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Our Second Dutch Outing

Discussion in 'Netherlands' started by Javan Rhino, 17 Apr 2016.

  1. Javan Rhino

    Javan Rhino Well-Known Member

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    If you’ve followed my previous thread ‘Our First Dutch Outing,’ you may be aware that we will be making a return to the Netherlands at the start of June this year, just days over 12 months later [we actually flew back to Liverpool John Lennon Airport on the 3rd of June 2015 and will be flying back to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport on the 4th June 2016].

    Towards the end of October last year, it was announced at my work that there would be redundancies made as a Conservative government had made the decision in their ‘Summer Budget’ that all social housing providers had to reduce their rents by 1% each year for the next four years, leaving us with a funding gap of approximately £4 million. Some on here will know that this became a worrying time for me as I wasn’t in a position where I could afford to lose my job, and my worry grew when our team were taken into an office and told that we had to lose one full time post from the team, and that one of the customer service offices that I worked in was to close. However, by Christmas time the applications for voluntary redundancy were all in and my job was safe. We decided then that as soon as I got paid towards the end of January we would be booking a holiday.

    We knew we wanted to return to somewhere we had already been to for this year’s holiday, and for a while we debated between re-visiting Cologne or Amsterdam, with the former being the front-runner. However, when it came time to book the flights several factors made us go with Amsterdam, with us deciding the time wasn’t right for us to re-visit Cologne. So, we booked our flights to leave on 4th June 2016 and return on 11th June 2016, and we booked our hotel [the same hotel as last year, located on Damrak – it is a basic hotel but it is a good price and only five minute walk over to Amsterdam Centraal].

    Then came the planning stages of what to visit and on what days, both for zoological collections and for other sights and attractions. We knew straight away that we wanted to strike a bit of a balance between revisiting some places we were already familiar with and visiting places we hadn’t been to before. Certainly from a zoological collections point of view, there were some easy decisions to make: Apenheul and Harderwijk were out [very nice collections, but little if anything changed since last year], and VogelPark Avifauna was in. Then Natura Artis Magistra was a given considering we’re staying in Amsterdam, and a return visit to Burgers’ Zoo got onto the list as we didn’t see the ringtail last year [we did debate we might not see it this year either, but it is a zoo that is worth visiting anyway]. Following that, we had some harder choices to make. A return to DierenPark Amersfoort or to Diergaarde Blijdorp? Tempting, but then we’d be doing too few new collections. The new Wildlands Adventure Zoo, Emmen? Again very tempting, but it’s a bit outside of the radius I’d be comfortable with abroad at the moment, and it is a collection I would like to visit in a few years’ time once it has had the opportunity to develop. Ouwehands DierenPark? Ok, so the tarsiers and spotted cuscus are still off show if Zootierliste is up-to-date, but still it sounds like a nice place and I have heard good thinks about it: that one is in. I also happened upon Vogelcommando’s pictures of Stichting Schildpaddencentrum during the planning stages, and discovered this may be doable in a day with VogelPark Avifauna, so that one is in if time on the day permits. I’ve also discovered in recent days that there is little if anything on the forum about Artisklas in Haarlem, so I would like to visit this place as it should only take a couple of hours and I can fill in some blanks on here.

    I had decided on Landgoed Hoenderdaell for this trip, but just today I have started to debate between this and De Paay. Both seem to have a similar journey time, but De Paay appears to have a couple more rarities [for example, the African civets and the grison species]. It could also be where temptation would take over and we would end up re-visiting Amersfoort or Blijdorp as they are both nice zoos and both have easier journeys, but I think I would still prefer to visit somewhere different.

    As for the non-zoological aspects, we are hoping to visit the NEMO Science Museum, the Van Gogh Museum, Bloemenmarkt, the Cheese Museum and the Anne Frank House. We are also hoping to go on one of the Countryside and Windmills tours that operate from Amsterdam. All of these are things we would have liked to have done last year but ran out of time.

    I am hoping to do a trip report this time, and I’m sure that saying this now will mean if I don’t I will have several Zoochatters poking me with a stick until it is done. Obviously, with this being a trip to Amsterdam – and with this being a family friendly forum – there will be certain gaps in my trip report on the nightlife sections where it wouldn’t be proper to discuss them here, for example certain museums, shows etc. ;) So, without further delay, please see below my provisional itinerary:

    Friday 3rd June: Finish work and travel to Liverpool John Lennon Airport, staying in a nearby Premier Inn so that we can get to the airport the next morning.
    Saturday 4th June: Providing we have no delays, we should be able to get into Amsterdam fairly early and drop our cases off at the hotel. As soon as we’ve done this, we’ll be heading to Artisklas, the Cheese Museum and the Anne Frank House.
    Sunday 5th June: Burgers’ Zoo
    Monday 6th June: Ouwehands DierenPark
    Tuesday 7th June: VogelPark Avifauna and Stichting Schildpaddencentrum
    Wednesday 8th June: Countryside and Windmills tour, Bloemenmarkt and the Van Gogh Museum
    Thursday 9th June: NEMO Science Museum, Micropia and Natura Artis Magistra
    Friday 10th June: ‘The Mystery Box’ [Landgoed Hoenderdaell, De Paay, Amersfoort or Blijdorp]
    Saturday 11th June: Flight back to Liverpool

    I would like to take this opportunity in the coming weeks before the trip to get people’s views on the various aspects of my itinerary. What should I look out for at the various zoological collections that I may otherwise miss? What are the best routes around, especially for the places I haven’t yet been too but also for the places I have? Are there any issues with transport or opening hours that may mean we need to tweak around the days a bit? Have people been to any of the non-zoological places that can give an insight on what to expect? What would be the best outcome of the ‘Mystery Box’ – I would say Blijdorp is a no-brainer, but if I am strict in saying I want to pick one of the places that is new for me is De Paay a better option that Landgoed Hoenderdaell? I can imagine the grison to be elusive – is this the case? Any tips and advice would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    I am given to understand that the Grison and Civet at De Paay are off-display at present.
     
  3. Javan Rhino

    Javan Rhino Well-Known Member

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    Thanks TLD, if that is still the case when we go I may just opt for an easier travel day, with it being the last full day of the holiday it would likely make the most sense depending on our energy levels :)
     
  4. KevinVar

    KevinVar Well-Known Member

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    I know they all have been on-show but I'm uncertain of the current status of the grisons and civet at De Paay. However, personally I would choose De Paay, as well as Blijdorp and Amersfoort, over Hoenderdaell if you want to visit a zoo that day. Amersfoort's new expansion won't be finished by then but I suppose you haven't seen the expansion from previous year either? Blijdorp probably also changed quite a bit since your last visit, but it's up to you!

    I'm afraid I wont be able to join on any zoo trips because I'll be on your side of the Channel during that time. :p
     
  5. vogelcommando

    vogelcommando Well-Known Member

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    Howmuch time are you willing to travel to go to a zoo because on two hours travel from Amsterdam there is yet another - with ZooChatters quite unknown - superb zoo which is surtainly worth a visit, : Safaripark Beekse Bergen. If you want to know more about this place, take a look in the Gallery. If times allow it you may even pay a visit to the nearby Oliemeulen ( take also a look at that Gallery ).
    If you want to visit this or those collection(s) I'll take a day off from work to "guide" you through :).
     
  6. lintworm

    lintworm Moderator Staff Member

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    Even if they are offshow, the staff might be happy to show them, as they did when I visited.

    That said, de Paay really is a bit of a ramshackle backyard zoo, the animal collection is very nice though, but the speed with which new species are brought in and old ones disappear I find a bit worrying... The enclosures are all also quite ramshackle, but mostly not bad. The place has quite a charm of it's own, but if you spend more than 3 hours here, I would be surprised. I would second Vogelcommando and urge to visits Beekse Bergen instead.

    Artisklas is very small but nicely done, you could see the whole place within 15 minutes easily, but the owner is very nice and it is great to talk with the staff.


    I personally would never opt for such an organised "countryside and windmill tour", I am not from the west of NL, but sure people here could give you a better advice on where to go than where all the tourists are heading towards....
     
  7. Shorts

    Shorts Well-Known Member

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    I'd second all of the above. The place is atypical compared to most Dutch zoos I've visited. Imagine something that looks like the older/worst bits of Hamerton or Welsh Mountain Zoo -and it was considerably worse than that when I visited (2012):p.

    Basically it boils down to considering whether using up a whole day (travel & all) to visit a place like this to get a couple of "ticks" is preferable to (probably) revisiting a larger, well done zoo with a more extensive collection of species.
     
  8. Javan Rhino

    Javan Rhino Well-Known Member

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    Thanks everybody for the replies so far.

    @KevinVar: We visited Amersfoort at the end of May last year, can't recall the development being open back then? However, we did rush around the zoo and missed a few bits. One reason we are considering this one is that it would be nice to have a more relaxed visit.

    @Vogelcommando: Thank you for the suggestions. I would like to visit Beekse Bergen at some point, but I think that will be on another occasion. 2 hours+ is just a touch out, in fact the journey times to De Paay are what is putting us off most about there, and that is nearly 30 minutes less. As our energy levels will be vastly depleted by this point, we may just opt for a trip to Blijdorp.

    @Lintworm: Thank you for your thoughts on De Paay, it sounds a pleasant enough place and to be honest if we are doing a longer journey we would be looking to be doing a smaller collection. With regards to the tour, this is something AgileGibbon has found and would like to do. I have put a link in for anybody interested in having a look https://www.tours-tickets.com/en/holland-tours/countryside-windmills-tour/. It sounds like a nice enough tour, and can imagine getting more from this than if we did it all ourselves - even if we do have to put up with the tourists :p

    @Shorts: As above, I think you've made a valid point that a revisit to somewhere like Blijdorp would be a better way to end the holiday than a smaller place. I think all in all this may be a case of seeing how we feel on the day, but Blijdorp is seeming most likely.
     
  9. jwer

    jwer Well-Known Member

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    We visited De Paay during Easter and both the grisons were on display in seperate enclosures, as well as the African civet.

    It really is a bit of a ramshackle backyard of a place though :)
     
  10. KevinVar

    KevinVar Well-Known Member

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  11. Mr. Zootycoon

    Mr. Zootycoon Well-Known Member

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    Some advice for seeing the ring-tailed cat (I suppose you mean this
    species with "ringtail" and not the ring-tailed lemur!)

    I see both ring-tailed cat on show nearly every visit.
    Usually I wait around the enclosure and often when it is quiet it will come
    out after some time, usually below the fifteen minutes.
    I know the zoo is large and you'll probably need all time you get,
    but because the ring-tailed cat is both extremely rare and entertaining to watch,
    it is definately worth the wait.
     
  12. ShonenJake13

    ShonenJake13 Well-Known Member

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    I agree with Mr. Zootycoon. I have seen both on a regular basis, though the one in with the skunks more than the one in the former kit fox enclosure.

    As for the choices you have for your 'mystery box', I would agree with Blijdorp. I mean you can never go wrong with Amersfoort, but I haven't been in years so I haven't kept up with it. Blijdorp is always good when I visit it, but it's really up to which one piques your interest more.

    As for what to look out for in Avifauna, take your time with the kiwis in the nocturnal house. They take forever to come out, but when you do see them it's 100% worth it.
    Also stop to check out the Guianan cocks-of-the-rock (one of only three zoos in Europe with them!), and obviously the white-crowned, Sulawesi tarictic and Visayan tarictic hornbills!

    And in Burgers' go and see the chimps and gorillas! They are amazing, both groups. The Rimba is also always my favourite section. And there's an aardvark baby that is apparently very active in the mornings!

    And in Ouwehands there's the gorillas, polar bears, hornbills, white lions, African elephants, brown bear and wolf forest and the roloway monkeys!
     
  13. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    I went on one of those tours of the Dutch countryside when I visited Amsterdam, and quite enjoyed it. Interesting commentary (although so many of the passengers just slept through it), and we went to a tulip farm, up inside a windmill, lunched at and explored a small village (including its pet shop!), drove along a dyke, and spent a while at a historical museum where we learnt about cheese and clogs. I'm sure these things are not that interesting for locals, but it was very interesting to us, and informative. We found discount vouchers in tourist brochures.

    We spent a week in Amsterdam, but had very little money so mostly just explored the city on foot. It is ideally suited for this, with lots to see (as I'm sure you know): canals, markets, parks, gardens and architecture. There were huge queues for the Anne Frank house, so we gave up. Zoo-wise we only visited Artis, so I can't offer any suggestions there.
     
  14. Mr. Zootycoon

    Mr. Zootycoon Well-Known Member

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    Indeed, for us 'locals' those things are not that interesting.

    For Burgers' zoo, in contradiction to what ShonenJake13 said, I think the apes are
    not the best attractions (for zoo enthousiaste). I would recommend spend
    a lot of time in the Bush, searching for the rare species of bird (darter, piha),
    watching the aardvarks or otters, or enjoy the extaordinary variety of tropical plants.

    Burgers' does have one of the, or maybe THE, best botanical collection of the
    Dutch zoos. Especially in the Bush, Desert and Mangrove.
     
  15. Javan Rhino

    Javan Rhino Well-Known Member

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    Again, thanks everybody so far for the replies.

    @Jwer - I will bear in mind that they were on show recently. As stated, we will likely end up doing Blijdorp but it will very much depend on how we feel on the day.

    @MrZooTycoon - Yep, it is the Ringtail cat I'm talking about. We spent a considerable amount of time last year at both enclosures, may just have been bad luck. As I've seen Arnhem before, then we can afford to take a little more time and hopefully it will be quiet.

    @ShonenJake13 - We certainly intend to try our best to see the kiwi, but we've had rotten luck so far with the species. We've have seen Sulawesi tarictic hornbills [once] and Visayan tarictic hornbills [many times, as Chester is our local zoo]. I think White-crowned hornbill will be a new species for us, and the Guianan cock-of-the-rock certainly will be so these will be amongst our priorities. As for the apes at Arnhem, we intend to see them at some point in the day but they aren't a priority to us based on our interests.

    @zooboy28 - The tour you did sounds very similar to the one that we plan on doing. Will have to keep an eye out to see if there are any local pet shops :). We intended to do the Anne Frank House last year but the queue was massive [as expected], and it is really a passing interest and not something we could justify taking a few hours out to do.
     
  16. jwer

    jwer Well-Known Member

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    According to Burgers' Zoo twitter page, they recently received 2.1 new ring-tailed cacomistles from the USA. So your chances of seeing one might just have gotten 2,5 times better :)
     
  17. Mr. Zootycoon

    Mr. Zootycoon Well-Known Member

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    Great news, another chance for this species to establish in Europe.
    But I do expect most of them to be still behind the scenes.
    So if I'm right Burgers' now ownes 5.1 ringtails. Let's hope some
    females will be born any time soon.
     
  18. DDcorvus

    DDcorvus Well-Known Member

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    They have 4.1 at the moment.
     
  19. Mr. Zootycoon

    Mr. Zootycoon Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the information, I wasn't aware that one of the three males
    they had some time ago has passed away.
     
  20. Javan Rhino

    Javan Rhino Well-Known Member

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    With set off fast approaching, I thought I'd just update the thread in a bid for any last minute tips and advice. Very much looking forward to the holiday, especially with how hectic work has been recently!