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Europe's Top 100 Zoos and Aquariums?

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

  1. Shirokuma

    Shirokuma Well-Known Member

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    I’d say Dublin is a top zoo whilst not necessarily being a top collection if that makes sense.

    It’s a lovely site to stroll around and there are some great enclosures. Definitely a very rewarding experience for the casual visitor and hard to miss anything out due to a user friendly layout. But it’s very ABC mammal heavy.
     
  2. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    Thinking further.....

    Although I have not visited any of these four - and know little about all but the last - I think that at least one or two of the "dolphin park" type collections could safely be dismissed in favour of somewhere like one of the collections cited by @lintworm below, or indeed Aquazoo Dusseldorf (one of my suggestions).

    Again, two collections I know little to nothing about :) and it is nice to know you agree with me with regards to people giving aquariums more sway than they perhaps merit!
     
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  3. amur leopard

    amur leopard Well-Known Member

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    I would replace maybe Oceanopolis with Acquario de Genova, it is a fantastic aquarium and one of the only collections in Italy I found worth visiting :)

    Amneville certainly belongs on there despite having its EAZA accreditation stripped (the zoo started a Tiger Circus-style show). Mulhouse is also a good zoo. La Palmyre and Thoiry are also very good collections. Hamerton is very interesting and probably should be on the list. Colchester is not fantastic but decent - however nothing is really special as is the case with Hamerton. Madrid and Barcelona have fantastic ABC collections for those who are interested in such things, but I got rather bored in these establishments - there weren't any species in either of them that I hadn't seen before I don't think. YWP has very good enclosures for a few of its animals largely because they have lots of space and raw materials. Lagos is not a great zoo - it now has no more pygmy hippos which were their main attraction species (they have all been shipped out to Beauval I believe). Most of the German zoos in that list are unremarkable and in essence Chester dumbed down. The only one I would consider taking a trip to would be Duisburg uniquely for Baby of course.

    Of those, if I had to choose, I would go for Amneville, Thoiry, La Palmyre, Mulhouse, Hamerton, Colchester, Faunia Madrid, Zoo Madrid, Zoo Barcelona, YWP, Duisburg, Montpellier, Ostrava, Longleat, Newquay and Santillana del Mar.

    However, there are also zoos like Bratislava which probably should be there and I think Antibes Marineland and the Dolfinarium in Harderwijk should be replaced with the Genova Aquarium and maybe Aquatis Lausanne as @lintworm suggested :)
     
  4. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    Really? You've presumably seen *dozens* of Iberian Lynx and Montseny Newts then.... ;) :p

    Although it's said to be the best Slovakia has to offer, I'm given to understand it isn't actually all that good?
     
  5. amur leopard

    amur leopard Well-Known Member

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    Oh...:eek: I forgot the lynx. I didn't get to see the newts for some reason...
    But the point still remains, it is still a collection largely dominated by ABCs.

    As for Bratislava, I understood from photos from the gallery that the enclosures aren't bad at all and their collection is quite good as well.
     
  6. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    Oh, indeed - as noted upthread I wasn't impressed with Madrid at all myself, and thought Barcelona was a little bit sad to visit.
     
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  7. sooty mangabey

    sooty mangabey Well-Known Member

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    I rather like Madrid, and would argue that it does belong in a European “Top 100”. It has been derided for being “just” an ABC collection, but the days of such comprehensive collections being commonplace are long gone. To have Giant Pandas, Koalas, Bottle-nosed Dolphins, all in one place, is quite something. The 1970s architecture is fantastic, and while some exhibits are less than optimum they have been improved markedly. The aquarium is very good. And it’s a full day zoo.

    My opinion is maybe altered by my loving Madrid as a city, and I’d certainly not argue this was the best zoo in Spain, but it is a good place...
     
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  8. sooty mangabey

    sooty mangabey Well-Known Member

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    So, to take up this challenge...

    I have visited 351 European Zoos. A large number of these can be discarded straight away, either because they're now closed down (Prague Terrarium, Windsor Safari Park...), really tiny (Zoo am Meer, Bremerhaven; Bentley Wildfowl Park), or really awful (Pecs Zoo, Genk) - with some falling into more than one of those categories.

    There are also a number of places I've not seen, which would have a good shout for inclusion in such a list - I've not been to Lisbon, to anywhere in Greece or Italy, to Berne or Gdansk, to any Baltic or Scandinavian zoos (apart from Copenhagen). In the former Soviet Union, I've only been to two zoos. In France, I've not yet made it to the Parc des Felins.

    So, from the places I have been to, here are the 73 I would definitely include:

    1. Tiergarten Schonbrunn Austria
    2. Antwerp Zoo Belgium
    3. Paira Diaza Belgium
    4. Planckendael Zoo Belgium
    5. Jersey Zoo Channel Islands
    6. Brno Zoo Czech Republic
    7. Dvur Kralove Zoo Czech Republic
    8. Jihlava Zoo Czech Republic
    9. Ostrava Zoo Czech Republic
    10. Plzen Zoo Czech Republic
    11. Prague Zoo Czech Republic
    12. Zlin Lesna Zoo Czech Republic
    13. Zoo Ohrada (Hluboka) Czech Republic
    14. Copenhagen Zoo Denmark
    15. Bristol Zoo England
    16. Chester Zoo England
    17. Cotswolds Wildlife Park England
    18. Dudley Zoo England
    19. Hamerton Zoo England
    20. London Zoo England
    21. Longleat Safari Park England
    22. Slimbridge Wildfowl Trust England
    23. Whipsnade Zoo England
    24. Amneville Zoo France
    25. Jardin des Plantes, Paris France
    26. Mulhouse Zoo France
    27. Parc de Cleres France
    28. Valle des Singes, Romagne France
    29. Zoo Beauval, St Aignan France
    30. Zoo de Vincennes, Paris France
    31. Zoo Doue la Fontaine France
    32. Allwetter Zoo, Munster Germany
    33. Augsburg Zoo Germany
    34. Berlin Tierpark Germany
    35. Berlin Zoo Germany
    36. Cologne Zoo Germany
    37. Dortmund Zoo Germany
    38. Dresden Zoo Germany
    39. Duisburg Zoo Germany
    40. Frankfurt Zoo Germany
    41. Hagenbecks Zoo, Hamburg Germany
    42. Hannover Zoo Germany
    43. Heidelberg Zoo Germany
    44. Krefeld Zoo Germany
    45. Leipzig Zoo Germany
    46. Magdeburg Zoo Germany
    47. Munich Zoo Germany
    48. NaturZoo, Rheine Germany
    49. Nuremburg Zoo Germany
    50. Rostock Zoo Germany
    51. Walsrode Vogelpark Germany
    52. Wilhelma, Stuttgart Zoo Germany
    53. Wuppertal Zoo Germany
    54. Budapest Zoo Hungary
    55. Dublin Zoo Ireland
    56. Fota Wildlife Park Ireland
    57. Apenheul, Apeldoorn Netherlands
    58. Artis Zoo, Amsterdam Netherlands
    59. Blijdorp Zoo, Rotterdam Netherlands
    60. Burgers Zoo, Arnhem Netherlands
    61. GaiaZoo, Kerkrade Netherlands
    62. Opole Zoo Poland
    63. Warsaw Zoo Poland
    64. Wroclaw Zoo Poland
    65. Moscow Zoo Russia
    66. Barcelona Zoo Spain
    67. Carbarceno Natural Park Spain
    68. Fuengirola Zoo Spain
    69. Madrid Zoo Spain
    70. Valencia Aquarium Spain
    71. Valencia Zoo Spain
    72. Basle Zoo Switzerland
    73. Zurich Zoo Switzerland

    In response to the discussion, above, about the inclusion of 'mainstream' collections that aren't of the world class quality of a Berlin, Prague or Zurich.... I think @FunkyGibbon is being a little unfair to, as an example, Heidelberg Zoo. Heidelberg is not an 'international' zoo. Apart form Nerds Like Us it's not going to attract people coming to the city specifically to see it, in the manner of a San Diego, Chester or Paira Diaza, nor does it have the quirky specialism of some other mentioned zoos, but it is, nonetheless, an excellent establishment, a really good zoo, with a number of really good exhibits, and I would eb really delighted to be able to visit it, again and again. Opole, in Poland, is another such place - nothing earth-shattering nothing exceptional, just a really good zoo that it is an absolute pleasure to visit. I'd give my right arm to have such a place - or Wuppertal or Krefeld or Brno - as a 'local' zoo.
     
  9. Luca Bronzi

    Luca Bronzi Well-Known Member

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    It's pretty difficult to do a list of the 100 best zoos in Europe (which is slightly smaller than America), also because there are a lot of mediocre/bad/terrible collections.


    Parco Natura Viva in Italy is pretty good tho.
     
    Last edited: 27 Dec 2019
  10. amur leopard

    amur leopard Well-Known Member

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    Bowmanville zoo in Canada impressively completed the accolade of falling into all of those categories a few years ago when it closed down :D
     
  11. ThylacineAlive

    ThylacineAlive Well-Known Member

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    Having visited both collections within a span of a few weeks back in 2018 I'm struggling to think of much of any cross-over species between the two collections :confused:

    As for Madrid, I find the Iberian section to be mostly pretty great (and definitely filled with several oddities) but after not I can't say much of the zoo impressed me. Their flight show area was pretty cool (and also filled with various rare zoo species :p) and it was neat to see dolphins in a zoo (a first for me at the time) but many exhibits aren't the zoo I found to be downright awful. Several of the pinniped exhibits, the baboon enclosure, the horribly overcrowded Barbary Sheep enclosure... The big cat and bear enclosures I found to be ok for what they were, but nothing stellar either. The African area, particularly the savanna, was good, though. In general I'd call Faunia a better zoo and more worthy of inclusion on a top 100 list than Madrid.

    ~Thylo
     
  12. Dassie rat

    Dassie rat Well-Known Member

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    Many people have been obsessed with the missing lynx
     
  13. Tim Brown

    Tim Brown Well-Known Member

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    Ive been to all the zoos on Sooty`s list bar Valle des Singes...and only Fota and Ohrada genuinely surprise me as contenders.Off the top of my head personally i would add Bern,Parco Natura Viva, Sosto,Chomutov,Odense,Belfast, Attica,Loro Parque....there will be others if i gave it a good think . Aquariums?...Genoa,Brest,Nausicaa,Stralsund perhaps .Then there is the nature of any book..it would be bound to have a personal element - historical significance too - thats the reason we included Central Park in "America`s Top 100" given that it is arguably the U.S.A.`s first zoo...and for same the reason i would leave Cleres and Dudley on the list,and think hard about Rome and Avifauna too.
    Crocodile zoos... no,not for me im afraid(Protivin would be a candidate for ugliest facility) and there are much better all-round reptile zoos.
    Things change too - what was great 10 years ago,might not be that good now -for a book its important to be relatively up-to-date. I went to Aalborg Zoo in 1971 ,and ive no doubt its pretty good these days but i wouldnt dare consider it until ive been again.
    Finally,and rather off-topic..Amur Leopard`s assessment of Bowmanville Zoo in Canda being both tiny and really awful...it was neither of those things when i was there a couple of summers ago.True, it was in the process of closing down,but ive seen much,much,worse over the years - in fact i was surprised how decent it was given all i`d heard.
     
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  14. amur leopard

    amur leopard Well-Known Member

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    And I went there in 2016 and it was a horrible, fetid place. I understand it was much worse forty years ago when they gave the children caramels to feed the animals.
     
  15. Brum

    Brum Well-Known Member

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    Since I've had some time spare today I decided to give my top 100, but I still haven't got to the magic milestone yet. Some of these are definitely not amongst "the best" but would probably feature on a zoo trip due to proximity to other collections or prime places to stay. Examples of those collections are probably Dublin, the two Paris collections, London, Edinburgh, and probably both Madrid collections as well. Also note that I've included specialist collections where I deemed them appropriate as well.

    UK
    Bristol Zoo
    Cotswold Wildlife Park
    Chester Zoo
    Colchester Zoo
    The Deep
    Edinburgh Zoo
    Highland Wildlife Park
    London Zoo
    Whipsnade
    Living Coasts
    Twycross Zoo (Shocker, but I was suitably impressed by recent developments)

    Ireland
    Dublin

    The Netherlands
    Artis
    Rotterdam Zoo
    Burger's
    Ouwehands
    Apenheul
    GaiaZoo
    Delfinarium Harderwijk

    Belgium
    Antwerp Zoo
    Plankendael
    Pairi Daiza

    Spain
    Cabarceno
    Bioparc Valencia
    Valencia Oceanografic
    Barcelona Zoo
    Madrid Zoo
    Faunia Madrid
    Loro Parque

    Portugal
    Lisbon Zoo
    Oceanario de Lisbon
    Vasca Del Gama

    Denmark
    Den Bla Planet

    Copenhagen Zoo

    Jersey
    Jersey Zoo

    Greece
    Attica Zoo

    Italy
    Parco Natura Viva
    Bioparco Di Roma
    Aquarium Of Genoa

    Austria
    Haus Des Meers

    Tiergarten Schonbrunn
    Alpenzoo Innsbruck
    Salzburg

    Hungary
    Budapest
    Sosti

    Czechia
    Prague Zoo
    Plzen Zoo
    Dvur Kralove
    Zlin Zoo
    Ostrava

    Poland
    Wroclaw Zoo
    Warsaw Zoo
    Poznan Zoo Nowe

    Switzerland
    Tierpark Berne
    Basle Zoo
    Zurich Zoo

    France
    Oceanapolis
    Marineland Antibes
    Nausicca

    La Vallee De Singes
    Paris Menagerie
    Zoo De Vincennes
    Doue La Fontaine
    Beauval Zoo

    European Russia
    Moscvarium

    Moscow Zoo

    Estonia
    Tallinn Zoo

    Finland
    Helsinki

    Sweden
    Boras Djurpark
    Kolmarden
    Norden's Ark

    Germany
    Aquazoo Dusseldorf

    Berlin Zoo
    Berlin Tierpark
    Leipzig Zoo
    Madgeburg Zoo
    Tierpark Hellabrun
    Nuremberg Zoo
    Wilhelma Zoo Stuttgart
    Hanover Zoo
    Tierpark Hagenbeck
    Walsrode
    Cologne Zoo
    Duisburg Zoo (but probably only until Baby dies)
    Wuppertal Zoo
    Frankfurt Zoo
    Zoom Gelsenkirchen

    By my reckoning that should be close to ninety collections.
     
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  16. amur leopard

    amur leopard Well-Known Member

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    Yes, you have 13 more spaces. In them I would probably include more French collections (La Palmyre, Amneville, Thoiry etc..)
     
  17. Brum

    Brum Well-Known Member

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    I thought about including CERZA from France, Fota from Ireland, Hamerton and Paignton from the UK, and Dortmund, Dresden and Heidelberg from Germany but wanted to make sure I had enough space for what I considered to be the essentials. Bratislava nearly got included because it's the only zoo of note in Slovakia but it just wasn't good enough, and I couldn't think of any Norwegian collections that definitely should be on there either...
     
  18. Tim Brown

    Tim Brown Well-Known Member

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    Basically there`s only one zoo as such in Norway i think..I dont think a book on the top 100 can take a nation-by -nation geographical bias. For instance,i would be slightly dubious about including Attica even though i suggested it initially almost because its Greece`s only major zoo,and i thought Bratislava to be very dull three years ago - there are lots of places better than that particular facility ...
     
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  19. lintworm

    lintworm Well-Known Member

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    Bojnice used to be the better of the two main Slovakian zoos, but the zoo doesn't seem to be improving in recent years and focus mostly on collecting species. It has a picturesque location next to a castle and the hoofstock area is high quality though.
     
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  20. Tim Brown

    Tim Brown Well-Known Member

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    Finally.. and we all have a different yardstick,granted but Bowmanville ..well,amur leopard, its as if we went to different zoos. For "fetid" read "smelly" and it certainly wasnt that - or tiny for that matter,perhaps it had been tidied up with closure looming.Personally i would go for the old Knaresborough Zoo to fit that category..with a place in Qatar near Al Wabra i cant remember the name of, winning the category of "world `s worst zoo".And,back to topic..no-one`s mentioned Karsruhe in Germany - for sure better than some on either Sooty`s or Brum`s lists? Marineland Antibes? not for me, although i had a great day there,as i did along the coast at La Barben and Montpellier both of which could qualify(Monaco`s Aquarium too..unbeatable for Mediterranean fish).