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Discussion in 'Germany' started by HOMIN96, 6 Dec 2018.

  1. HOMIN96

    HOMIN96 Well-Known Member

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    Okay, okay, I'm going to stop right there because I am terrible at making jokes or executing punchlines.

    What is this all about then? Well, at the end of November I visited some German and Dutch zoos for work-related reasons. Even before I came back, I already knew that I have to make a trip like that again as soon as possible. I and my friends, who'll be coming with me have already thought about some possible destinations in different countries and now our sight is set on Germany with its enormous number of zoos. Thread about 50-must-see zoos by @lintworm is a great starting point but I thought it would be nice to obtain as much info/tips/advice as possible. Also, I intend to make a report from this journey so I decided to make my own thread.

    All of us going are working as a zookeeper in some Czech zoo on a part-time/volunteering basis and we want to make it a sort of "each of their own" kind of trip so basically, we want to visit some zoos that have interesting collections of animals we are working with.

    So which German zoos should a primate-keeper, bird-keeper and small-mammals/hoofstock keeper not miss? We are aiming to 5-7 days long trip at the end of January/beginning of February so some zoos that aren't severely inhibited by winter weather would be nice as well. Also, we'll be going most probably by car so distance is not an issue.

    Thank's in advance.
     
  2. lintworm

    lintworm Moderator Staff Member

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    It all depends :p.

    The easiest option would be to go to Berlin and see the two zoos there, which have the biggest bird collection, outside of Walsrode (which is closed in winter) and the biggest hoofstock collection. The zoo has quite some houses, but the Tierpark hasn't and with both carnivore houses under reconstruction you can best wait another year to go there, as the nocturnal house in the Zoo is also closed now....

    I think three zoos that should be included are Frankfurt, Wilhelma and Cologne. Frankfurt has Europe's best ape house, a Grzimek house full of small mammals and an acceptable bird house. Wilhelma has an interesting collection of primates and birds as well, with interesting enclosure designs. There are also quite some hoofstock species around, including your Babirusa ;). Cologne has a fantastic bird collection, but part of it may be behind the scenes in winter. Additionally they have a large primate collection full of rarities and a good selection of hoofed animals.

    Additionally the combination of Magdeburg + Schoenebeck in one day would give you a lot of primates and small mammals in a lovely setting, if the weather is not too bad...

    Leipzig is another good zoo to visit in winter, it has a good allround collection, mostly in pretty looking enclosures, and plenty of houses.

    You could also opt for a combination of Dresden + Goerlitz. Dresden is a lovely city zoo with some nice mountain ungulates, including Golden takin, a good primate house and possibly the best bird section for European and boreal birds in Europe. Goerlitz is a small zoo which specializes mostly in East Asian animals and has a very high quality of theming.

    Apart from that I would suggest Nurnberg, but in winter that can be a pretty bad choice if it is not sunny.... If there is snow it is a very pretty zoo to walk around and their Yellow-throated marten are fantastic any time of the year.... They don't have many birds, small mammals or primates, but their hoofstock collection is solid.

    A bit further afield (but doable from Cologne) would be Antwerp, which is perfect for a winter visit and has a very good bird, primate and small mammal collection, mostly in historic houses.
     
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  3. HOMIN96

    HOMIN96 Well-Known Member

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    Your reply is everything I wanted and more :) Some of the combinations you mentioned are the same as I already thought about, I'm glad that someone else considers them doable too (although some of them are really obvious :D )

    The zoos I visited few weeks ago were Cologne, Neuwied, Zie Zoo (Völkel) and Arnhem (and service yard of Apenheul but you can't see any animals from there so it doesn't really count :D ) so I would like to try something new, even though I'm sure my friends would absolutely love Cologne, as much as I did.

    Wilhelma tempts me as well, because of the Babirusa as you rightly assumed. Especially considering that we are switching males with them and by the time our trip, our male (the one on the picture) will be in Wilhelma, so it would be nice to have a look at him how had he settled.

    Thank you for that Antwerp tip, I probably wouldn't thought about that, but it seems like a nice option.
     
  4. sooty mangabey

    sooty mangabey Well-Known Member

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    I’d second the Antwerp suggestion. It is indeed very do-able from NRW, it is a great zoo at any time of the year, and it is, perhaps most crucially, a zoo which has a great deal to offer at the time of year that you will be travelling, when many other great zoos might not be at their finest: a superb reptile house, very good aquarium and bird house, a decent nocturnal area, a rather old-fashioned but nonetheless impressive monkey house, the Egyptian temple.... and so on....

    Moving further east, I’d also second the Berlin-Leipzig-others suggestions. I guess a lot depends on when you will be back, as well. If this is a quick visit, and you will be able to return again later in the year, I’d suggest that you should focus on places with good indoor areas (Leipzig an obvious winner here, along with Berlin, but Frankfurt is obviously strong in this regard as well, and Stuttgart none-too-shabby). If this is a trip-of-the-year, though, and that will be it for 2019, i might suggest waiting and going later in the year, when the weather will be better and things will look nicer - even the most wonderful zoo is going to look a little bit grey in Northern Europe in January!
     
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  5. Jurek7

    Jurek7 Well-Known Member

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    If you consider something like Magdeburg or Dresden, then maybe go further east and visit Wroclaw, Prague, Dvur or Plzen?
     
  6. HOMIN96

    HOMIN96 Well-Known Member

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    We want to have a full day for each zoo or if it will be doable maybe two zoos a day but I don't want to stretch it to some crazy measures, where you just run through the zoo, take a quick glance at the biggest hits and leave. It almost certainly won't be our only trip that year, so it's more of a "Let's start the new year on a high." We choose this time also because of our school schedule. If all goes well, we should have all of our exams completed in early January so we'll have plenty of free time before the start of a new semester.

    We certainly won't be visiting Plzen, as we are working there during summer, so... :D
    There is no point in visiting Dvur during winter, We already tried that this year.
    Prague might be a fun way to either start or end the trip, I'll keep that in mind.
    Wroclaw is on the list of possibilities along with other Polish zoos, but that would be only if we choose the "only Polish zoos option" which came up on our minds too.
     
  7. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    An alternative combination - and one which I found very successful in September - is Dresden and Chemnitz; the latter collection is a little out-of-date and middle of the road in most regards, but does have the best amphibian house of any European zoo I have visited.
     
  8. HOMIN96

    HOMIN96 Well-Known Member

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    Looking at the Chemnitz's zoo map I don't think it would be a good fit for January...but Halle actually looks alright as well.
     
  9. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    I visited Halle in September too - it is definitely worth a visit :)
     
  10. HOMIN96

    HOMIN96 Well-Known Member

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    So a small update: The destinations chosen are Leipzig, Dresden and Magdeburg and the date is set on first week in February...excitement level is starting to rise :D

    Are there any "hidden gems" we should look out for?
     
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  11. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    Well, the Chinese Pangolins at Leipzig go without saying :p but otherwise:

    Leipzig

    Ansell's Mole-rat (Fukomys anselli) - in the Giraffe House
    Eastern Common Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) - two individuals within the larger group
    Sierra Leone green pigeon (Treron calvus sharpei) - freeflying in Gondwanaland
    Grizzled giant squirrel (Ratufa macroura) - in the Bird House
    Siberian musk deer (Moschus moschiferus) - just beyond Pongoland, on the African side.
    Vietnamese small flying fox (Pteropus hypomelanus condorensis) - in the Bird House

    Dresden

    Black-eared wheatear (Oenanthe hispanica) - in the row of European native bird aviaries (a lot of nice stuff in here)
    Kordofan giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis antiquorum) - Giraffe House
    Pin-tailed sandgrouse (Pterocles alchata) - native bird aviaries
    Pygmy white-toothed shrew (Suncus etruscus) - underground nocturnal exhibits labelled The Underground Zoo on map.
    Steller's jay (Cyanocitta stelleri) - offshow when i went, but visible in some aviaries behind Terrarium.
    Ortolan bunting (Emberiza hortulana) - native bird aviaries

    Magdeburg

    Blue-cheeked bee-eater (Merops persicus) - in Giraffe House
    Double-spurred Francolin (Pternistis bicalcaratus) - in African complex
    Red flanked variegated squirrel (Sciurus variegatoides atrirufus) - cage near tamarin exhibits
    Bobak marmot (Marmota bobak) - exhibit near snow leopard
    Marbled Polecat (Vormela peregusna) - exhibit near snow leopard
     
  12. lintworm

    lintworm Moderator Staff Member

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    Be sure to be at the Pangolin feeding, they can be tricky to see otherwise, I don't know what the current feeding time is, but somebody else will now.

    Also try to sneak in visits to Goerlitz (combined with Dresden) and Schoenebeck (combined with Magdeburg) if you can, both Dresden and Magdeburg are not full day zoos...
     
  13. HOMIN96

    HOMIN96 Well-Known Member

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    I already looked up the time, we certainly want to see them :)


    I'm thinking about it, the thing is I'm not entirely convinced if we'll be able to see something in Schoenebeck, given the time of our visit. Görlitz is a bit better from this point of view, we'll see. Also, don't underestimate the amount of time me and my friends are able to spend in zoo :D I'm quite sure that we are able to make even the smallest zoo an all-day trip...
     
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  14. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    Some of the more unusual species - the lowland viscacha and the siberian flying squirrel, for instance - are more likely to be active at dusk; we certainly had to wait until the early evening to spot them when @ThylacineAlive , @ShonenJake13 and myself visited in September.

    The biggest oddity of all - the mountain viscacha - is unmissable in any case, given it lacks outdoor access and is located in a glass-fronted tank :p

    So I reckon it's worth a visit even given the time of year.
     
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  15. ThylacineAlive

    ThylacineAlive Well-Known Member

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    @TeaLovingDave the two Eastern Chimps are not mixed in the main group. When you exit the back of Pongoland heading towards the musk-deer area, there is a smaller chimp enclosure with 5(?) animals in it. Two of these are Eastern.

    @HOMIN96 Most of the oddities at Schoenebeck should be visible regardless of time of year. Make sure to pay attention to the farm area!

    ~Thylo
     
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  16. HOMIN96

    HOMIN96 Well-Known Member

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    Do they have there any interesting breeds of domestic animals? We'll see...

    Anyways, preparations are going well, accommodation is booked, only details remain to be solved. So the only big "complication" so far is the elephant calf birth in Leipzig which means that the Elephant house is closed so we might not see the pangolins :(
     
  17. ThylacineAlive

    ThylacineAlive Well-Known Member

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    They have quite a few wild animals kept in the farm area, including odd wild-type guineapigs, dormice, wild-type rabbits, and some native birds.

    Maybe try reaching out to the zoo ahead of time? See if they'll allow you to get a sneak peak of the pangolins.

    ~Thylo
     
  18. HOMIN96

    HOMIN96 Well-Known Member

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    I will probably wait for a few days how the situation unfolds, apparently there are some problems with the calf if I understood the latest Leipzig social media post corectly.
     
  19. FunkyGibbon

    FunkyGibbon Moderator Staff Member

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    Possibly they might open the basement but not the house itself?
     
  20. HOMIN96

    HOMIN96 Well-Known Member

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    So they are in separate part of the house? Good to know, that actually might be the case. I will message the zoo few days before the visit, just to clarify it.