagen, Denmark
    - Den Bla Planet aquarium: a 15-minute walk from the airport. The airport's information desk provide a discount voucher.
    (Trips to Tivoli Gardens and Copenhagen Zoo or Malmo Aquarium/Reptile Centre [Sweden] also seem feasible)

    Chiang Mai, Thailand
    - Taxi from the airport to the zoo/night safari (both are roughly 3 miles away)

    Changi International Airport, Singapore
    I don't envy those who have to choose between which collection to visit rapidly in Singapore. Sentosa is probably a less efficient choice. Also worth seeing is the Butterfly garden within the airport (open 24h)
    - Jurong Bird Park: metro and then bus to the Bird Park

    Malaga, Spain
    - Aula del mar: drive/taxi from the city centre to the airport. I believe buses would need a connection.
    Other nearby collections might be a better use of time (e.g. transfer to/from Benalmadena or Fuengirola)


    Others which look feasible include

    Athens International airport, Greece
    - Attica zoo nearby

    Tenerife North airport, Spain
    - Loro Parque a bus ride away (and then a walk, or a quick ride on the zoo train)

    Banjul International Airport, Gambia
    - Eagle Heights Gambia nearby

    Sharjah International Airport, UAE
    - Arabia's Wildlife Centre nearby

    For these I have no idea how easy it is to get in/out of the airport so I wouldn't advise these without further knowledge.

    I'm not sure about US airports - I've not had long enough stopovers with enough freedom to explore apart from Charlotte, NC, where zoo visits were not an option.

    I'll add others as I recall them. Does anyone else have other experiences of airport transit visits?
     
  2. LaughingDove

    LaughingDove Well-Known Member

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    I have visited the butterfly Garden within Singapore Changi Airport (The best airport I've ever been to, and I've been to at least 50, almost certainly more) but I haven't actually left an airport during a transfer to visit a zoo.

    I have done things during a 24 hour transfer in Istanbul, but it was a school trip so I couldn't visit any zoos.

    I struggle to think of a couple of places you list being transfer destinations, namely Chiang Mai, Thailand and Banjul, The Gambia (I once asked a Gambian, and she said you are supposed to put the 'The' but that's some serious pedantry :p), more of end destinations, but doing a zoo in an airport transfer is something that I must say I have never thought to do, great idea!
     
  3. devilfish

    devilfish Well-Known Member

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    Thanks. You're absolutely right - The Gambia is one of only two countries (along with The Bahamas) to have 'The' in the short country name.

    Having an EU passport helps with these escapades. I should have clarified that Banjul or Chiang Mai wouldn't have been proper airport transfers with a single airline, rather airports which can be used as a transfer point or a hub to travel in the region. For instance; Thomas Cook has low cost flights from the UK to Gambia, and regional airlines serve West and Central Africa quite well. Flying via Banjul would therefore probably be my route of choice if I'm going to West Africa.
     
  4. DDcorvus

    DDcorvus Well-Known Member

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    What about The Netherlands, Devilfish?

    And I m not sure Tenerife is a transit-airport. I have used it as a final destination but I cannot imagine people use it to transfer.

    Artis Zoo in Amsterdam would be feasible. You take the train to Amsterdam centraal and then tram 7. And what about London city airport and London zoo or London Luton and Whipsnade. I have been tempted to do the second but I was advised against it by the airport staff (I also had only 6 hours).
     
  5. LaughingDove

    LaughingDove Well-Known Member

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    Are you Sure it's only two?

    Thinking about it, there must be quite a few. The Yemen, The Philippines, The Lebanon, The Congo, The Maldives, The Solomon Islands...

    Then of course there are lots of countries with 'the' in their full names. The People's Republic of China, The Democratic Republic of..., The United... (UK, US, UAE) etc.

    (Sorry for going off-topic)
     
  6. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    The examples you cite are officially the following:

    Yemen Republic
    Republic of the Philippines
    Lebanese Republic
    Democratic Republic of the Congo
    Congo Republic
    Republic of Maldives
    Solomon Islands
     
  7. DDcorvus

    DDcorvus Well-Known Member

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    But it is still The Netherlands, The Kingdom of the Netherlands is something different as it will include some of the Dutch Caribbean countries and Holland is still just a region even though people from there think otherwise.
     
  8. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    I think the difference is that the Netherlands are referred as such without capitalisation of "the", unless the country is named at the start of a sentence, whilst The Bahamas and The Gambia should always have a capitalised "The" no matter where in a sentence they are mentioned.

    So it is "the Netherlands" but "The Bahamas", as the capitalisation is part of the name.
     
  9. devilfish

    devilfish Well-Known Member

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    I've never had more than 4 hours in Schiphol so a visit to the zoo hasn't been much of an option when passing through (the same goes for Paris Charles De Gaulle, Rome Fiumicino, or Madrid Barajas). I do actively try to buy tickets with longer airport transfers though.

    Perhaps the term 'transit' is more specific than I had intended. You're right that Tenerife North is more of a destination airport, but it would be interesting to find out if anyone's tried for a quick visit to Loro Parque between arrival of a flight and departure of maybe a cruise or a ferry. It is of course possible that people occasionally switch (low-cost) airlines there too though.

    Luton and Whipsnade is a possibility, but going around Whipsnade without a car is difficult enough without having a strict time limit.
    One of the UK airports which strikes me as a potential zoo visit is London Southend. Not too far to Sea Life Adventure, or even Colchester (with great caution!) if time permits.

    I've been a bit light with UK airports because of other members' better knowledge of the airports and their transport links, and because of the utility of this thread: http://www.zoochat.com/38/uk-collections-public-transport-guide-348503/

    Many airports have suggestions on links to nearest zoos and aquaria online, and some zoos offer advice too.

    London City is a good suggestion. I've not used the airport though. A transfer by train to Waterloo, underground to Camden Town and then a walk to the zoo is an option. Alternatively, from Heathrow the Heathrow Express train will take 15 minutes to arrive at Paddington station, from which you can walk to Lancaster Gate and get the 274 bus to the zoo. If pushed for time you can take the underground from Paddington to Baker Street and get the 274 further down the line.

    London Wetland Centre can also be visited from either airport. There are trains from Waterloo to Barnes (near the centre) or a bus from Hammersmith station (around 30 minutes on the underground from Heathrow).

    London Gatwick is reasonably close to a few collections, the most interesting of which is probably the British Wildlife Centre, but I'm not sure on the best way to get there if you catch an open day.

    The easiest collection to reach from Birmingham International Airport is probably the National Sea Life Centre; a short train ride to New Street Station and then a 20 minute walk. Bus to Birmingham Nature Centre (or Botanical Gardens?) is also an option from the City Centre.

    Caution is required when planning a lot of these journeys. I prefer the reliability of trains to rural bus alternatives, and planning needs to be very detailed as some of these bus journeys are very infrequent and even train journeys might not be very reliable.
     
  10. devilfish

    devilfish Well-Known Member

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    Yes it's a bit of geography trivia which I shamefully ignored. :p

    According to several official sources there are only those two countries which use the definite article in their short names. There was a lot of confusion from the media over here around the time of the Olympics in 2012 so several sources attempted to clarify the situation.

    Probably among the first I'd have mentioned would have been Sudan and Ukraine.
     
  11. Ned

    Ned Well-Known Member

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    I researched this after a debate with my sister-in-law who comes from Ukraine.
    Using 'the' with the Names of Countries | GRAMMAR AND BEYOND
     
  12. Jurek7

    Jurek7 Well-Known Member

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    Dubai aquarium springs to mind. Located directly at the major transit airport.

    From Schiphol it may be easier to try Rotterdam than Artis, but remember that trains practically daily break down in rush hours.

    From Berlin Tegel it is very doable to do Berlin Zoo and Aquarium.

    What about USA?
     
  13. Ned

    Ned Well-Known Member

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    I visited Emperor Valley Zoo in Trinidad while on my way back from Tobago (same country different island). I also spent three days in Singapore visiting zoos on a stop off while traveling back from Australia, does that count?
     
  14. DDcorvus

    DDcorvus Well-Known Member

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    If you take the normal train from Schiphol to Rotterdam it will take you 52 minutes (+ 10 minutes of walking to the zoo) to get there. Feasible but you need quite a transit to accomplish that. Even the fast train is still 30 minutes to Rotterdam and is quite expensive. In the end Artis would still be faster.
     
  15. devilfish

    devilfish Well-Known Member

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    Thanks.

    I've always found Dubai to have very long queues for passport control and not as conveniently connected as other airports.

    Nice to know that Rotterdam would be a possibility from Schiphol.

    Is it easy/reliable enough to get from Berlin Tegel to the zoo? We took a taxi on a visit a few years ago.
     
  16. devilfish

    devilfish Well-Known Member

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  17. annebn

    annebn Well-Known Member

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    I haven't tried it, but Frankfurt zoo in Germany looks like a possibility, can be reached in half an hour from the airport with the local trains.
     
  18. lintworm

    lintworm Moderator Staff Member

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    There are direct busses from Tegel Airport to the Berlin city centre as well, so it should not take too long.

    In Basel a zoo visit is also a possibillity, it should take 30 minutes by buss and foot from the airport.
     
  19. LaughingDove

    LaughingDove Well-Known Member

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    With the official names that maybe it, but with all of the above examples you would use a 'the' when talking about them.

    For example, you would never say "I am visiting Philippines", that would just sound like broken English. You would say "I am visiting the Philippines". The same is true for all of the above and a few more mentioned by other people (apart from Yemen or Lebanon which would sound right with 'the' or not)

    This is not true for all countries of course, you would never say "I am visiting the Australia" etc.
     
  20. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    But the point, as I said above, is that the official names don't contain "The" with a capital, whilst The Gambia and The Bahamas do - in other words, for those countries saying the Gambia or the Bahamas is wrong.