It’s not always easy to keep both kids and adults occupied. Children can change their interests faster than the wind changes direction, but a visit to a zoo often ticks lots of boxes. With a variety of animals and environments to explore, places to play and things to eat it’s no surprise that Hellabrunn Zoo in Munich draws family crowds. Have you visited the Münchner Tierpark yet?
If you’re in the Munich area and are looking for animal related days out, don’t forget Wildpark Poing. It’s just a short S-Bahn out from the centre of Munich and is so easy to get to, it’s definitely worth considering. But if you’re more in the mood for lions and tigers and bears (oh my!), then your destination has to be Hellabrunn.
Thanks to Munich’s public transport system, the zoo is really easy to get to. Just head to the Marienplatz underground station and hop on the U3 (with a valid ticket, of course!). Travel to the ‘Thalkirchen (Tierpark)’ stop and follow the signs towards the zoo. It takes about 5 minutes to walk from the U-Bahn station to the Isar Entrance.
Hellabrunn Zoo, Munich
The first iteration of Munich Zoo Hellabrunn opened on the 1st August, 1911 and it took until 1914 for the heated elephant house (recently renovated) to be completed! Though it managed to survive World War I, the zoo closed in 1922. It took until 1928 for it to re-open… but you know what’s coming next. World War II. Though in the meantime additional buildings had opened, the new war meant Hellabrunn effectively had to start all over again in 1945. It’s only really since the 1970’s that any significant developments have been possible.
As you’re walking around the zoo, you’ll find areas that look to be on the dated side and could use a revamp – but that’s not my overall impression of the attraction. It seems clear to me this zoo is being invested in and continuous improvements are being made. Just this year a new Polar World exhibit opened along with some new residents: mountain hares, Arctic foxes and snowy owls!
As far as artificial constructs go, Hellabrunn has a fairly natural feel to it. Many of the enclosures are made with a ‘moat and wall’ barrier, rather than wire fences. That means even little ones can get great views of animals snoozing and playing. The animals are mixed together in familiar regional groups too, so you’ll find that they “live according to their geographic distribution” (i.e. the Geo-Zoo Concept).
You’ll find all the large animals you expect here, including elephants, rhino and giraffe. Though that’s not to say the smaller creatures are ignored – there’s a large, covered enclosure for a variety of ducks and birds as well as a steamily hot Jungle World. The latter is tucked away just behind the lions, complete with free roaming bats, lizards and birds. It’s a perfect place to warm up on a cold day too!
Hellabrunn contributes to several conservation projects world wide, including one of my favourite zoo creatures: the Red Panda. I understand there’s quite a lot of dialogue on the roles and responsibilities of zoos today, including a debate on their very existence. Whilst I’ll be avoiding that discussion myself in this post, you can find out more about the projects Hellabrunn is currently involved in here.
I think it’s fair to mention that as two child-free adults, we’ve visited Hellabrunn three times so far in less than 2 years. We think it makes for a good few hours out and with it being within such easy reach, it’s also a great ‘last minute decision’ place to visit. In fact, when we changed our minds on a field trip further away, this zoo is where we actually ended up instead!
Not Just Animals
Apart from animals, what can you expect to find? Well really that depends on when in the year you visit!
Everything on site is open between March and October. Theres Café Rhino with a toddler friendly playground, Café Bamboo and a bunch of kiosks – from Fish & Chips and Crepes to Ice Cream and Popcorn.
Open all year round is Café Mühle and the Park Restaurant (with free Wi-Fi!) along with two Zoo Shops. For the little ones there’s also a Petting Zoo, Adventure Playground and Kinderland – that’s a section of the park with a couple of small rides and a sweets concession, selling candyfloss and sugary things!
Whether you choose to follow the zoo map around the park or wander around without a plan, a visit to Munich’s animal park is a fun way to spend some free time in this lovely Bavarian city.
Address | Tierpark Hellabrunn, Tierparkstr. 30, 81543 Munich
Opening Times | Open Daily from 9am | Closing time varies (check here)
Admission | €15 Adults, €6 Children (Aged 4 – 14) | Please note credit cards are not accepted (details)
Find Out More | Website | Facebook
Always check with the Zoo to confirm any important details before you go!