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Czech Trip, 2016

Discussion in 'Czech Republic' started by sooty mangabey, 31 May 2016.

  1. sooty mangabey

    sooty mangabey Well-Known Member

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    So, a number of people have recently posted of their forthcoming summer zoo trips. Each July, at the end of the academic year, I like to head off for a few days of European zooing; with 2016 having, thus far, been a pitiful year for zoo-going (partly for personal reasons, partly because the weather has been so awful) I am especially looking forward to my 2016 trip.

    It will be five days in the Czech Republic, in early July. Flights are booked, and car rental arranged, but that aside plans are fairly loose.

    Last summer I visited the country, and saw some of the northern zoos (Decin, Usti, Liberec, Chomutov, Dvur Kralove, Zajezd), as well as Jihlava, Olomouc and Brno.

    This year I will be mainly concentrating on the other end of the country.

    Definites
    Zlin and Ostrava. I visited these two in 1995, and I suspect that they will each be unrecognisable from that time. Certainly, two of the best zoos in the country, and I'm really looking forward to seeing them - I would imagine for a whole day each.

    Probables
    Hodonin - not been before, and would like to see it while in that area.
    Jihlava - went last year, and had a bad visit: a really hot day, rather crowded, and I was rushing to catch a flight. I didn't like it at all - but I hope that under more favourable conditions I might appreciate it rather more.
    Prague - even if just for a few hours, on arrival or departure. One of the best, of course.

    Possibles
    Dvur Kralove - disappointingly, the zoo accommodation is booked up for the week I am in the country, which makes a visit there less likely: part of the appeal is being able to sneak into the zoo at 5.00 in the morning.
    Olomouc - a pretty poor zoo, but it's on the way to Ostrava, so it might be rude not to pop in...
    Brno - it's on the way, and is rather good (in parts) - although I don't think a great deal will have changed since last year.
    Vienna / Bratislava - neither is an enormous distance from the southern Czech Republic, and I have not been to them for more than 20 years. It's pretty tempting - although there is a part of me that would prefer to stay in one country, and do that "properly".
    Tabor / Protovin / Hluboka / Dvorec - might be possible to see several (or all!) of these in one day, if the sacrifice of one "good" zoo is worth seeing a handful of new places.
    Prague Terrarium - although trying to get information about this one is tricky!

    Unlike @Snowleopard, who is meticulously well-planned with his trips, I will probably not decide the finer points of the trip until the moment. My criteria will be to see some great zoos, and some new zoos I have not visited before, and to have the chance to read lots, listen to Bruce Springsteen bootlegs on my ipod at top volume, drink Czech beer, and not really talk to anybody for five days - perfect!
     
  2. snowleopard

    snowleopard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    It sounds like a splendid, wonderful trip! As I am not going away this year on a mammoth zoo journey I must admit to feeling pangs of envy as I glance at your possible itinerary. Best of luck and I'm sure that you and I will be in touch.
     
  3. sooty mangabey

    sooty mangabey Well-Known Member

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    A few questions, to which someone may know the answer - as always, any help is very much appreciated.

    • Are the tree hyraxes at Ostrava on show to the public?
    • Is there a separate aquarium within the town of Ostrava, away from the zoo?
    • Has anyone been to Hodonin zoo recently? All that is here are some old pictures, and an old report, from the excellent @Sun Wukong (whatever happened to him?). It looks to have moved up in the world a little since then, judging by its website, but a trip there would steal a couple of hours from Zlin, so I am debating whether to give the entire day to Zlin, or whether to sneak in a visit to the smaller zoo first...
     
  4. Shorts

    Shorts Well-Known Member

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    He was banned unfortunately. Whilst a little hot-headed and argumentative he was intelligent and knew his stuff.

    To my memory, he's the only banned individual whose absence leaves the forum poorer.
     
  5. HOMIN96

    HOMIN96 Well-Known Member

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    • AFAIK the hyraxes should be in off-show area
    • There seem to be no such thing as separate aquarium in Ostrava
    • I was in Hodonín last summer and nothing really changed from that Sun Wukong´s pictures. The Zoo needs a massive upgrade of like 75% of their exhibits, but being located in small town, the funds are hard to get. The exhibits for Tigers and Lions are nice, but that´s about it. I´d rather spend whole day in Zlin.
     
  6. Jana

    Jana Well-Known Member

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    Exhibit for tree hyraxes in Ostrava is in making. Inside small night section in TANGANIKA house. It might be open soon.
     
  7. robmv

    robmv Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    There certainly used to be an aquarium in the town centre, but it was locked up when I tried to visit a few years ago and appeared to be abandoned.
     
  8. sooty mangabey

    sooty mangabey Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for this advice; Zlin looks to be an all-day zoo - so Hodonin will have to be missed on this trip, I think....

    A shame! I rather like the Czech tradition of having separate aquariums / reptile houses in the city centre. This Ostrava one is still listed on Zootierliste.

    ....you never know, he might still be looking on...
     
  9. cockroach

    cockroach Well-Known Member

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    From the list of probables and possibles I would recommend Hluboka. Rather small zoo focused on Czech and Palearctic fauna. I enjoyed much all the ducks, small passeriformes or european mammals during my last visit. They enlarged the area some year ago and included more "bigger" species. May be Ursus arctos isabellinus is uite interesting to see.

    Why dont you consider visiting Pilsen?
     
  10. sooty mangabey

    sooty mangabey Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for this advice. My plans have crystallised a little now, and Hluboka is definitely on the agenda: I am hoping to combine it with Tabor, Protivin and, possibly, Dvorec as well. It's good to hear that despite its smallness and lack of international fame, the zoo has its merits!

    Pilsen is one of my absolute favourite zoos - I love pretty much everything about it, and it is pretty much how I think a zoo should be. However, I have visited it quite a number of times in recent years, and, if I were to go there again, I would want to spend two days in the place - which would not allow visits to the eastern zoos which, on this trip, are my main priority. I am hoping that Zlin and Ostrava will be very impressive: when I saw them 21 years ago, the former was fine but largely unmemorable, the latter was pretty awful. A lot will have changed in the intervening years, I think!
     
  11. cockroach

    cockroach Well-Known Member

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    Right now it is clear why not Pilsen :D. Ostrava and Zlin are really recommended. Keep enough time especially for Zlin.
     
  12. Batto

    Batto Well-Known Member

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    I’m planning to visit Zlin early this July; maybe we’ll run into each other there? ;)
     
  13. ralph

    ralph Well-Known Member

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    It is closed. I couldn't find any info about it either, so I decided to drop by last march - turned out to be a waste of time.
     
  14. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    That was the received knowledge for some time, but by all accounts it is now open again under new management.
     
  15. sooty mangabey

    sooty mangabey Well-Known Member

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    Thank you, Ralph and Dave.

    The Terrarium has a website - Terrarium Praha - Úvod - which suggests it is open daily from 9.00 am.

    The wonder of Googlemaps suggests that stopping by on the way from Prague Airport to Jihlava Zoo will only add 20 minutes to the overall journey time, so I think I may give it a look and see what's happening...
     
  16. sooty mangabey

    sooty mangabey Well-Known Member

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    So, the schedule sort-of takes shape - although this is open to change and adaptation:

    • Day 1: Prague Terrarium enroute to Jihlava Zoo
    • Day 2: Four smaller places - Tabor, Protivin, Dvorec and Hluboka
    • Day 3: Zlin
    • Day 4: Ostrava
    • Day 5: Prague

    The thought of seeing some superb Czech zoos (and possibly one or two less wonderful ones) is very exciting, of course.

    And here's another question: is it possible to miss the Gambian mongoose at Zlin? Or are they fairly obvious?
     
  17. snowleopard

    snowleopard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    You can likely appreciate how many weeks, months and sometimes years I have spent on tinkering with my many road trips. In 2014 I visited 60+ zoos/aquariums in 20+ days and then in 2015 it was something like 80 zoos/aquariums in 26 days. The amount of planning to coordinate driving schedules, opening hours and everything in between (including several different time zones) is so consuming that the endeavour takes on the scope of a "military operation" (according to a fellow ZooChatter:)). Back in 2012 when I did 50 zoos/aquariums in 50 days on a family journey it now looks almost easy in comparison to my solo zoo trips.
     
  18. robmv

    robmv Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    It's a few years since I was there, but they were kept in the giraffe house (in an uninspiring wood and wire enclosure) - impossible to miss.
     
  19. Jakub

    Jakub Well-Known Member

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    Gambian mongooses are currently being kept in the vulture's walktrough aviary in the african part of the zoo, behind the flamingo lagoon and katta's island. You can reach the aviary from two sides one of which is via a wooden bridge. They are quite easily to spot I can see them during almost every visit. And they really like sunbathing:)
     
  20. sooty mangabey

    sooty mangabey Well-Known Member

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    Just back in the UK after these five days in the Czech Republic. I know where I would rather be!

    I'll be writing up lengthier thoughts on the zoos of the country elsewhere, so, briefly, a sentence on each:

    Prague Terrarium: reminded me of a pet shop in Worthing (a real place - not a hypothetical one!); a bit grubby, over-crowded and unpleasant.
    Jihlava Zoo: worth seeing and impressive in its own way, but not really my kind of zoo.
    Tabor Zoo: simple, but well done in parts (excellent bear enclosure, for example - Whipsnade-esque); felt like Hamerton's aesthetics meeting Wingham's collection plan...
    Protivin Crocodile Zoo: quite striking, but a little bit clinical - and very frustrating that photography not allowed.
    Dvorec Zoo: pretty awful; in collection, "design" and husbandry it felt like a poor British zoo from about 1971.
    Hluboka (Ohrada) Zoo: really, really wonderful - the Bohemian Forest aviary is quite stunning, and much of the rest of the place is delivered with real panache; an absolute favourite!
    Zlin Zoo: superb - very good collection, presented with elan and style, with the sort of attention to detail which marks out the very best; the only shame is that the mammal collection is a little conservative, and the reptiles almost non-existent - even if the bird collection is fabulous.
    Ostrava Zoo: wonderful in parts, dreadful in others; overall, I liked it a great deal - but clearly not enough is being spent on maintenance, which is a shame.
    Vyskov Zoopark: required a 10 minute diversion off the main road to see it; probably just about worth it - had it been 15 minutes I'm not sure it would have been.
    Brno Zoo: not unlike Ostrava, with some wonderful elements and some moments of awfulness.
    Prague Aquarium: pretty dull, costs more to get into than the zoo - and possibly good for a 20 minute visit, unless icthyology is your thing.
    Prague Zoo: very possibly - probably - the best zoo in Europe; I've been fortunate enough to visit a number of times in recent years, I was there for 10 hours - and still I felt as if there were whole chunks that I barely touched on - a stunningly good place!