Family Abroad

Winter Visit to Vienna’s Tiergarten Schönbrunn, The World’s Oldest Zoo

When most people think about visiting Vienna, they typically think of touring historic buildings, attending classical music concerts, and trying out traditional Austrian cuisine. Visiting a zoo is not usually in their list of things to do in the city. However, our experience at the Vienna Zoo proved to be an unexpected delight.

As we made our way to the zoo, we were not sure what to expect. However, from the moment we arrived, we were impressed with the lush and expansive grounds of the Schönbrunn Palace where the zoo is located. Tiergarten Schönbrunn is one of the oldest operating zoos in the world, dating back to 1752, when it was founded as an imperial menagerie. Plus, the fact that it was located in the same grounds as the historic Schönbrunn Palace added an additional layer of charm to the experience.

Entrance to the Vienna Zoo

Once we got inside the zoo, we were greeted by a variety of animal exhibits that were not only entertaining, but also very educational. In fact, the Vienna Zoo is home to over 700 different animal species, making it one of the largest and most diverse zoos in the world. We were amazed by the opportunity to see so many exotic animals from different parts of the world all in one place.

The zoo is not very large, but it still manages to pack in a diverse range of animals and exhibits in a relatively compact space. The core of the zoo is a central pavilion that serves as the center, and all the exhibits radiate outwards from there.

Beautiful Pavilion of Vienna Zoo

The core of the zoo is a central pavilion that serves as the center, and all the exhibits radiate outwards from there.

One good thing about its compact size was how easy it was to navigate. We never felt overwhelmed or rushed, and we were able to take our time exploring each exhibit and enjoying the animals at our own pace.


As we explored the zoo, we were impressed by the variety of animal exhibits housed within the different pavilions. Each pavilion featured a different theme, and it was clear that a lot of care and thought had gone into the design of each space. The animals themselves seemed well-cared for, with spacious and comfortable enclosures that allowed us to observe them up close.

Rhinos in the Vienna Zoo

In fact, the Vienna Zoo is dedicated to the conservation and protection of endangered species. They have many programs in place to help preserve the habitats of these animals and promote their well-being. We were impressed with the zoo’s efforts to educate the public about the importance of conservation and sustainability.


The panda exhibit was undoubtedly the highlight of our visit, and it was clear why. The Vienna Zoo is one of the few zoos in the world that has giant pandas, and we were thrilled to see them up close. The pandas were adorable, and watching them eat bamboo and play with each other was so much fun.

Giant Pandas in the Vienna Zoo

The Pandas were definitely the highlight of our visit!

Another exciting feature of the Vienna Zoo was the bee hive exhibit. The zoo had installed a vending machine that dispensed honey products that were produced by the bees at the zoo. It was amazing to see the bees at work and learn about the importance of bees in pollination and how they help to sustain plant life and biodiversity. It reminded us of our trip to Rhodes, Greece when we visited the Bee Museum. We learned so much about bees during that trip and it was amazing to see them at work again at the zoo.

FUN FACT: So much of our daily diet, from fruits and vegetables to nuts and spices, relies on bees for pollination. Without bees, our food supply would be greatly reduced, and our ecosystem would suffer.

As we walked through the zoo, we noticed that the coyotes would follow us around their exhibit. We found it amusing how curious they were about us, and we enjoyed watching them play with each other. We also loved the penguins and polar bears. The penguins were entertaining, waddling around and diving into the water, while the polar bears were majestic to watch.

Polar Bears in the Vienna Zoo

Overall, our visit to the Vienna Zoo was a memorable and enjoyable experience that we would highly recommend to others. Although visiting a zoo may not be the first thing that comes to mind when planning a trip to Vienna, we found that it was a unique and engaging way to spend a day (and very convenient since it’s where the Schönbrunn Palace is anyway), and we are so glad we gave it a chance.

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