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Mo's March Madness in Madrid and (Frankfurt-am-) Main

Discussion in 'Europe - General' started by Mo Hassan, 13 Feb 2024.

  1. Mo Hassan

    Mo Hassan Well-Known Member Premium Member 5+ year member

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    Hi Zoochatters!

    I’m going on a small zoo trip for just over a week in early March, to Spain and Germany. My itinerary currently looks like this:

    Saturday 2nd – Arrive in Madrid, do non-zoo things in the late afternoon/evening
    Sunday 3rd – Zoo Madrid
    Monday 4th – Faunia Madrid
    Tuesday 5th – Fly to Frankfurt, go to Tierpark Donnersberg for the afternoon
    Wednesday 6th – Zoo Frankfurt
    Thursday 7th – Train to Stuttgart, visit Naturkundemuseum and/or Schloss Rosenstein in afternoon
    Friday 8th – Wilhelma
    Saturday 9th – Day trip to Nuremberg for Tiergarten Nürnberg
    Sunday 10th - Revisit Wilhelma and/or one of the museums in Stuttgart, fly home evening

    Apart from flights in and out, and hotels in the main three cities, nothing is booked and therefore can be changed pending advice, adverse weather, or illness.

    It’s my first time visiting Spain and Stuttgart (and Nuremberg), but have visited both Frankfurt and Donnersberg once before, in 2018.

    Main target species/exhibits (in rough order of priority; according to Zootierliste)

    Zoo Madrid
    Iberian lynx
    Pyrenean ibex
    Imperial eagle
    Spanish red deer
    Spanish eagle owl
    Sumatran elephant

    Faunia Madrid
    Beech marten
    Steller sea lion
    Adélie penguin
    Hoffmann’s two-toed sloth

    Tierpark Donnersberg
    Two-spotted civet
    Philippine palm civet

    Zoo Frankfurt
    Rufous sengi
    Common hamster
    Yellow-backed duiker
    Kiwi (BTS, I know, but here’s hoping)
    Exotarium

    Wilhelma
    Quokka
    Kaka
    Corncrake
    African pygmy-falcon
    Tasmanian wombat

    Nuremberg
    Saharan striped weasel (if not virtually impossible)
    Yellow-backed duiker (if not seen at Frankfurt)
    European ground squirrel (if not in hibernation)
    Manatee house
    Desert house

    Does anyone have any tips or advice for any of these collections or targets, e.g. best time of day? Or if any are not on show or not at the collection? Does anybody know if there is a way to see any of the species kept BTS at any of these collections, with special emphasis on Frankfurt’s kiwis?

    Are any of the Madrid or Wilhelma or Nuremberg sites particularly hilly, or have any areas accessed by relatively steep slope that can be skipped if I’m lacking the stamina on a certain day? (Hilly compared to, at the extreme end, for example, Edinburgh, Belfast, Prague, Plzen etc.)

    I am aware of the generally negative opinion of Tierpark Donnersberg on here, but I have visited before and came away with a generally good opinion. Although there are only two target species, those are pretty big draws for me. That said, if I can be persuaded to drop that collection, where else could I visit in the Frankfurt area (don’t particularly want to visit Opel Zoo again)?

    Any tips for budget-friendly, local cuisine in any of the cities I’m visiting would be greatly appreciated (e.g. currywurst/tapas).

    Thanks!
     
  2. twilighter

    twilighter Well-Known Member 10+ year member

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    All the species at Madrid where visible last summer, but the Beech Marten can be a bit tricky. I would recommend late afternoon for the Iberian lynx. Don't miss the European Mink at Zoo Madrid. It's a different subspecies.

    I haven't seen the Kiwi on my visit, but everything else should be ok at Frankfurt. The Yellow-backed Duiker is easier at Frankfurt than at Nuremberg.

    Try to be at Nuremberg early on the morning. I saw the Weasel first thing at 8:30 and never again.

    All the Mammals at Wilhelma are at the new Australian house. Quokkas are outside. The Golden possums are not signed and I think they rotating with the commons , so try not to miss them. I missed the Kaka, so I am not sure about her.

    Wilhelma is definitely hilly and you can skip the farm animals at the upper end. Nuremberg require certain stamina and you could probably miss some of the huge Ungulate exhibits.

    Most of the animals that you look for at Madrid are at the lower part next to the entrance, so you can skip the upper part.
     
    Last edited: 13 Feb 2024
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  3. lintworm

    lintworm Well-Known Member 15+ year member

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    The hamsters are also behind the scenes. The yellow-backed duiker you might have a better shot depending on the weather in Nuremberg, where you can peak into the stables.

    With a whole day you'll have plenty of time to see all of Wilhelma. The kaka is tricky, it seems she is not a morning person, I saw her on every visit, but plenty of people missed here. In september early evening was the perfect kaka time

    pygmy-falcon is guaranteed in the small mammal/bird house. Corncrake are in one of the freiflugvolieren near the entrance, they are in the side-aviary on the square after passing through the Asian, Australian and African aviaries. So not in a walkthrough. Quokka will be weather dependent as you cannot view them indoors...

    European ground squirrels will still be in hibernation...

    AFAIK the two-spotted palm civet is behind the scenes. I would strongly suggest you to visit Tiergarten Heidelberg instead of the parking lot zoo... Plenty of nice species, including golden cat, Syrian brown bear, crowned sifaka, piping hornbill and more, in a low-key zoo that can easily be reached from Frankfurt.
     
  4. Perseus6

    Perseus6 Well-Known Member

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    I went to Frankfurt last year in September. I got lucky and was allowed to go behind the scenes to see the Kiwi. Granted it was on a special day where there were 2 tours. I can say that the staff at the zoo was really friendly so don't be afraid to approach them and ask questions. In the night house I got to see every species due to them giving tips about their typical hiding spots. About the European hamsters I saw them in the same trip at Opel zoo. I enjoyed Opel zoo al be it a bit of a weird zoo. I can recommend Heidelberg as Lintworm suggested. They have a nice collection and generally good enclosures.
     
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  5. Ava Miller

    Ava Miller Member

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    I've actually been to Zoo Madrid before, and it was such a blast. The Iberian lynx exhibit was definitely a highlight for me. As for Wilhelma, it's a gorgeous zoo with plenty to see. The Tasmanian wombats were adorable!

    For budget-friendly eats, in Madrid, head to Mercado de San Miguel for a variety of affordable tapas options. In Nuremberg, try Dürer Kebab for delicious and budget-friendly Turkish cuisine, or Wurstküche for authentic German sausages at reasonable prices.

    If you're looking for some local insights or maybe a guided tour, check out these folks who helped me out during my travel: https://gowithguide.com/spain/madrid They offer personalized tours in Madrid, which might give you some insider tips and make your trip even more memorable.

    As for the zoos, going early in the day is a great idea to catch the animals when they're most active. And if you're concerned about steep slopes, some areas might have accessible routes, so it's worth checking out beforehand.

    An alternative to Tierpark Donnersberg in Frankfurt is to explore the Palmengarten botanical garden for a different kind of nature experience. It offers a variety of plant species and tranquil surroundings.

    Have a fantastic trip and enjoy all the amazing animals and sights!
     
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  6. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member 10+ year member

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    As regards Zoo Madrid, I recommend you actually set off for the zoo a few hours earlier than you strictly need to, and disembark the subway at the Lago stop (rather than continuing on to the Casa de Campo stop closest to the zoo) - this will allow you the time required to walk sedately through the Casa de Campo park itself and keep your eyes peeled for the wide range of native Iberian wildlife present within, gradually winding your way closer and closer to the zoo ready for opening time :) and then, if energy allows, you could do something similar upon leaving the zoo. When I visited in late February and early March 2019, this resulted in a rather impressive haul of interesting wildlife sightings, including Iberian Magpie, Iberian Green Woodpecker, Hoopoe in the dozens and (thanks to the use of binoculars when in the northern reaches of the park, looking towards the countryside to the north) both Spanish Imperial Eagle and Griffon Vulture.

    There is an even better area for wildlife just to the north of the city and readily accessible by public transport, El Pardo, but you will likely not have quite enough time to pop across to that either on your day of arrival or the day you visit Faunia.... something to bear in mind for next time, perhaps?
     
  7. remar

    remar Well-Known Member

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    I had the luck to see the offspring last september twice at the early and mid afternoon inside the giraffe house. However at least two of the four offsprings left since then, so i have no idea if this information is still accurate right now.
     
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  8. lintworm

    lintworm Well-Known Member 15+ year member

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    With regards to eating tips:

    In Frankfurt the area around Leipziger Strasse (very close to Senckenberg & Palmengarten) is a good place for eating out, with plenty of international options. I am extremely fond of the Tibetan restaurant "Lhamo", whose pan-fried dumplings (momos) are delicious, especially in combination with their chilis in oil ;).

    In general bakeries provide a far superior breakfast compared to any hotel. In Frankfurt the Huck bakeries, a local chain, are especially good. Anything with streusel (crumble) from them is very good.

    In Nuremberg the Waldschaenke restaurant at the top of the zoo provides good old fashioned German/Bavarian food (and beer) and is one of the few serviced restaurants around. In the Wilhelma there is a small restaurant next to the Belvedere, which has good views and better views. The big restaurant near the entrance in the Wilhelma also serves proper Bratwurst/Currywurst.
     
  9. Perseus6

    Perseus6 Well-Known Member

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    I also remembered Frankfurt has a Natural history museum easily combined with the botanical garden. Al tho I have to admit I just spend the day at the natural history museum.
     
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  10. Dassie rat

    Dassie rat Well-Known Member 10+ year member

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    I recommend seeing the 'mummified Edmontosaurus'
     
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  11. Philipine eagle

    Philipine eagle Well-Known Member 15+ year member

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    I did Frankfurt-Nurnberg-Stuttgart-Donnersberg last year

    Frankfurt: both yellow-backed duiker were very visible in the morning. Once it got busier, I didn't see them again.

    Nurnberg: Saharan striped weasel are in the Giraffe building, I was lucky and saw one in a flash. Yellow-backed duiker : their enclosure is densely planted, you will need some luck.

    Catering: All restaurants in the Wilhelma were above average. Frankfurt, unless something has changed, only has a foodtruck. Even a cup of coffee was hard to find.

    That's amazing, I found it downright awful. Probably the worst place I've seen in a very very long time. I titled my report on the Belgian zoo forum 'Horror im Rockhausen'. Both civets were signed but I didn't see them.

    upload_2024-2-15_17-30-42.jpeg
    Stacked enclosures for mammals
    upload_2024-2-15_17-32-19.jpeg
    General view
     
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  12. Jakub

    Jakub Well-Known Member 15+ year member

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    As far as Tierpark Donnersberg I also visited last year. I will not judge the quality of this place but I was in touch with the owner prior to my visit and he guided me and showed all the animals, also all armadillo species. Bear in mind, the new hall is in building process, it is the place where the armadillos are currently housed.
     
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  13. maxibene

    maxibene New Member

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    Some tips for Tiergarten Nuremberg:
    If the Yellow-backed duiker isn't visible outside, bend over under the roof of their house. There are two windows into their stables. Also, there is a second outside enclosure behind the Highland cattle.
    The Saharan striped weasel are hard to see. But if you want to concentrate on one enclosure, take your time at the temporarely cages inside the giraffe house, as I found the offspring to be less shy.
    The European ground squirrels may be already outside if it's warm and the sun is shining. I've seen a recent facebook video where they peaked outside. Their enclosure is the Mediterraneum across the Manatee House.
    In the Desert House, check behind the big plant at the exit. There are often Elephant shrew and Hardun agama sitting right next to each other. Take your time in there while it is empty, often while presentation in the lagoon. Right after the presentation, many families go there and rush through the house, what almost ruins its special magic.
    Visit the Manatee House (again) at the late afternoon shortly before it closes for the full bat experience.
    The Tiergarten is in part extremly hilly with steep paths, compareble to Plzen. Check the blue arrows on the map, the more arrows the steeper.
     
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  14. Dormitator

    Dormitator Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    Faunia tips - the Steller's were kept in and out of the big show tank when I was there so if they don't happen to be around pop back later, if they still do the sea lion shows you will see them there naturally. The penguin should be near guaranteed and you should see the blob-sloth in the nocturnal house (which is superb by the way). Alas the brocket deer seems to have died which is a shame. Black-throated magpie-jay is also a treat but needed a bit of finding in the walkthrough aviary, and the swoose (swan-goose hybrid) was an unexpected treat as well on the lake.

    Madrid - none of those will cause significant issues, though I only saw the lynx first thing in the morning. Make the most of the dolphin show times to visit the more popular/restricted areas in the zoo like the elephants, pandas and aquarium, or grab a bite to eat without a queue, as this usually sucks a lot of visitors into the dolphin arena. The Bird of Prey and Exotic Bird shows were pretty good as well, particularly the latter. I thoroughly second TLD's recommendation re. the walk through Casa de Campo as well, it's a great park.

    Madrid city is generally in the 'buy a drink get a tapa' school of evening eating so I found I could get away with a very small meal/sandwich somewhere followed up by various tapas over the evening in different bars. Both sites are generally fairly flat and straightforward.
     
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  15. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member 15+ year member

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    I think a better name-combination to use would be a swoosh (i.e. SWan - gOOSe - Hybrid)... :D
     
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  16. Dormitator

    Dormitator Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    ... I'm actually appalled that this isn't the correct name of the hybrid.
     
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  17. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member 15+ year member

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    Any photos of the Swoose?
     
  18. oflory

    oflory Well-Known Member 10+ year member Premium Member

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    Agree on the lynx, saw them well in the morning but were invisible in the afternoon.
     
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  19. Dormitator

    Dormitator Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    Not the best photograph I'm afraid! Can't seem to embed the photo using my phone annoyingly, will try and fix it on the computer later.


    [​IMG]
    Swoose - ZooChat
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 23 Feb 2024
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  20. Dormitator

    Dormitator Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    Thanks Mod, really appreciate that.