Updated: May 14, 2019
Being two zoologists in the city that hosts the 5th best zoo in the world, it just had to be done, so 8 and a half hours and 27,000 steps later, we had done it (well, almost).
Studying Zoology at University put me in my fair share of zoo debates and I won’t delve too deep into this subject, because I could write for hours about it, but in all honesty I’m not sure where I stand on this debate. A large part of me firmly believes that they are essential, be it to inspire a youngster to study animals, encouraging people to donate to conservation charities or just to illustrate the amazing animal kingdom, I feel they are essential. But what I don’t like is the fact that certain people believe the animals are there to perform, banging on enclosures and shouting at animals trying to get them to move or ‘perform’ sickens me. There were many examples of this at Prague Zoo (I am fully aware that this is nothing to do with the zoo, just ignorant tourists).
Right, moaning over, now for the good stuff. First of all, what I will say is it is incredibly easy to get to the zoo, we were staying about a 20 minute walk from the metro station –Praha Hlavní Nádraží where we purchased a 3 day public transport ticket for a whopping £10.77. We got the metro C to Nádraží Holešovice and then the 112 bus to the zoo. The Bus stops directly outside the zoo, so don’t let the hesitancy of having to get the metro and the bus, stop you from going, it was so easy to get there.
An elegant pink flamingo
Knowing the ‘at the gate’ prices of UK zoos; Chester Zoo - £26.00, ZSL - £29.75 we expected to have a fairly large hole in our wallets to get into Prague zoo, but no, much like everything in Prague, the zoo was also pleasingly cheap – an adult ticket, which allows you to stay from 9:00am till 9:00pm was just £6.95.
Because the day’s budget wasn’t dented too much by the ticket, we decided to fork out the 17p for a map of the zoo. The first thing we noticed was the size of the zoo, IT WAS MASSIVE, so like any logical people we decided to make a plan of how we were going to attack the metropolis of Prague Zoo. This was until we saw the lemur walk through and quickly forgot about the plan and ran over like 2 children. I’ve been through a fair few lemur walk throughs in my zoo career, but none like this, there was not another soul in there (apart from the zookeeper who was on the phone and making her job of keeping the lemurs in there look easy). To my surprise, the lemurs came close, allowing me to capture some shots I hadn’t preempted as I was in Prague with one lens(shameless advertisement for my previous blog).
One extremely inquisitive ring-tailed lemur.
We hadn’t been walking around the zoo for long when we arrived at a chairlift, I don’t know what it was, perhaps our childish tendencies (there’s no perhaps about it, it was definitely our childish tendencies) that urged us to go on, so we bought our ticket, OUR 87 PENCE TICKET and we were off. Having not really considered where this chairlift took us, we expected there to be a couple of enclosures at the top that we could look around and then we would need to come back down, but oh how we were wrong. The chairlift actually turned out to be very helpful, taking us up to the top of the hill, where you walk down the other side past the vast majority of the enclosures. So, if you visit Prague zoo, want to feed your inner child and get some amazing views of Prague, the chairlift is for you!
Now for the enclosures, another debate I am aware of. I understand that zoos have a limited amount of space, but personally I don't think an enclosure should be built if it isn’t going to provide enough space. Don’t get me wrong, most of the enclosures were amazing, mountain goats on a sheer rock face, a huge African savannah and all the equipment an orangutan could dream of. But there is one kind of enclosure I am always disappointed by - the bird enclosures. I always feel saddened when I see a majestic eagle, be it a ald eagle or a Steller’s sea eagle (The first Steller’s sea eagle I have ever seen, and wow, they are HUGE!) just sat on the same perch for hours on end.
One of the larger enclosures, housing some of Africa's beasts
Finally food, I can’t say too much on this as we took our own lunch, but what I can say is the prices looked very reasonable, hotdogs were only a couple of pounds!
So overall, the Zoo was amazing and deserves its rank of 5th best in the world! If you visit Prague and are an animal lover it’s a must, if you aren’t so much of an animal lover, but are stuck with a free day, I would definitely suggest a visit. We were there for 8.5 hours and didn’t manage to see everything they had.
Thank you for reading,