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Explore Schonbrunn Zoo, the Oldest Zoo in the World | Exotic Species, Exquisite Flora and More

Distinguished as the oldest zoo in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Schönbrunn Zoo is a haven for nature lovers. T...

Also Known As

Vienna Zoo

Founded On

1752

Founded By

Emperor Franz I

Quick information

ADDRESS

Maxingstraße 13b, 1130 Wien, Austria

RECOMMENDED DURATION

3 hours

Timings

9am–6:30pm

VISITORS PER YEAR

2000000

NUMBER OF ENTRANCES

3

EXPECTED WAIT TIME - SKIP THE LINE

0-30 mins (Peak), 0-30 mins (Off Peak)

UNESCO YEAR

1996

Did you know?

The oldest zoo in operation in the world, Schönbrunn Zoo, was the brainchild of Emperor Franz I, Maria Theresa’s husband. What started as a menagerie adjacent to the summer residence of the Habsburgs, flourished into a full-fledged zoo with royal patronage. The zoo’s royal origins are evident from the grand architecture that flawlessly blends with its modern amenities.

While almost 700 animal species call the zoo their home, the Giant Pandas are extremely popular. The zoo is distinguished as one of the 27 zoos in the world to be entrusted with the endangered Giant Pandas and it continues to be vital in their conservation.

World War I and II adversely affected the zoo. Only 400 animals survived World War I. A polar bear was shot dead by a soldier, who stated the reason upon arrest that “he (bear) gets 10 kilograms of meat every day while I have to go hungry.” Aerial bombing during World War II left thousands of animals dead.




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Schonbrunn Palace Zoo is the oldest in the world and has been named Europe’s best zoo for six years. Home to more than 700 species, this zoo offers a unique experience to the visitors where they can explore wildlife diversity with varied tours, get a chance to watch the animals during their feeding time and discover new facts in the process. 

Read on to know everything you need to know about visiting the Schonbrunn Palace Zoo and making your Vienna expedition a memorable and eventful one.

About Schonbrunn Palace Zoo

Schonbrunn Palace Zoo

Schonbrunn Palace Zoo, popularly called the Vienna Zoo, spreads across 42 acres in the beautiful city of Vienna, Austria. It was established in 1752 and welcomes more than 2 million visitors annually. There are more than 700 species present here along with 8000 specimens. The Schonbrunn Zoo is highly acclaimed for giant pandas as it is one of the 27 zoos in the world to have them. 

One of the first things a traveler spots is the central pavilion after entering the premises. A backdrop of lush, rolling meadows and historic trees wraps the elaborate Baroque pavilion. Throughout the journey, one can admire the ancient architecture and appreciate the medley of wild animals such as Koalas, giraffes and elephants. The zoo has specially curated activities and experiences such as the Panorama Train and Rainforest House to give visitors an immersive experience. 

Why Visit Schonbrunn Palace Zoo?

Schonbrunn Palace Zoo
  • Rich history: The Schonbrunn Palace Zoo is one of the oldest in the world and is also a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Viceroy of Egypt gave Schönbrunn Zoo its first giraffe as a gift in 1828, and it became so well-liked that it not only attracted a record number of visitors but also affected fashion and taste, inspiring everything from clothing to haircuts among locals. 
  • A true wildlife experience: The zoo is not limited to just viewing the exquisite flora and fauna present but offers a holistic experience to the visitors. One can enjoy the tropical thunderstorm at the Rainforest House or appreciate the specimens from South Africa in the Desert experience house. 
  • Enjoy a hearty meal in the zoo: There are dining options available within the campus to pamper your taste buds after an eventful day. You can experience Viennese food in the majestic and central Emperor's Pavilion or sample Tyrolean specialities at the Tiroler Garten Tavern. The zoo also features several relaxed cafés, a beer garden, and an ice cream shop near the Neptune Fountain. 

A Brief History of the Schonbrunn Palace Zoo

Francis Stephen of Lorraine was the man behind the creation of Schönbrunn Zoo. He had hired Jean Nicolas Jadot de Ville-Issey to create a menagerie in the Schönbrunn park at the summer home of the Habsburg-Lorraine in 1745. The stunning 18th-century Imperial Menagerie structures from the time it was built blend perfectly with contemporary zoo design. 

Wolf and bear were the first carnivores to arrive at Schönbrunn Zoo in 1781, while the first elephant arrived there in 1770. In 1800, a second pair of Asian elephants and the first polar bears, large cats, hyenas, and kangaroos all made their way to Vienna.

More than a thousand animals perished as a result of aerial bombing strikes on the zoo during the final stages of World War II, which also damaged and destroyed many of the animal cages. But the zoo made a comeback from these challenging times and now is flourishing with some of the most exotic animals on earth. 

What to See at the Schonbrunn Palace Zoo?

Schonbrunn Palace Zoo

Witness over 700 species of animals

Schonbrunn Zoo is home to more than 700 species of animals and is a paradise for wildlife lovers. Embark on this scintillating exploration where you can immerse yourself in the diversity this planet has to offer by witnessing everything from Pandas to Koalas. One can spot various endangered animals such as Siberian tigers, orangutans, and African elephants as well.

Schonbrunn Palace Zoo

Embark on the Nature Experience Trail

This is a must-visit when you are at the zoo. The trail leads you through Schönbrunn Palace's verdant grounds, and past ponds filled with trout and pike. A trip through the trees at a height of ten meters will give you a memorable view. You must stay on the lookout for woodpeckers. Additionally, remember the terrariums, which are home to salamanders, cross-adders, and even some of Austria's most deadly snakes!

Schonbrunn Palace Zoo

Enjoy the Rainforest House

Opened during the 250th anniversary of the Zoo, the Rainforest House gives you an immersive experience in a big glass house with dense jungle vibes and storm clouds looming overhead. You can explore numerous animals and birds such as dark tiger pythons and Asian fairy bluebirds. There’s also a bat cave to explore for individuals who like to take up daunting challenges.

Schonbrunn Palace Zoo

Hop on the Panorama Train

For a relaxed and wonderful sightseeing experience, hop on the Panorama Train which will take you through Schönbrunn's gardens and up to Gloriette Hill. This little train is a fantastic way to go across the enormous estate and observe everything from the comfort of your seat. You can soak in everything the zoo has to offer on this ride which includes a mere nine stops.

Schonbrunn Palace Zoo

Visit the Desert Experience House 

Emperor Franz Joseph, I commissioned the construction of this fascinating botanical "hot house" to maintain his collection of plants and specimens from Australia and South Africa. This desert greenhouse is separated into many regions encompassing Madagascar and deserts in the Old and New Worlds. It boasts a fin de siecle art nouveau style of architecture and provides an authentic desert experience. 

How to Visit the Schonbrunn Palace Zoo?

Schonbrunn Palace Zoo is a must-visit on your itinerary when planning a trip to Vienna. You can book your tickets to the zoo online with Headout and avoid the hassle of extreme rush and long queues. There are family block tickets and combined tickets such as the Winter Pass available as well where you can visit multiple destinations and save some bucks. 

There are three ways to get into the zoo: 

  • The main entrance of the zoo is near the U4 underground station called Hietzing. The Hietzinger Tor leads to the Schönbrunn Palace Gardens, which can then be accessed by simply walking between the Palm House and the Desert House.
  • The second entrance, Tirolerhof, is located close to the parking lot on the Seckendorff-Gudent-Weg. It is close to the Gloriette in Schönbrunn Palace Gardens.  
  • The final entrance, Neptun, is located in the Palace Gardens on the flank of the Palace structure near the Neptune Fountain.

Frequently Asked Questions About Schonbrunn Palace Zoo

Q. Can I visit the Schonbrunn Palace Zoo?

A. Yes, the Schonbrunn Palace Zoo is open to the public. 

Q. Why is the Schonbrunn Palace Zoo famous?

A. The Schonbrunn Palace Zoo is the oldest in the world and houses more than 700 species which makes it famous. It is also one of the 27 zoos in the world to have giant pandas.

Q. Why should I visit the Schonbrunn Palace Zoo?

A. You should visit the Schonbrunn Palace Zoo because it is the oldest zoo in the world and offers delightful experiences to explore diverse wildlife.

Q. Do I need a separate ticket to visit the Schonbrunn Palace Zoo?

A. Yes, you will need a ticket to visit the Schonbrunn Palace Zoo. You can either opt for a combined pass which covers other attractions such as the Palace or purchase the zoo tickets separately.

Q. How long do I need to explore the Schonbrunn Palace Zoo?

A. If you want to explore the Schonbrunn Zoo to the fullest, you will have to spend about four to six hours.

Q. Is it worth visiting the Schonbrunn Palace Zoo?

A. Yes, the Schonbrunn Palace Zoo is worth a visit for its diverse wildlife, unique experiences, and quality time with friends and family.

Q. Where can I see the most animals in the Schonbrunn Palace Zoo?

A. It is unlikely that you will spot every animal throughout your trip to Schonbrunn Palace Zoo. The optimum time is in the morning, as several species are early risers and far more energetic in the mornings. Remember that many animals inhabit both indoor and outdoor spaces that are connected, so be careful to check both areas if you don't immediately notice an animal.

Q. Can I feed animals inside the Schonbrunn Palace Zoo?

A. Visitors are not permitted to feed the animals at the Schonbrunn Zoo as their meals are specially curated depending on their needs.

Q. What are the Schonbrunn Palace Zoo timings?

A. Schonbrunn Palace Zoo opens at 9.30 AM throughout the year. However, the closing time of the zoo varies between 4.30 PM and 6.30 PM depending on the season. The ticket counter closes thirty minutes before the closing of the zoo.