Best zoos and animal parks in Switzerland
Looking to make plans for the summer? Why not take a trip to one of Switzerland’s many great zoos? With plenty of options to choose from - located near or in major Swiss cities - the alpine nation's wildlife attractions can practically guarantee a fun day out with family or friends.
The best zoos, safari parks and animal parks in Switzerland
With so many great zoos to choose from, it can be hard to know which one is the place for you. Thankfully, we’ve put together a shortlist of six of Switzerland’s most popular zoos, safari and animal parks!
Located in the north of Switzerland, Zoo Basel, or Zoologischer Garten Basel, is Switzerland’s oldest zoo, and is the country’s largest zoo by number of animals. The zoo welcomes more than 1,8 million visitors every year and has even been named one of the best zoos in the world according to Forbes magazine.
The zoo is located in the Swiss city of Basel, and houses many animals, including monkeys, lions, rhinos and even elephants. The zoo also features a large aquarium with a range of fish and sea creatures, as well as king penguins and enclosures for larger animals such as gorillas.
In Gossau near St. Gallen, you can find Walter Zoo, which houses around 1.100 animals and features a playground, petting zoo and camel riding experience. The zoo has more than 120 species of animals, from across all continents.
As a petting zoo, Walter Zoo gives visitors the opportunity to get up close and personal with some of its more tame residents. The site also boasts great facilities such as a zoo theatre as well as food stalls and barbecue stands.
Zoo de Servion
Zoo de Servion, or Servion Zoo, is located in the west of Switzerland, not far from Lausanne. The zoo is home to Siberian tigers, bears, lions and pumas. While not housing some of the larger animals such as giraffes or elephants, Zoo de Servion hosts plenty of smaller animals and absolutely loads of monkeys - they even have their own building!
Thanks to its warm atmosphere, this zoo is especially popular with families with young children, though all zoos across Switzerland are extremely accommodating to families and offer plenty of spaces for picnics as well as bathroom breaks. Most zoos also offer accessibility for pushchairs.
Zoo la Garenne
Also well-known for its collection of smaller animals is the Zoo la Garenne, near Gland, Canton Vaud in the western part of Switzerland. The Zoo la Garenne boasts an impressive collection of European birds of prey, as well as foxes, wolves, otters and lynx. The zoo also has beautiful gardens and aquariums, and there is a self-service restaurant on site.
The zoo was founded in 1952 by Erwin Meier, with the hope of promoting conservation and preserving the flora and fauna of Switzerland. Since then, the park has relocated, remodelled and grown in size, but still focuses on promoting conservation and remains a key player in caring for and rehabilitating animals in the wild.
For those living in central Switzerland, the Bern Animal Park is a great place to try! This large zoo is actually made up of two parts - the Dählhölzli zoo and the BärenPark, or bear park.
The zoo has more than 200 different animal species and is open 365 days a year, with seals, bears, leopards and many, many more great animals to see. Meanwhile, the BärenPark, located in the centre of Bern, gives visitors the opportunity to get up close to beautiful bears, with a panoramic lift and platform so you can see them from above!
Lastly, in the northeast of Switzerland, there is Zoo Zurich. This zoo has over 380 animal species and places a large emphasis on conservation and sustainability. The zoo has a number of different habitats that replicate where the animals would live in the wild as closely as possible, including a wetlands exhibition, a dry forest, a desert environment and a tropical rainforest.
The zoo in Zurich is the third oldest zoo in Switzerland and was opened in 1929. Due to its huge size, most people spend an entire day in the zoo, so it might be a good idea to block out your whole day to ensure you can properly enjoy the park without feeling rushed!
Image: Shutterstock.com / Oscity
Time to visit an animal park or zoo in Switzerland
With all of these great options, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to zoos in Switzerland! Now all you need to do is put together your picnic, check the weather and go!
Thumb image: Shutterstock.com / Michael Derrer Fuchs