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Europe's Most Popular Zoos: Top 35

Discussion in 'Europe - General' started by snowleopard, 23 Nov 2016.

  1. snowleopard

    snowleopard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    In Anthony Sheridan's latest zoo book, Zooming in on Europe's Zoos, he has crammed a tremendous amount of information into almost 500 pages. Approximately half of the book is a series of glossy profiles of 115 major zoos (2 pages on each) but there is still another 25 chapters of information that almost reads like a separate publication. At the back of the book are his controversial ranking lists and several pages of "interesting zoo facts" that include attendance numbers. In regards to his personal, obviously subjective ranking of zoos he offers little explanation as to his choices, but there is an entire page devoted to explaining how he comes up with all of his attendance figures and it appears that he adheres to an accurate portrait of the popularity of each zoo. Here are the 35 most popular zoos in his book:

    Berlin - Germany - 3.3 million annual visitors
    Vienna - Austria - 2.5 million annual visitors
    Stuttgart - Germany - 2.25 million
    Munich - Germany - 2 million
    Wroclaw - Poland - 1.95 million
    Basel - Switzerland - 1.95 million
    Leipzig - Germany - 1.9 million
    Pairi Daiza - Belgium - 1.8 million
    Hamburg - Germany - 1.7 million
    Cologne - Germany - 1.65 million
    Chester - UK - 1.6 million
    Arnhem - Netherlands - 1.45 million
    Rotterdam - Netherlands - 1.45 million
    Zurich - Switzerland - 1.425 million
    Karlsruhe - Germany - 1.4 million
    Hanover - Germany - 1.35 million
    Amsterdam - Netherlands - 1.35 million
    Prague - Czech. Rep. - 1.325 million
    London - UK - 1.25 million
    Berlin Tierpark - Germany - 1.2 million
    Copenhagen - Denmark - 1.15 million
    Beauval - France - 1.15 million
    Barcelona - Spain - 1.15 million
    Loro Parque - Spain - 1.125 million
    Dublin - Ireland - 1.1 million
    Budapest - Hungary - 1.1 million
    Nuremberg - Germany - 1.075 million
    Paris - France - 1 million
    Duisburg - Germany - 1 million
    Madrid - Spain - 1 million
    Osnabruck - Germany - 995,000
    Rhenen - Netherlands - 995,000
    Planckendael - Belgium - 950,000
    Munster - Germany - 950,000
    Colchester - UK - 930,000

    Conspicuous by their absence would perhaps be Moscow (maybe Russia is not "European" enough for Sheridan?) and Lyon (a free zoo in France).

    Other zoos that failed to make the cut are Frankfurt (910,000), Gelsenkirchen (900,000), Antwerp (890,000), Kristiansand ((880,000) and Dresden ((850,000) in the slots #36-40.

    Has anyone on ZooChat visited ALL of these zoos? I've personally toured the 35 most popular zoos in the United States and I'm wondering who would be the "Snowleopard of Europe"? :)
     
  2. lintworm

    lintworm Moderator Staff Member

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    Thanks a lot for the list! Safaripark beekse bergen in the Netherlands also seems missing, they have some 900.000+.

    Further many of these numbers are overestimates, especially the German ones.... Burgers Zoo is listed here as having 1.45 million visitors, but last year the started counting real visits and not using a fixed number of visits for members and the real number was just above 1 million (1.040.804).

    And I assume that several UK members have seen all these 35 (Maguari....), I "only" come to 22 out of 35.
     
    Last edited: 23 Nov 2016
  3. snowleopard

    snowleopard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    You are welcome "lintworm"! I've had several requests to type out the numbers and I know that the last time I posted a similar thread there were quite a few comments. Beekse Bergen is listed as having 810,000 visitors and I'm sure that many zoos don't have exact numbers. That is a shame as I'd love to see zoos track each and every visitor rather than sometimes estimating their totals. Some zoos probably don't have a lot of competition from major tourist attractions (maybe Sofia and its 760,000 visitors would be an example of that) while a zoo like London (1.25 million) has to compete with 30 million annual tourists descending on the city and in reality the zoo is perhaps not first on the list of places to visit for many international visitors. What fools! :)
     
  4. Zygodactyl

    Zygodactyl Well-Known Member

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    I'm surprised Weltvogelpark Walsrode isn't on the list. It's #1 on my "list of reasons to visit Germany."
     
  5. Nikola Chavkosk

    Nikola Chavkosk Well-Known Member

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    I am surprised for the fourth place for Munich (Tierpark Hellabrunn?); It is the only zoo I've visited so far in Germany, and it was not very very spectacular for me.
    And what is the most visited zoo in the U.S. - San Diego? And with how many visitors? :)
     
  6. Ned

    Ned Well-Known Member

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    It's good to see Vienna with so many visitors considering it neatly closed down in the 1980's
     
  7. Jana

    Jana Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for posting this list!
     
  8. Hvedekorn

    Hvedekorn Well-Known Member

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    I thought Antwerp Zoo used to have more than 1 million yearly visitors? Of course, attendance numbers can decline, but with all the development they've had in recent years, you'd think their revenue was fairly good.

    But alas, I've only visited a puny 9 of them (Berlin Zoo, Basel, Leipzig, Hamburg, Hanover, Prague, London, Copenhagen and Planckendael) - as well as two of the ones that didn't make the cut (Antwerp and Dresden).

    I'm sort of split between wanting to see as many zoos as possible and wanting to see other sights (museums etc.) which means I often only manage to see two or three zoos during a seven-day trip.
     
  9. Coelacanth18

    Coelacanth18 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the list @snowleopard. Out of curiosity, does Sheridan cite where he got these attendance statistics from?

    @Nikola Chavkosk : Depending on your definition of "zoo", Disney's Animal Kingdom is the most visited zoo in the US with about 11 million visitors annually. Busch Gardens Tampa (another zoo-amusement park combo in Florida) receives about 4 million a year, and the Sea World parks combined get about 6 million a year.

    If we exclude zoos that also function as amusement parks (their numbers are different because of that distinction), then San Diego is the most visited, with around 3 to 3.5 million visitors a year. Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago and the Saint Louis Zoo, both free admission, are next with around 3 million visitors a year.
     
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  10. Zygodactyl

    Zygodactyl Well-Known Member

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    I'm surprised that the National Zoo isn't higher, given that it's free of charge and in the capital of the United States.
     
  11. Coelacanth18

    Coelacanth18 Well-Known Member

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    @Zygodactyl : the National Zoo received 2.3 million visitors this past year, which easily puts it in the top 10 (again, excluding amusement park zoos like DAK and SeaWorld). Lincoln Park is in densely-populated Chicago which gives it an advantage, and Saint Louis is both free and the largest nearby zoo for many people in the region (Missouri & downstate Illinois).

    Unrelated but interesting: the National Zoo is the 4th most visited Smithsonian institution, after the Museum of American History (3.4 million), the Museum of Natural History (6.3 million), and the Air & Space Museum (6.7 million).
     
  12. Zygodactyl

    Zygodactyl Well-Known Member

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    Why is the San Diego Zoo so high though? I mean, it's unquestionably the best zoo I've been to, but it's wicked expensive, doesn't offer reciprocity, and San Diego isn't a major tourist destination and doesn't crack the top 20 largest US metro areas.
     
  13. Coelacanth18

    Coelacanth18 Well-Known Member

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    @Zygodactyl: San Diego may not be commonly thought of as a tourist destination, but it receives many millions of tourists every year, and the Zoo is one of the most famous attractions there. It has a world-famous reputation and I'm sure many people in the San Diego area have memberships. The San Diego area has a few million people, but its only a couple/few hours away from other areas in Southern California, which has a huge population of 20+ million.
     
  14. lintworm

    lintworm Moderator Staff Member

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    Another Zoo that is way off and which is just a big mistake, as the real values are easily available in the annual report is Zoo Basel.... Being listed here as having almost 2 million visitors, they had "only" 1.034.359 visitors in 2015 according to their annual report. This also makes more sense as everybody who has been to Basel know that they cannot possibly accomodate 1.9 million visitors per year....
     
  15. Dassie rat

    Dassie rat Well-Known Member

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    I have been to Berlin, Stuttgart, Munich, Basel, Leipzig, Cologne, Chester, Arnhem,
    Rotterdam, Karlsruhe, Hanover, Amsterdam, Prague, London, Berlin Tierpark, Budapest, Paris, Duisburg, Planckendael and Colchester, as well as Frankfurt, Arnhem and Dresden.

    I am surprised that Karlsruhe supposedly has more visitors than Frankfurt. The zoo is close to the station (but so is Antwerp), but is not a well-known zoo. I’m also surprised about the low attendance figure at Berlin Tierpark compared to Berlin Zoo. Both zoos are near stations and have interesting collections.
     
  16. lintworm

    lintworm Moderator Staff Member

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    Karlsruhe is that popular because it is part of a larger park and has a ridicilously low entrance price.... TP Berlin is hardly visited by tourists, which make up a large percentage of the visitors of the Berlin Zoo, which is located much more centrally...
     
  17. snowleopard

    snowleopard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    @Zygodactyl: Weltvogelpark Walsrode is a highly acclaimed zoo that is beloved by many European ZooChatters but the park only attracts around 250,000 visitors per year...obviously because there are only birds and therefore zero megafauna for the German masses.

    @nikola: Here is the USA attendance thread that I initiated back in 2009 and I've now seen all 35 of the zoos on the list and almost 300 zoos just in the United States. Looking over the numbers it seems that many zoos have seen their attendance figures go up by 200,000 annual visitors.

    Attendance At American Zoos

    Belgium Discussion:

    Antwerp Zoo has been mentioned by a couple of people and interestingly enough in Sheridan's first book (published in 2011) Antwerp Zoo is listed as having 1.335 million visitors; in Sheridan's second book (published in 2013) the zoo is listed as having 1.1 million visitors; in his third book (published in 2016) Antwerp is down to 890,000 visitors. Are Sheridan's numbers accurate (which he mainly receives from all the individual zoos) or has Antwerp gradually been losing steady numbers of annual visitors?

    The nation of Belgium has two other great zoos and Planckendael's attendance figures have gone from 850,000 to 825,000 to 950,000 during that period...now surpassing Antwerp in popularity and no doubt benefitting from its new elephant complex. Pairi Daiza has gone from an attendance number of 735,000 in 2010; 840,000 in 2011; 1 million in 2012; 1.3 million in 2013; 1.46 million in 2014; 1.86 million in 2015. An explosion of success!

    Could the case be made that the incredible success of Pairi Daiza, and the increasing popularity of Planckendael, has combined to see Antwerp steadily decline in annual visitors? It seems reasonable that the historic city zoo, even though under common ownership with Planckendael, is struggling to maintain visitors as Belgian citizens drift to neighbouring zoos. I know a number of people that rate Pairi Daiza as one of the top 15 zoos on the continent and it seems that there is no question that it is the country's #1 zoo in the eyes of many and that is reflected in the fact that TWICE as many visitors go to Pairi Daiza in comparison to Antwerp. The times they are a changin'...:)
     
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  18. lintworm

    lintworm Moderator Staff Member

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    Antwerp had very high visitor numbers when an elephant was born in 2009 and declined somewhat afterwards, but that has stabilized and visitor numbers are increasing again. The official number from the past few years show however a steady increase, though by far not as spectacular as Pairi Daiza:

    2009: 1.335.000
    2010: +/- 1.000.000
    2011: 980.500
    2012: 838.000
    2013: 840.000
    2014: 900 000
    2015: 945.000

    I am really wondering where Sheridan got his numbers from, as they do not correspond with other numbers and given the fact that some of his numbers (Basel) are way of, I really doubt he got most directly from zoos....

    The Belgian zoos are an interesting case as there were originally only 2 big players (Planckendaell and Antwerpen), but since Pairi Daiza has grown from a very interesting bird park into a very interesting more mainstream park, both other main zoos have also started investing heavily in new enclosures. Obviously PD has increasingly high visitors numbers (though for 2016 they are about 1.5 million according to Belgian press, so slightly lower than the first Panda year), but PD is drawing new visitors as Planckendael and Antwerpen are also seeing higher visitor numbers after their investments.
     
  19. antonmuster

    antonmuster Well-Known Member

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    afaik Basel only started reporting actual numbers in 2015 and i suspect the numbers in the book are from 2014. For both Basel and Zurich (which introduced actual visitor number counts a few years earlier) reported visitor numbers almost dropped to half after the change to counting actual entries rather than using the German estimation formula based on ticket sales (day- and annual-tickets).
     
  20. lintworm

    lintworm Moderator Staff Member

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    You are most probably right indeed, I somehow assumed this would be the 2015 data... Going to the 2014 Basel annual report there are just over 2 million visitors listed (using the german formula), of which 71.000 are unpaid entries, so excluding these visits, that would give the number from Sheridans book...