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Europe's Top 100 Zoos and Aquariums?

Discussion in 'Europe - General' started by amur leopard, 24 Dec 2019.

  1. ThylacineAlive

    ThylacineAlive Well-Known Member

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    Whilst I completely understand your feelings here and by no means think you're in the wrong for choosing not to visit said collections, I do have to agree that Noah's Ark isn't a half bad zoo aside from the management. Their domestics:wild animals ratio is way off imo (;)) but I remember most of their enclosures being pretty good. I also don't recall there being too much religious propaganda compared to how I know things used to be, and there were even a few really good signs that were scientifically sound. It's not a great zoo and the management shouldn't be in charge, but it's definitely not a bad zoo as far as I'm concerned.

    ~Thylo
     
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  2. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    I was VERY tempted to include Crocodiles of the World, but demurred on the basis that if I included it people would ask why I hadn't included Protivin or Eskilstrup given they have more comprehensive collections, and I omitted those because I don't know enough about them or their quality.

    At least you are being consistent :) although if one boycotts collections because of the ethics or beliefs of the owner rather than the quality of the zoo itself, it might end up being a bit of a slippery slope with regards to how many collections you eventually have to refuse to visit!

    (coughPairiDaizacough)
     
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  3. Shirokuma

    Shirokuma Well-Known Member

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    I’m fine with that. I don’t have a desperate urge to visit every collection in the world and I won’t go to one if I feel that a visit would be endorsing something I feel is wrong. With Port Lympne for example there was some very problematic wording on the safari truck commentary about how they ‘aren’t a zoo’ (I’m paraphrasing, it was a while ago) and implied that other zoos have animals behind bars in tiny cages. Regardless of the latest statements of the owner, that was enough for me to seriously consider whether I’d ever go back. Recent developments combined with those public statements led me to say no, I wouldn’t go back.
     
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  4. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    Guessing you're also boycotting Monkey World :p
     
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  5. Anniella

    Anniella Well-Known Member

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    I have never been to a European zoo, so I can't comment on what they're like in person or make a comprehensive top 100 list, but since I tend to gravitate toward unique institutions, one place I have not seen mentioned in this thread is Apenhaul, which would be one of my top ten zoos in Europe to visit if I were to visit European zoos. I just love the idea of specialist zoos like Apenheul and Parc des Felins, and from what I have seen its habitats look lovely and expansive for the most part.
     
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  6. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    Great minds, and all that......

     
  7. Anniella

    Anniella Well-Known Member

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    I made a mistake in thinking Apenheul was in Belgium for some reason (I have no idea why), but it's actually in the Netherlands, and that's why I didn't notice it in those posts! I was looking into it by country.
     
  8. sooty mangabey

    sooty mangabey Well-Known Member

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    While I don’t endorse the unscientific approach of Noah’s Ark, and I don’t share the religious views of the owners, I find the attitude towards Christianity demonstrated here to be somewhat troubling. I’m not sure that putting the boot into someone because of their religious beliefs is altogether necessary.

    In other news - any top 100 surely must have Cabarceno! An extraordinary place!
     
  9. ThylacineAlive

    ThylacineAlive Well-Known Member

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    I'm pretty sure the issue is more that they're a zoo that denounces evolution and science and historically have attempted to push a creationist view onto their visitors rather than simply "putting the boot into someone because of their religious beliefs"...

    ~Thylo
     
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  10. Shirokuma

    Shirokuma Well-Known Member

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    Education should be a key pillar of any zoo. Creationism is completely at odds with science and that alone is reason for a zoo to be deemed bad. I won’t visit, support or contribute to the funding of such an establishment.

    Although I have to say, if someone’s beliefs include religious fundamentalism, rejecting science and promoting ignorance, I will happily “put the boot into them”.
     
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  11. snowleopard

    snowleopard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Getting this thread back on track after a bizarre discussion about religion which I completely ignored...:)

    First of all, thanks very much @TeaLovingDave for putting forth a Top 100 list and I appreciate your efforts. I feel that it's always important to say that as these lists generate debate and an individual willing to share their sentiments should be applauded. Of course I have some questions for you...

    I see that the Scottish Owl Centre made your list of the Top 100 European zoos and that's easily the biggest head-scratcher of all your selections. Their website claims that they have the largest collection of owls in the world and that clearly makes it a cool place to visit...but Top 100 quality? I enjoy owls more than almost any other type of bird, but that's still an 'out-there' selection choice.

    Some omissions from your list that I'll point out:

    Nausicaa Aquarium in France - it advertises itself as Europe's largest aquarium

    Dortmund, Duisburg, Opel, ZOOM...all German zoos that you didn't include. I'm genuinely shocked that you have Hannover as I wouldn't have guessed that you were a fan.

    Dublin Zoo (Ireland) is a strange omission

    Madrid and Barcelona in Spain didn't make the cut and I'm actually okay with that as the amount of concrete in those zoos is shocking. I don't think that I'd enjoy many of the exhibits, even though those zoos are in major world cities.

    Newquay Zoo as one of Europe's very best...seriously? o_O

    I really enjoyed reading your list and obviously you've left off a whole bunch of zoos that regularly pull in enormous crowds (even a million visitors a year) like Madrid, Dublin, ZOOM, Duisburg and others. In their place you have less well-known establishments like Living Coasts, Scottish Owl Centre, Newquay, Zagreb, Chomutov, etc. That's your prerogative and I support that. Each to their own mate.

    Okay, who's next? We need to generate some more lists on this thread.
     
  12. FunkyGibbon

    FunkyGibbon Well-Known Member

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    I think the point to make here is that a Top 100 contains far more than Europe's very best. There are probably less than ten world-class zoos in Europe (think Zurich), and another dozen 'great' ones (Koln-class). Then you have a large number of very good zoos (Munich etc). Places like Heidelberg are simply 'decent' in my opinion, and yet they still might make my list just because there aren't enough fantastic zoos to force them out. The likes of the Scottish Owl Centre, specialist collections that excel in one area, are of far more interest to readers than arbitrarily choosing twenty to thirty average ABC zoos to round out a Top 100 of Europe's best.
     
  13. Shirokuma

    Shirokuma Well-Known Member

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    You're the one who brought up Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm in the first place. You might not be interested in the discussion it provoked but there is no need to be flippant and rude.
     
  14. amur leopard

    amur leopard Well-Known Member

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    I certainly agree with this. I think of it as: If you were to go to Europe in order to visit this top 100 list and you visited all of these zoos in one trip, would you want to visit Krefeld after having visited a zoo like Chester with an almost identical collection and much better exhibits for almost all?
    Speaking for myself at least I would much rather go to the Parc des Felins, or Crocodiles of the world, or the Scottish owl Centre or even Vallee des Singes, because they are all different, with varied species lists and good enclosures for the species they house. Visiting Chester and then Krefeld would be disappointing because Krefeld is essentially a less good repeat of Chester.
     
  15. snowleopard

    snowleopard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    My apologies. I looked back through this thread and it definitely was me who brought up Noah's Ark Zoo Farm and I'd forgotten that. I'd originally suggested that zoo because it seemed a very unlikely candidate for any kind of Europe's Top 100 list. I can promise you that I had no intention to be flippant or rude and I should have used a less contentious example. I actually own the book Building Noah's Ark (by Anthony Bush), but I must confess that I'm not religious in the slightest and the book has many bizarre sections. I'm willing to visit any zoo once, but I do feel that I'm more in line with @Shirokuma when it comes to Noah's Ark Zoo Farm...it seems like an odd place.
     
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  16. Penshet

    Penshet Well-Known Member

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    Let me give it a try. First the 10 aquariums, in no particular order.
    • Haus des Meeres, Vienna (Austria)
    • Den Bla Planet, Copenhagen (Denmark)
    • Océanopolis, Brest (France)
    • Nausicaa, Boulogne-sur-Mer (France)
    • Marineland, Antibes (France)
    • Dolfinarium, Harderwijk (Netherlands)
    • Oceanario, Lisbon (Portugal)
    • Living Coasts, Torquay (UK)
    • Oceanografic, Valencia (Spain)
    • The Deep, Hull (UK)
    Then 74 zoos that I think should make the cut for sure:
    Austria (2)
    • Tiergarten Schönbrunn, Vienna
    • Alpenzoo Innsbrück
    Belgium (3)
    • ZOO Antwerpen
    • ZOO Planckendael, Muizen
    • Pairi Daiza, Brugelette
    Czechia (4)
    • Prague Zoo
    • Plzen Zoo
    • Zoo and Chateau of Zlin-Lesna
    • Dvur Kralove Zoo
    Denmark (3)
    • Copenhagen Zoo
    • Randers Regnskov
    • Aalborg Zoo
    Finland (1)
    • Helsinki Zoo
    France (9)
    • Zooparc de Beauval, St. Aignan
    • Bioparc de Doué-la-Fontaine
    • Jardin Zoologique de la Citadelle de Besançon
    • CERZA, Hermival-les-Vaux
    • Zoological Reserve of the Haute-Touche, Obterre
    • Paris Zoological Park, Paris
    • Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes, Paris
    • Parc des Félins, Lumigny
    • Vallée des Singes, Belloy-en-Santerre
    Germany (15)
    • Tierpark Hagenbeck, Hamburg
    • Erlebnis-Zoo Hannover
    • Weltvogelpark Walsrode
    • Allwetterzoo Münster
    • ZOOM Erlebniswelt Gelsenkirchen
    • Zoo Wuppertal
    • Kölner Zoo
    • Zoo Frankfurt
    • Zoological Garden Karlsruhe
    • Wilhelma, Stuttgart
    • Tierpark Hellabrunn, Munich
    • Nürnberg Zoo
    • Zoo Leipzig
    • Zoo Berlin
    • Tierpark Berlin
    Greece (1)
    • Spata Zoological Park, Athens
    Hungary (1)
    • Budapest Zoo
    Ireland (1)
    • Dublin Zoo
    Netherlands (9)
    • ARTIS, Amsterdam
    • Vogelpark Avifauna, Alphen-aan-den-Rijn
    • Diergaarde Blijdorp, Rotterdam
    • Safaripark Beekse Bergen, Hilvarenbeek
    • Dierenpark Amersfoort
    • Apenheul, Apeldoorn
    • Burgers' Zoo, Arnhem
    • Ouwehands Dierenpark, Rhenen
    • GaiaZOO, Kerkrade
    Poland (3)
    • Wroclaw Zoo
    • Poznan Nowe Zoo
    • Warsaw Zoo
    Portugal (1)
    • Lisbon Zoo
    Slovakia (1)
    • Bojnice Zoo
    Spain (4)
    • Bioparc Valencia
    • Cabárceno Park, Obregón
    • Bioparc Fuengirola
    • Loro Parque, Puerto de la Cruz
    Sweden (3)
    • Boras Djurpark
    • Nordic Ark, Hunnebostrand
    • Skansen, Stockholm
    Switzerland (3)
    • Zoo Zürich
    • Zoo Basel
    • Tierpark Dählhölzli, Bern
    UK (10)
    • ZSL London
    • ZSL Whipsnade
    • Paignton Zoo
    • Bristol Zoo
    • WWT Slimbridge
    • Chester Zoo
    • Howletts Wild Animal Park, Bekesbourne
    • Highland Wildlife Park, Kincraig
    • Edinburgh Zoo
    • Jersey Zoo
    That leaves me with 16 open places...I'm not knowledgeable enough on any of these to fill them in, but here would be my nominations:
    • Zoo Ostrava
    • Parc des Oiseaux, Villars-les-Dombes
    • Montpellier Zoo
    • Zoological Park of Mulhouse
    • Zoo d'Amnéville
    • Thoiry ZooSafari
    • Zoo La Palmyre
    • Zoological Park of Plaisance du Touch
    • African Reserve of Sigéan
    • Zoo Duisburg
    • Zoo Dortmund
    • Zoo Krefeld
    • Opel Zoo, Kronberg
    • Zoo Chemnitz
    • Zoo Dresden
    • Zoo Magdeburg
    • Niendorf Bird Park, Timmendorfer Strand
    • Sosto Zoo, Nyiregyhaza, Hungary
    • Fota Wildlife Park, Foaty, Ireland
    • Lagos Zoo, Portugal
    • Faunia, Madrid
    • Zoo Madrid
    • Barcelona Zoo
    • Zoo Santillana del Mar
    • Cotswold Wildlife Park, Bekesbourne
    • Colchester Zoo
    • Twycross Zoo
    • Hamerton Zoo Park
    • Newquay Zoo
    • Longleat Safari Park, Warminster
    • Yorkshire Wildlife Park, Branton
     
  17. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    Just to quickly address a few points:

    Well, as I've noted above I think that if aquariums merit inclusion in a Top 100 list other forms of specialised collections do too - what makes a "top" zoo need not be reduced to something so vulgar as "pulls in enormous crowds", but could also be viewed as a blend of exhibit quality, historical note, species collection, unique selling points and so forth. As @FunkyGibbon noted, the choice is more or less to a) pad a list out with average-to-okay ABC collections to make up the 100 or b) throw in a few collections which are either high-quality specialists (like SOC and some of my other choices) or which hit well above their weight in terms of quality, collection and conservation efforts (like Newquay) in order to reflect the diversity of European collections.

    But as noted, I've never been to France and know too little about the collection to feel comfortable judging it - all the collections I listed unvisited are ones I chose for specific reasons, rather than to make up numbers or out of guesswork.

    Never been to Ireland, know too little about Dublin Zoo to know whether or not it merits inclusion as a top zoo.

    It's worth recalling that my list deliberately left space for collections omitted due to my lack of knowledge - Dortmund and Duisburg were both omitted because they are merely okay rather than excellent (and in the case of Duisburg have some major faults) and I felt that including them would merely comprise filling up the numbers. By comparison, I've never visited Opel or ZOOM and hence would not be able to judge them properly, although I suspect that including them would definitely comprise filling up the numbers ;)

    Your assumption with regards to Hannover is actually correct; I'm not particularly a fan of the collection at all, but it *is* a noteworthy example of what Europe can offer with regards to highly-themed collections in the American style, and therefore merits inclusion regardless of my personal dislike for the place. I was actually tempted to include Bioparc Valencia on similar grounds, and still may retrospectively do so given the fact I actually rather liked Valencia.

    Indeed; Madrid is a perfect example of a collection which I suspect people are tempted to include in a European top 100 purely on the basis of name-recognition and location in a major world city. As a zoo it varies between average-to-reasonable at the better end, and actively terrible on the worse end.

    The good parts of Barcelona are pretty good, and the zoo provides some of the best examples we have in Europe of captive breeding and in-situ conservation for native species, but a significant portion of the collection is crumbling and/or behind the times, victim of a lack of investment by an actively-hostile and anti-zoo local government. I was very tempted to include it in my list, but hedged my bets in order to allow more space for collections filling geographic gaps in my knowledge.
     
  18. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    These days, pretty hard-pushed to include it in a UK top 20 let alone a European top 100 sadly. A great pity as a decade ago I'd have confidently placed it in the UK top 5.

    I've included a few of these in my own list, and explained reasons to omit a few of the others, but some points regarding others:

    The amphibian collection - and the standards of husbandry for said - is extremely good, there is no doubt about this. However, the zoo as a whole is a somewhat crumbling, somewhat below-average place, located in an area of great economic deprivation which has never quite recovered from the days of the DDR.

    A pleasant collection, and one I liked a lot, but not a top collection by any definition. It still very much feels like the homespun private collection I believe it once was.

    Once, perhaps.... but no more. It falls under the same bracket as collections such as Krefeld, Duisburg and Dortmund - a zoo which would be included only to fill out numbers.

    One day, perhaps.... but not yet. There's a lot of potential in the place, but the dice has yet to fall on whether it will live up to the potential. I can easily see it being a top 5 collection in a decade, but equally it might falter on the road.
     
  19. Penshet

    Penshet Well-Known Member

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    Thank-you for those clarifications! I think the last ~20 zoos are quite hard to fill in, as there's so many mid-sized average-quality zoos on the continent.
     
  20. lintworm

    lintworm Well-Known Member

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    Given that aquaria are given so much sway, imo more than they are worth, I find it surprising no one has mentioned Poema del Mar on the Canary Islands, nor Aquatis Lausanne, which is Europe's largest freshwater aquarium.

    I will post my list in the coming days too for comparisons sake, but I don't think it is the most useful exercise (though it is fun) when describing Europe's zoo diversity. It won't feature in the next (?) major book on European zoos at least.
     
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