“Mom, I’m bored!” is the complaint you get from children the world over–even during vacations. But in Vienna there is no time for yawning. “Action, Action, Action!” is the name of the game for even the youngest visitors. The Austrian capital boasts of vast swathes of green space where children can run amok and experience the joys of life outdoors. Another novel experience is the Schonbrunn Zoo, where children can get a glimpse of the wild in the heart of Vienna, through exciting interactive attractions that educate just as much as they entertain!
March and October 09 a.m.-5.30 p.m. daily, April to September 09 a.m.-6:30 p.m. daily.
The best place to go for an excursion into the wonderful world of animals is the Schönbrunn Zoo, home to over 700 species of animals, from anteaters to zebras. This is also one of a handful of zoos worldwide lucky enough to be entrusted with giant pandas.
Feeding time at the sea lion enclosure is always popular, thanks only in part to the seals having all the fun as they splash about and tear through the water chasing the fish. It is also the people watching also get into the swing of things. Another attraction is the South America Park, where you can observe the anteaters as they use their long tongues to extract their liquefied feed from artificial termite mounds. The anteaters live here in an animal commune with other breeds such as the South American tapir and capybara.
The Rainforest House has a bona fide Tarzan-in-the-jungle experience – for the eyes, nose and ears – in store for visitors. The Polarium is a special treat: here children can press their noses up against the glass as they watch the elegant penguins glide by. In the ORANG.erie a group of orangutans love nothing more than larking about on the ropes.
Photo courtesy: Tourism Austria
A state-of-the-art winter garden was added to the original, heritage-listed building (which dates back to 1828) for the animals to roam around in. This new arrival will ensure that the savanna-dwellers still have plenty of room to maneuver when the temperatures plummet outdoors. It also features a three-meter-high gallery, which allows visitors to observe these fascinating creatures at eye level. The newly extended outdoor space features various expanses of grass, sandy areas where the giraffes can rest, and various feeding zones. The new Giraffe Park has no end of fun facts about the animals and features games and quizzes for younger visitors to enjoy – the conservationists of tomorrow.
The Treetop Trail offers breathtaking views of Schönbrunn Palace, the zoo and the outskirts of the city as well as local birdlife. The neighboring woodland is home to a fire salamander climbing wall and a giant spider’s web to crawl through. In the Elephant Park, visitors watch these good-natured giants enjoy a bath or shower. Another special attraction is Austria’s largest coral reef in the Aquarium and Terrarium house.
In the Franz Josef Land polar bear enclosure, visitors can watch the majestic creatures dive underwater through a giant glass window. The Polar Dome contains an interactive exhibition explaining why there are only a few of the creatures left in the Arctic, and what visitors can do to protect the environment and, in turn, the bears’ natural habitat.
Besides exotic animals, there are also numerous species of rare farm animals at the zoo. Traditional and contemporary farming methods are brought to life in the stables of an original Tyrolean farmhouse.
Apart from the zoo, the Natural History Museum is a great way for kids to engage with the environment and its numerous wonder. Photo courtesy: Tourism Austria
The zoo offers a wide range of guided tours, including evening and night options as well a look behind the scenes. Children can also celebrate their birthday at the zoo, an enjoyable prospect with a special guided tour and a grand celebration to boot! And for anyone who is too tired to walk home, the twice-hourly Schönbrunn Panorama Train takes visitors back through the palace gardens all the way to the main entrance, making it a perfectly convenient family outing.
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