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Europe's Top 100 Zoos and Aquariums?

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

  1. CGSwans

    CGSwans Well-Known Member

    12 Feb 2009
    I've highlighted the four of these eight that I visited in 2017. I agree with you on Bratislava, but I wonder on what basis you chose to highlight the other three. Helsinki lacks many of the standard features of a zoo, such as an African savannah, great apes or elephants, and its tropical rainforest house is pretty lackluster. But it's nevertheless one that I would dearly love to return to, because it has a unique setting on an island in Helsinki's harbour. Attica Zoo isn't *beautiful* but it has a great collection and a high overall exhibit standard. Zagreb was one of the surprises of the trip for me, with one of the best collections of reptiles on the continent. I can't see on what basis you would argue against inclusion of any of them other than conventional wisdom being that they are not 'zoo nations'.

    edit: note that I wrote this without having gone back to page one, where I see you've included Helsinki and Attica in your first draft. You had it right the first time, I think. ;)
    Last edited: 14 Jan 2020
    snowleopard likes this.
  2. CGSwans

    CGSwans Well-Known Member

    12 Feb 2009
    So I've been having a think about this, with the 56 zoos that I visited in 2017 obviously a good starting point for me. I'm going to divide them up into five categories - the first three of which I would put in any top 100, a fourth made up of marginal cases and the fifth that I am confident would not feature.

    First, there's a group of zoos that I would both a) love to visit again and b) are objectively of a very high standard. These are zoos that I think should be considered zoo nerd destinations. I'll put the following 23 in that group:
    Austria - Vienna
    Belgium - Antwerp
    Czechia - Plzen, Prague
    Denmark - The Blue Planet
    France - Beauval
    Germany - Berlin Tierpark, Berlin Zoo, Cologne, Frankfurt, Leipzig, Munich, Nuremberg, Walsrode
    Netherlands - Apenheul, Burgers, Rotterdam
    Poland - Wroclaw
    Portugal - Lisbon Oceanarium
    Spain - Oceanografic
    Switzerland - Basel, Zurich
    United Kingdom - Chester

    The second group of 13 zoos either didn't quite resonate with me, or are a cut or two below that elite group but are still ones I feel confident would fit into any top 100 for the continent. I mostly *do* want to revisit these one day, but they're not really priorities and are likely to only be revisited if I'm ever in the area for other reasons.
    Belgium - Planckendael
    Denmark - Copenhagen
    Germany - Duisburg, Hamburg, Hanover, Stuttgart
    Greece - Attica
    Hungary - Budapest
    Italy - Genoa Aquarium
    Netherlands - Amsterdam
    Russia - Moskvarium
    United Kingdom - Edinburgh, London

    Then there's a much smaller list of three zoos that I really enjoyed and feel confident should be in any visitor's top 100 target zoos to visit, even if they are not objectively at the same standard as those in the previous two categories. Importantly, these three zoos would be above virtually all those in the second category as priorities for me to revisit on a future European trip.
    Croatia - Zagreb
    Finland - Helsinki
    France - Jardin des Plantes

    The following nine are zoos that I think are marginal cases. All of them *could* be in the top 100, though some (Barcelona) are clearly a lot closer than others (Krakow). Whether they make the cut really depends on what I would make of other zoos that I haven't and probably won't visit: I'm not in a position to compare Krefeld with Halle, for instance, and chances are I never will. None of these are particular priorities for revisiting, although several are in cities I do want to return to anyway.
    France - Paris Vincennes
    Germany - Krefeld
    Italy - Rome
    Poland - Krakow
    Portugal - Lisbon Zoo
    Russia - Moscow
    Slovenia - Ljubljana
    Spain - Barcelona, Bioparc Valencia

    Finally, the fifth category is made up of eight zoos that I am quite confident do not belong in the top 100. Some of them are objectively bad (hello Leningrad) and others are okay, but not worthy of such a list on their own terms for reasons such as size:
    Austria - Haus des Meeres
    Bulgaria - Sofia
    Croatia - Dubrovnik Aquarium
    Portugal - Vasco de Gama Aquarium
    Romania - Bucharest
    Russia - Leningrad
    Slovakia - Bratislava
    Spain - Madrid

    So I have somewhere between 39 and 48 zoos that I've visited that I believe would be in Europe's top 100.

    My next point of reference is zoos that I haven't visited but that I actively *want* to visit, which I think is a good proxy for me as likely top 100 contenders:
    Austria - Innsbruck, Salzburg
    Belgium - Pairi Daiza
    Channel Islands - Jersey
    Czechia - Dvur Kralove, Ostrava, Zlin
    Denmark - Odense, Randers
    France - Doue-la-Fontaine, La Fleche, Mulhouse, Nausicaa, Parc des Felins, Vallee des Singes
    Germany - Dortmund, Dresden, Gelsenkirchen, Magdeburg, Munster, Wuppertal
    Ireland - Dublin
    Netherlands - Avifauna, Rhenen
    Poland - Opole, Poznan, Warsaw
    Spain - Cabarceno, Faunia, Loro Parque
    Sweden - Kolmarden, Scandinavian Wildlife Park, Skansen
    Switzerland - Bern
    United Kingdom - Bristol, Cotswold, Highland WP, Paignton, Port Lympne, Whipsnade, Yorkshire

    Combining that list with categories 1-4 above, my list is at 87. I suspect most of the rest would end up coming from the UK, Netherlands, Germany and Czechia.
    Last edited: 15 Jan 2020
  3. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

    16 May 2010
    @CGSwans Just out of curiosity, thought I'd work out how many of your nominations I have been to:







    Of those you cite which I have yet to visit, I have vague-but-solidifying plans for 6 of them.
  4. ThylacineAlive

    ThylacineAlive Well-Known Member

    20 Oct 2012
    Connecticut, U.S.A.
    I have to say I really liked Poznan Nowe. There aren't really any massive memorable exhibits at the zoo but at least same time I'm struggling to think of much that was bad about it. It reminds me of Houston when I visited in 2018 to be honest, a really great zoo with great enclosures and a great collection but no showstopping exhibits. I remember Poznan as having one of the largest and best elephant exhibits I've seen in a European zoo as well.

    ShonenJake13 and FunkyGibbon like this.
  5. HungarianBison

    HungarianBison Well-Known Member

    7 Apr 2020
    My top zoos(it isn't 100)
    Leipzig, Zoo Berlin, TP Berlin, Munich, Cologne, Nuremberg, Hagenbeck's, Dresden, Frankfurt, Magdeburg, Wuppertal, Walsrode, Rostock, Augsburg, Goerlitz
    Praha, Dvúr Králove, Ostrava,Jihlava, Plzen, Zlin, Chomutov
    Poznan New, Wroclaw, Warsaw, Krakow
    Copenhagen, Odense
    GaiaZoo, Rotterdam, Artis, Arnhem, Apeldoorn, Harderwijk
    Pairi Daiza, Antwerp, Plankendale
    Beauval, Vincennes, Amneville, Jardin, Mulhouse, Parc des Felines
    Cabarceno, Faunia, Valencia, Zoo Madrid, Barcelona
    Lisbon, Lagos
    Genova, Rome, Verona
    Zurich, Basel, Bern, Goldau, Papiliorama
    Vienna, Salzburg, Herberstein, Alpenzoo
    Budapest, Sosto, Szeged
  6. HungarianBison

    HungarianBison Well-Known Member

    7 Apr 2020
    Oh, I forgot Great Britain
    Chester, Colchester, Hamerton, London, Bristol, Whipsnade, Edinborough
    Dublin, Fota