A short ride on public transport from the centre of Hamburg is Tierpark Hagenbeck. Hamburg’s popular zoo is privately owned by the Hagenbeck family since its opening by Carl Hagenbeck in 1907. Mr Hagenbeck was a pioneer in open enclosures surrounded by moats instead of fences and this is still the same today.
We were shown around by the lovely press relations lady Sabina, and this helped us understand more about the zoo or Tierpark as she preferred it to be called.
In the 1890s Carl Hagenbeck created his first „panorama“ exhibit which he patented a few years later. The tiered display had seals and walruses in a pool, a hidden moat then reindeer and then another hidden moat between polar bears. By hiding the moats, the animals appeared to be together in one landscape and so the ‚tier park‘ was born.
So in 1907 Hagenbeck opened this zoo and decided to design it with his patented panorama system in mind. The open encloses were revolutionary at the time and can still be seen in Tierpark Hagenbeck today.
Today the park has over 1800 animals and you can get to know the animals at close range.
When you buy a ticket you are given a map and a leaflet with feeding times. This is useful to have but you can also see a map with an up-to-date activity board at the front of the park. You can feed a number of animals including elephants and giraffes and small animals in the petting zoo.
The park is divided into two parts – one part zoo and one part tropical aquarium. The Tropen-Aquarium Hagenbeck was opened in 2007. Covering more than 8000 square meters it is the largest aquarium in Germany and the largest aquarium in the whole of Northern Europe.
The aquarium has a number of free-flying birds and free-roaming lemurs as well as some of the worlds most dangerous animals such as Nile crocodiles and venomous snakes.
We were very impressed by the huge panoramic tank with sharks and rays. It was hypnotic watching these large creatures dart in and out in this impressive tank. You can watch the sharks and rays being fed every afternoon, but we unfortunately missed this.
When we came out we wandered around the gardens. In 19 hectares of ground, the zoo is spacious and attractive.
It was lovely seeing the animals roaming free like the pelicans and capybaras.
Both the Tierpark and the Tropen-Aquarium help to conserve endangered species. At present, there are 46 species of animals that face a severe threat of extinction and that experts monitor and coordinate their numbers on an international level.
Many animals threatened with extinction produce here including Sumatra orang-utans, Siberian tigers and North Chinese leopards. I know there is some controversy about zoos these days but you cannot fail to notice the work that places like Tierpark Hagenbeck do to conserve endangered species.
In June 2017, four Siberian tiger cubs were born in the park, which is all the more amazing considering in 2015 there were less than 600 Siberian tigers considered left in the world.
Particular mention should also go to the Asian elephants as Tierpark Hagenbeck is one of the important breeding sites for this species and baby pachyderms regularly come into the world here. The births take place among the herd, just like they do in the wild.
The Eismeer area of the park is where you can watch creatures above and below water.
The walrus tank is one of the deepest in the world and the only one in Germany. I love this photo that Mr W took of this walrus.
The penguins have a large enclosure that is both inside and outside and a large pool to swim. Watching these amazing creatures waddle together, then jump into the pool was utterly fascinating.
Tierpark Hagenbeck and the Tropen-Aquarium Hagenbeck are both an interesting day out for all the family. The park is open 365 days a year and prices are reasonable considering you could spend all day here. In the summer there are events on including jungle themed nights and live classical music in the zoological gardens.
per adult – 14 Euros for the Tropical Aquarium/20 Euros for the Zoo
combined 30 Euros
per child (4-16) – 10 Euros for the Tropical Aquarium/15 Euros for the Zoo
combined 21 Euros
Family tickets are also available.
The animals appeared well looked after and the work that Tierpark Hagenbeck and the Tropen-Aquarium do to preserve endangered species and educate the public cannot be overlooked. If you do like to visit zoos then this, in my opinion, is a good zoo and tropical aquarium, with well looked after animals. Read more about Tierpark Hagenbeck from a family perspective from Zena’s Suitcase here.