When it comes to tourist attractions, Budapest has a few areas that are particularly potent. One of these is the surroundings of Heroes’ Square, where you can visit the Museum of Fine Arts, the Széchenyi Bath, the Capital Circus of Budapest, and the City Park, which is the largest inner-city park of Budapest, where visitors can go ice skating in the winter, and boat riding in the summer. And if that weren’t enough, the topic of this article, the Budapest Zoo & Botanical Garden is also just a stone’s throw away from Heroes’ Square. But what is it about this zoo that makes people often dub it as one of the greatest in Europe? In this article, we’ll do our best to tell you why the Budapest Zoo and Botanical Garden is the perfect family-friendly holiday attraction.
Nowadays zoos tend to have a precarious reputation. Keeping animals captive has been a debate forever: on the one hand, these wild animals are deprived of their right to live in their natural habitat; on the other, it’s the safest option for many endangered species. One thing’s for sure: when you see the runways of Budapest Zoo, you won’t be likely to worry about the living conditions of the animals, as their compounds share a staggering 18-hectare area. Every breathing creature has its own living space which fits its natural habitat and serves all its needs. Moreover, all runways are under constant revision and development, so it’s very likely you’ll see some construction works during your visit. As for the species, Budapest Zoo has one of the most diverse collection of wild animals in Europe with more than 850 species, including 131 mammal species. From the largest beasts such as polar bears, hippos, rhinos, and all kinds of big cats, to hundreds of birds and reptile species, even exotic cockroaches found their home here. With an average of 1.1 million people visiting to see our planet’s gorgeous creatures every year, the zoo is one of the most visited places in Budapest. As is the case in most zoos, the main attractions are the apes (chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans) in the Ape House and elephants in the Elephant House – which has a newcomer by the way, as Sam, the elephant baby was born in April 2021. Be sure to see him when you visit Budapest Zoo!
Most places in the zoo are called ‘houses’, and they’re named after geographic locations such as the Australian House, the Madagascar House, and the Norwegian House, or, as we mentioned before, the type of animals that live there (Giraffe House, Buffalo House, Crocodile House etc.). There is also a separate, dark house for nocturnal and venomous animals, which is not recommended for the fainthearted! The zoo also has an enormous playground for kids, so if marveling at the magnificent animals isn’t enough to tire them out, you’ll know where to take them. However, we still haven’t reached the end of our list: for those who like to learn while having fun, an artificial mountain called ‘Magic Mountain’ was built in the middle of the zoo boasting 16 exhibition halls which serve mainly educational purposes. Cavemen, dinosaurs, ocean life and cosmos exhibitions can all be found here, making this attraction a popular destination for elementary school trips.
As the name Budapest Zoo & Botanical Garden implies, the venue does not only have a collection of animals on display, but about 2000 different plant species, subspecies, and varieties as well. A crucial part of the botanical collection is the so-called dendrological one, aka the multitude of trees in the park. The trees, some of which are more than 100 years old which create a mini forest gives the zoo a truly characteristic atmosphere. And if you’re a tree enthusiast like us, you’ll have to see the Japanese garden with its iconic cherry blossom trees, too. In addition, the Palm House features numerous tropical plants such as banana trees, huge fan palms, sago palms, and many more.
The Budapest Zoo offers dozens of special activities besides seeing wild animals. There are fixed feeding times every day for many animals such as the gorillas, lions, and crocodiles, as well as playful shows with seals and elephants. If you’d like to see some nocturnal activity, visit the venue on the Night of Zoos, which is a special event at the end of every summer. The zoo also started an adoption program 20 years ago, which is basically a protégé program where in exchange for fully or partially covering the costs of a particular animal, you can become a foster parent on paper – so, no, you can’t take a kangaroo home for real, unfortunately. Sorry about the bad news. As a modern, 21st century business, Budapest Zoo is doing its best to keep up with the trends, so they developed their own mobile app which comes in handy when you’re feeling lost in the vast area or trying to figure out when the anteaters are being fed. The zoo’s newly installed interactive tablets also serve the same purpose throughout the place!
The price of an adult entry ticket is 3300 HUF (10 EUR) and a ticket for kids is 2200 HUF (6 EUR), but they have discounted options for families and groups as well.
You can take metro line 1 to Széchenyi-fürdő, or several bus and electric bus (troli) lines (such as 72 or 105) to Állatkerti körút. For a fun entrée, you can also get on a Hop-on Hop-off double-decker sightseeing bus in several locations in the city and get off at Heroes’ Square. From there, it’s only a few minutes of walk in the scenic City Park.
Visiting Budapest with the whole family? We’ve got great news – the Hungarian capital has a number of great hotels where both you and your children will have the time of your lives. We’ve collected these in an article, so click here to find out more. But, if you don’t want to spend a fortune on accommodation (which we totally understand), we’ve also taken a look at Budapest’s budget-friendly hotels.
- Is there a zoo in Budapest?
- Of course! And not just any zoo, it stretches on 18 hectares with more than 850 species in its collection. It’s best to visit in the summertime but they have special activities for the winter as well.
- What can I see in the Budapest Zoo?
- More than 850 animal species and around 2000 different plants are featured in the Budapest Zoo & Botanical Garden. From the largest beasts such as polar bears, hippos, rhinos, gorillas, and all kinds of big cats to hundreds of birds and reptile species, many animals can be seen here.
tuesday 09:00:00 – 17:00:00
wednesday 09:00:00 – 17:30:00
thursday 09:00:00 – 18:00:00
friday 09:00:00 – 18:00:00
saturday 09:00:00 – 17:30:00
sunday 09:00:00 – 19:00:00