I admit that one of the things I was most excited for this Europe trip is the Vienna Zoo (or Tiergarten). But for a good reason! The Vienna Zoo is the oldest zoo in history… that’s crazy! It was established in 1752 as the private royal menagerie, as this zoo is actually located inside the Schönbrunn Palace grounds!
The zoo has had a colorful history since its establishment. Before World War I, it was a lively zoo with 712 species and over 3500 individual animals. However, due to food shortages during WWI, the numbers quickly decreased to only 900. AND THEN, the zoo was also bombed during World War II, further reducing the animals to only 400. The zoo was restored and renovated, exotic animals procured, and now is once again thriving!
I don’t really have a cute little introduction today, or a thoughtful debate on the pros vs. cons of keeping wild animals in captivity, because the truth is: no matter what state this zoo is in… I WAS GOING!!
I was also excited because I finally have a “real” camera for the first time in my life, so I can take extra crisp, zoomed-in pictures of the animals. Well, too bad I don’t really know how to use my camera, so half the pictures are still blurry. But I still got some pretty decent shots!
So let’s just get straight to what everyone wants to see, which is the pictures! If you’re here for a review on whether the zoo is one of those zoos or not, you can
jump down to the bottom wait for Part 2.
Now, get ready for a picture-heavy post of animal cuteness overload!
In my opinion, the red panda is the cuter of the two pandas in their adult form. It’s small, SUPER fluffy, and so playful like a cat. If I could ever have a wild animal as a pet, I’d pick a red panda! These two were pretty active when we stopped by, hopping from tree to tree, dropping down to the ground to forage, and even coming up right up to the glass.
I took about 100 shots trying to capture the cuteness, but these were the only ones that didn’t come out too blurry.
Next: the star of the zoo, THE GIANT PANDAS
The panda parents had a baby last summer (this is their 3rd baby born in the zoo, all by natural conception too, which is very rare due to the fact that the female is only fertile 3 days a year. So those two must be really
horny happy pandas!). The baby is 1 years old this August and his name is Fu Bao, or Lucky Leopard.
We didn’t see the parents anywhere. That’s because they were both hiding out in the panda house, away from the heat, and munching on bamboo. Apparently, pandas spend 14-16 hours a day eating bamboo!
Let’s move on to the AFRICAN ANIMALS!
Squeal! How sweet is this picture?! The cheetah enclosure is quite large and really densely packed with greenery, so I was so happy to see momma AND babies snuggling in the open area close to the glass. And I was also happy to see so many zoo babies at this time of the year too!
Later on, momma cheetah was sitting alone, seemingly to be posing for the camera.
The hippos…. such funny looking creatures. So huge and flabby and clumsy.
If any enclosure needs improvement, I’d say it’s the hippos’. It didn’t look that large for the two of them, and their little concrete pool looked sad. Oh well, who am I to say.
Now, the elephants! They had a whole herd of elephants at this zoo (including a couple of babies!), and the enclosure was very large. One thing I really liked about this zoo is that there are always multiple vantage points to view the animals. For example, you can see the elephants from up above, from the eye-level, and from inside their house!
Fun fact: apparently, this zoo saw the birth of the first elephant in captivity in 1906.
The zoo also had a nice little group of giraffes. Did you know that a group of giraffes is called a tower? I didn’t either. From outside, they were pretty hard to get a picture of. But! You can walk through their indoor house and see them feeding!
Before moving on to the Arctic, let’s say hi to the bears! I don’t know if we were just super lucky or not, but all the animals were extra playful!
Okay, now let’s get to the ARCTIC ANIMALS
I was seriously impressed with the polar bears’ home. I think those two bears had the sweetest home out of any of the animals. It was HUGE with multiple dipping pools. Visitors can see them through the glass at pool level (we saw one polar bear happily doing flips in the water), or up above looking into the enclosure, where these pictures were taken, with extreme zoom.
These are Humboldt penguins (or Peruvian penguins), found in the rocky coastal Peru and Chile regions. They’re so cute!
And umm… a very authoritative looking sea lion!
Here are a few more pictures of other random animals around the zoo:
Okay, I guess that’s it!
I’m going to have to apologize for an abrupt ending, but this is where I stop for today. I thought I was going to go through the entire zoo, but there’s already too many pictures in this post. And there’s still SO much to talk about, including the Rainforest, the Insect House, and the Woods. Trust me, those will be worth coming back for, because they were some of my favorites. This post has the best/cutest pictures, but the next post will talk about the most exciting parts of the zoo.
*Update – here is Part 2!
This post is linked up with Weekend Wanderlust with Justin Plus Lauren.