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The five best zoos in the Netherlands

The five best zoos in the Netherlands

The five best zoos in the Netherlands

The Netherlands might not be a country renowned for its wildlife, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty to enjoy! While everyone might be familiar with Artis, the oldest zoo in the Netherlands, check out one of the other amazing zoos across the country which find different ways for people to experience the wonders of the animal kingdom.

What are the best zoos in the Netherlands?

Not sure where to start? Here are five Dutch zoos that are definitely worth a visit.

Diergaarde Blijdorp 

Blijdorplaan 8, 3041 JG Rotterdam

This zoo in Rotterdam celebrated its 150th birthday in 2007 and is one of the oldest zoos in the Netherlands, boasting well over 180 species of animals. The zoo has won several awards and was been named the most beautiful zoo in the Benelux for three consecutive years by independent website ZooSite. 

Not only will a trip to Blijdorp include feature sights of all the classics - lions and tigers and bears, oh my! - but the zoo is also home to a gorgeous botanical garden and a magical butterfly garden. And if underwater creatures are more your vibe, there’s also an Oceanium which was opened in 2001 and houses sharks, penguins, turtles, and sea lions. 

Source: Wiki/Gert-Jan de Jong

Apenheul

 J.C. Wilslaan 21, 7313 HK Apeldoorn

This is a fun one! Apenheul is a zoo specialising in apes and monkeys, and many of the furry inhabitants are left to roam around freely. So, you never can be sure what they’re going to do next. The primate park is home to more than 30 different species, including bonobo, gorilla, and orangutan. 

Having opened in 1971, it was the first zoo in the world where monkeys could walk around freely between visitors. But don’t worry, some of the bigger, more dangerous species are still separated from visitors, so it’s perfectly safe. 

Burgers’ Zoo

Antoon van Hooffplein 1, 6816 SH Arnhem

Officially called the Royal Burgers’ Zoo, this animal park definitely lives up to its noble title. Founded in 1913 by a Mr Johan Burgers, the zoo welcomes around 1,5 million visitors every year. A very popular attraction!

Burgers’ Zoo is split into eight separate themes, featuring areas such as Burgers Safari, Burgers’ Bush (a 1,5-hectare tropical rainforest), and Burgers’ Desert (an indoor desert!). And if you’re making the trip with little ones, there are also an indoor- and an adventureland playground for them to enjoy - that is, if they’re not too worn out after seeing all the animals.

Want a fun fact about this zoo? One of Burgers’ elephant residents in the 1960s, Kwimba, enjoyed stealing the handbags of lady visitors and swallowing them whole!

Beekse Bergen Safari Park

Beekse Bergen 1, 5081 NJ Hilvarenbeek

Located near Tilburg, Beekse Bergen is the largest wildlife zoo in the Benelux, and is home to a whopping 1.250 animals across 150 species! 

This zoo is a little different to most in the Netherlands, as it is set up as a safari park, so animals aren’t stuck in small enclosures. Instead, visitors can drive through the park in their own cars or in one of the zoos safari buses with a park ranger, and see the animals in a more natural environment. There are also boat tours and walking tours on offer, so there’s definitely something for everyone to enjoy. 

The park is renowned for its bird show, and also offers the option to book an overnight stay if you really want to make the most of your visit and watch the animals from the balcony of your safari lodge.

Aquazoo

De Groene Ster 2, 8926 XE Leeuwarden

And last but most certainly not least, another funky themed zoo! Aquazoo focuses on - as the name suggests - incredible water mammals. Expect to see polar bears, penguins and crocodiles-a-plenty on any trip down to this park in Friesland. 

Aquazoo first opened its doors in 2003, and so is the newest zoo on this list. But, in January of this year, it was selected as one of the top three destinations in Friesland for a great day out. Make the most of your trip and watch one of the many animal shows on offer, or even enjoy a seal safari. Fun for the whole family!

Enjoy a wild day with the family

These zoos and parks offer a taste of what the natural world has to offer, so why not make the most of the summer weather and enjoy a day out with family or friends to see these wild creatures in action, and learn more about them!

Victoria Séveno

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Victoria Séveno

Victoria grew up in Amsterdam, before moving to the UK to study English and Related Literature at the University of York and completing her NCTJ course at the Press Association...

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Stevie Robinson 16:49 | 19 July 2020

fact-check - Aquazoo Friesland is open longer than only 5 years.

VictoriaSeveno2 09:02 | 20 July 2020

Very, very true - oops! Thank you so much for pointing this out Stevie, I will correct it immediately. Sorry about that!

Stevie Robinson 13:15 | 20 July 2020

no problem, its definitely worth a visit though!