A Trip to Prague Zoo
Since having children we’ve been to Prague Zoo many times both before and after the flood in 2002. Without doubt it’s a lot better now than it was then. Apart from the animals that died that August, I can’t help but think that the flood was actually a blessing in disguise.
As donations poured in from all over the world it gave the management many more options than they would have had normally. Most if not all of the lower area public areas including the childrens petting zoo, the play area and the smaller of the two restaurants are all new. In the animal enclosures they’ve really improved the habitat conditions and tried to get rid of as many bars and fences as possible (replacing them with see-through materials). I’m glad that they got rid of all the “plastic rocks” and replaced them with the real thing.
You can get the 112 bus from Holesovice Metro station. You can also take a riverboat from www.paroplavba.cz (during the Summer) and you can also walk to the Prague Zoo through Stromovka Park. There are three entries into the zoo. The main one is by the 112 bus stop opposite Troja Chateau. The second is around the corner by the river (this has the biggest car park) and the third is next to the “Africa House” (but only at weekends). When you pay the entry fee you get a map which has been scanned above. At present it’s only in Czech but, as they’ve put pictures on most of the places you’ll get the idea. On the right hand side of the map you see a list of times (at the top is Summer and below is Winter). These are the feeding times of various animals. You may want to look at www.slovnik.cz to identify which animals are fed when.
Let’s assume that you have arrived by car or bus and are entering the Prague zoo via the main entry. The ticket office is on the right and you scan the ticket at the turnstiles to get in. On your left is where bikes can be left free of charge and where little “trucks” can be hired for pulling children around the complex (and bags etc etc). On your left will be a set of steps which leads down to the Old restaurant (the best option for cooked food) and the new souvenir office. A path also leads down to the lower part of the Prague zoo. If you go up the hill then the first thing you’ll see is the poster boards with pictures of celebrity sponsors of animals and also many “before and after” pictures of the Prague zoo. The first major part of the zoo you then come to the the “Indonesian Jungle”. Picture is from the wall of the old restaurant which showed the level of the flood.
If you are here with kids then, as you exit the Indonesian Jungle, be prepared to wait on that corner for a while as the first thing that the kids will have seen is the slide which has cleverly made a popular feature out of a plain slope.
Whether or not you go on the slide, eventually you go up the steps (comes out opposite the polar bears) or up the slope (goes past the Orangutang enclosure) and you’ll find the location of the toilets and “take-away” food at the path junction. Normally we would turn right and walk downhill. You pass the otters on the left and “the stones” on the right before arriving at the base of the hill. Here is one of the “sit-down” Prague zoo restaurant areas just outside the “creepy-crawly” house.
Here we turn left again, go past the Antelopes and then turn right (direction “Africky Dum”). Here, during the Summer, you’ll find pony rides and further on an outdoor seating area opposite a small bar and ice-cream booth. From now on the path becomes a wooden bridge which crosses the road to the Africa House. The main attractions here are the Giraffes, Zebras and the Meerkats. We go back across the wooden bridge back on the path and go straight ahead in the direction of the Wolves (Vlci). You have two options. Going up the small steps and turning to the right takes you up to the higher part of the Prague Zoo. Turning right takes you downhill and around to the Lions and Tigers). We normally go up to the higher part of the Prague Zoo.
This route takes you up past the Reindeer and around the corner up to one of the “sit-down” restaurants opposite the childrens play area. Carrying on along the path you have a view over Prague 6 and 7. The building that looks a bit like a small “Empire State Building” is the Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza. You pass Bisons and Camels before you find the “Lanovka” (the chair lift) on your right. This takes you down to the lower part of the Prague Zoo. We normally walk down the path in the direction of the Kangaroos before you arrive back at the Polar Bears.
You go downhill past the Indonesian Jungle and back down almost to the main entry of the Prague Zoo. Turning right onto the path takes you towards the “big birds” and the mountain climbing animals. There are three paths to the left as you pass under the “chair lift”. We normally take the second path which comes out opposite the “big cats”. I’m not a great fan of keeping big cats in a Zoo. They look a desperate bunch. Not desperate in any dangerous way, just desperately bored. You can walk around this complex. Inside are also Jaguars and Leopards amongst others. Picture shows one of the giant tortoises just along from the big cat enclosure.
We now take the direction to the Gorilla enclosure. The big draws here are the Gorillas called “Moja” who was born in 2005, “Tatu” (2007) and “Kiburi” (2010). After the Gorilla enclosure the Prague Zoo gets a little complicated and you’ll need an idea of which direction to take. You are now approaching the biggest of the external “sit-down” restaurant/souvenir areas. If you turned to the right you go towards the children’s areas including the little train, the paddling pool, theatre, petting Zoo and play area. Lots to do around here if you have kids. From the restaurant you can also go straight ahead in the direction of the Elephants.
At this point we normally go in the direction of the Elephants and we’ll have a wander around the Terrarium which is in the same complex. Further down this path you pass mostly bird aviaries before coming out opposite the Penguins and next to them the Seals. These are popular places at feeding time and the Seals enclosure also has an underwater viewing window.
Here we turn right past the Penguins, the big Eagles on the left and the Flamingos on the right. This takes you towards the second entry of the Prague Zoo (the one with the biggest car park). Here we have stopped several times in the past for something to eat and drink as it is the least crowded of the “sit-down” restaurants.
You can find the excellent Prague Zoo webpage at www.zoopraha.cz.