ZOOM Erlebniswelt is divided into three geographically themed sections, each with its own replica environments. At the back of the park is Africa, the largest section, where footpaths and boats lead you through enclosures housing everything from lions to native Watussirind cattle. The Asian section focuses on Southeast Asian rain forests, with more than 600 types of birds, 200 types of mammals, and lots of snakes and lizards. In Alaska, you’ll see a model tundra and the animals that roam it, from brown bears to sea lions.
If you’re traveling with kids who have energy to burn, head over to the zoo’s playgrounds or ropes-course-style climbing structures—or for something different, try gold panning. And don’t miss the goats, ponies, and other barnyard animals at the petting zoo. To save time at the entrance, prebook your tickets online.
Things to Know Before You Go
ZOOM Erlebniswelt is a must for families and anyone interested in wildlife conservation.
The zoo has numerous restaurants and snack bars on-site.
The zoo is accessible to wheelchairs, which can be borrowed from the front desk. (Reservations are recommended.)
Guided tours are available with advance booking.
How to Get There
ZOOM Erlebniswelt is situated in Gelsenkirchen, about a half-hour drive from Essen or Dortmund via the A 40 highway. The zoo is well-connected to regional hubs via public transit: tram line 301 from Gelsenkirchen stops right in front of ZOOM, as does regional train line 43 from Dortmund or Herne.
When to Get There
ZOOM is open year-round and is busiest during German school holidays, particularly in June and July. Check the zoo’s website for hours. Last entry is an hour before closing. The African Queen ride is closed from the beginning of November through the middle of March.
ZOOM Erlebniswelt is big on conservation. Over the years, the zoo has successfully bred everything from chimpanzees to tortoises, and has collaborated with other centers on release programs. Get involved by signing up to sponsor a bird or mammal, at a range of price points.
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