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What are the top zoos in Amsterdam?

What are the top zoos in Amsterdam?

Amsterdam is a city that offers a plethora of opportunities for wildlife exploration and experiencing the wonders of nature. With several exceptional zoos, both locals and tourists can indulge in a unique and educational experience. In this article, we will delve into the top zoos in Amsterdam, highlighting their key features and attractions.

1. Artis Royal Zoo

Artis Royal Zoo, located in the heart of Amsterdam, holds the distinction of being the oldest zoo in the Netherlands, established in 1838. This historic zoo spans across a vast area of 14 hectares and serves as a home to a diverse range of animals, birds, and plants. With an impressive collection of over 900 species, including elephants, lions, penguins, and giraffes, Artis Royal Zoo invites visitors to embark on a captivating journey.

Within the zoo, visitors can explore various themed exhibits that offer a deep dive into specific areas of interest. For instance, the Planetarium allows visitors to learn about the solar system and astronomy, providing a fascinating educational experience. Another highlight is the Micropia exhibit, which offers an intriguing insight into the world of microorganisms. Moreover, Artis Royal Zoo features beautiful gardens, a butterfly pavilion, and an aquarium, complementing its diverse range of attractions and making it a perfect destination for nature enthusiasts of all ages.

  • The Planetarium exhibit at Artis Royal Zoo provides an immersive experience where visitors can learn about the solar system, planets, and celestial bodies in a captivating manner.
  • The Micropia exhibit offers a unique opportunity to explore the world of microorganisms, showcasing their importance and impact on our lives.
  • Artis Royal Zoo’s gardens provide a serene and picturesque environment, allowing visitors to relax and connect with nature on a deeper level.

2. Natura Artis Magistra

Natura Artis Magistra, commonly known as ARTIS, stands as more than just a zoo; it is a cultural institution in itself. Situated adjacent to Artis Royal Zoo, ARTIS combines a zoo, a planetarium, a botanical garden, and a geological museum, offering visitors a multifaceted experience that explores the wonders of the natural world from various perspectives.

The zoo section of ARTIS boasts a wide variety of animals, including majestic giraffes, elegant zebras, playful orangutans, adorable meerkats, and a fascinating array of reptiles. Visitors can immerse themselves in the captivating shows and presentations about the universe and celestial bodies at the planetarium. The botanical garden showcases an extensive collection of plants, ranging from exotic and tropical species to native flora. Additionally, the geological museum exhibits an impressive assortment of fossils and minerals, providing a glimpse into the Earth’s geological history.

  • The planetarium at ARTIS offers immersive shows and presentations that transport visitors into the vastness of the universe, enhancing their understanding of celestial bodies and astronomical phenomena.
  • The botanical garden within ARTIS showcases a diverse range of plant species, allowing visitors to appreciate the beauty and complexity of nature’s creations.
  • The geological museum at ARTIS provides an educational experience, offering insight into the Earth’s history through its collection of fossils and minerals.

3. Amsterdamse Bos

Although not officially classified as a zoo, Amsterdamse Bos deserves recognition when discussing the top zoos in Amsterdam. This expansive forested area, spanning over 1,000 hectares, presents a unique opportunity to observe wildlife in their natural habitat. Amsterdamse Bos is home to numerous animal species, including graceful deer, agile foxes, adorable rabbits, and a variety of bird species.

Visitors can partake in guided nature walks, rent bicycles to explore the vast expanse, or simply bask in the serene surroundings of this beautiful forest. Amsterdamse Bos also features a goat farm and an ecological playground for children, enhancing the overall experience of connecting with nature and providing educational opportunities for younger visitors.

  • Guided nature walks in Amsterdamse Bos allow visitors to learn about the flora and fauna present in the forest, offering a deeper understanding of the ecosystem.
  • The goat farm within Amsterdamse Bos offers an interactive experience for children, allowing them to interact with and learn about farm animals in a safe and controlled environment.
  • The ecological playground in Amsterdamse Bos provides a space for children to engage in nature-based play, fostering their appreciation for the environment while having fun.

4. Vondelpark

Similar to Amsterdamse Bos, Vondelpark is not primarily considered a zoo, but it presents a wonderful opportunity to encounter various animals and birds in their natural habitat. This popular urban park, located near the city center, offers a peaceful respite from the bustling city life and serves as a habitat for numerous wildlife species.

As you stroll through Vondelpark, you may come across ducks, herons, pigeons, squirrels, and even parakeets. The park’s tranquil ponds, lush greenery, and well-maintained habitats create an ideal environment for these animals, making Vondelpark an unexpected but delightful location to observe wildlife in Amsterdam.

  • Vondelpark’s tranquil ponds serve as a habitat for various bird species, attracting birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts alike.
  • The abundance of squirrels in Vondelpark provides a unique opportunity for visitors to observe these playful creatures in their natural environment.
  • The presence of parakeets in Vondelpark adds a touch of exoticism, offering a glimpse into Amsterdam’s diverse wildlife.

5. Muiderslot

Muiderslot, located just outside of Amsterdam, is a medieval castle that seamlessly combines history and wildlife. This well-preserved castle is surrounded by beautiful gardens and a moat, which serves as a natural habitat for waterfowl, including ducks, swans, and geese.

Visitors to Muiderslot can explore the castle’s rich history through guided tours and exhibitions, delving into the architectural marvels and fascinating stories that have shaped its existence. Additionally, the picturesque surroundings of the castle provide ample opportunities to observe and appreciate the various bird species that inhabit the area. Muiderslot stands as a captivating destination for those interested in both wildlife and historical architecture.

  • Guided tours at Muiderslot offer visitors a captivating journey through time, unraveling the castle’s intriguing history and architectural features.
  • The presence of waterfowl in the castle’s moat adds a touch of natural beauty, providing a serene and picturesque environment for visitors to enjoy.
  • The gardens surrounding Muiderslot offer a tranquil setting to relax and appreciate the castle’s splendor while observing the diverse bird species that call it home.

In conclusion, Amsterdam offers a diverse range of zoos and natural areas that provide enriching experiences for nature lovers. From the oldest zoo in the Netherlands, Artis Royal Zoo, to the cultural institution of ARTIS, and the natural habitats of Amsterdamse Bos and Vondelpark, there are ample opportunities to connect with wildlife in this vibrant city. Whether you’re a local or a tourist, don’t miss the chance to explore the top zoos in Amsterdam and immerse yourself in the wonders of the animal kingdom.


1. What is the oldest zoo in the Netherlands?

The oldest zoo in the Netherlands is Artis Royal Zoo, which was established in 1838.

2. What are some of the attractions at Artis Royal Zoo?

Artis Royal Zoo offers various attractions, including themed exhibits such as the Planetarium and Micropia, as well as beautiful gardens, a butterfly pavilion, and an aquarium.

3. What is unique about Natura Artis Magistra?

Natura Artis Magistra combines a zoo, a planetarium, a botanical garden, and a geological museum, allowing visitors to explore the natural world from multiple perspectives.

4. What can visitors do at Amsterdamse Bos?

Although not officially a zoo, Amsterdamse Bos provides an opportunity to observe wildlife in their natural habitat. Visitors can also participate in guided nature walks, rent bicycles, and enjoy the serene surroundings of the forest.

Anwar Abdi
Anwar Abdi
Anwar Abdi is a Canadian business executive and Digital Journalist. Anwar Abdi is the CEO of AMG Brands Network Inc. and the Current Editor-in-Chief of University Magazine. Previously He Worked as an Education contributor at HuffPost. Anwar received a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication at the University of Windsor.
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