One of the coolest places in Amsterdam and big surprise for me in this city of bicycles and stoned people was Artis Zoo. Amsterdammers are beautiful (see article Why Every Woman Should Visit Amsterdam at Least Once in Her Life) and polite people who gladly help tourists. With the guidance of such handsome one I and my friend arrived at the Royal Artis Zoo. We did not know what awaits us and even less we assumed that will spend half a day to unveil its treasures. Artis Zoo, one of the best kept secrets of Amsterdam, is located conveniently in the heart of the city and it is well governed and displays great variety of animal species in very natural habitats. Lions, for example, you feel like you can reach out and caress them. Yes, but no. Penguins are a stone’s throw distance, and pink flamingos you think you can get to by simply splashing your way across the shallow shore.
Here are the most significant reasons WHY you should include Artis Royal Zoo in your Amsterdam itinerary:
- The variety of species – there are more than 900 animal species you can see in Artis Zoo. Many of them so adorable that you will take hundreds of photos sometimes of one animal just because it seems that the camera cannot catch well enough its cuteness. In the Butterfly pavilion you will see dozens of species flying around while you can walk freely and observe them. In the aquarium you will see the whole beauty of the underwater world of our planet, presented in a well arranged water tanks. And the Insectarium, not my favorite place, has large collection of insects that by the way can be very interesting to observe. Outside, in the animal’s yards, there is a variety of exotic and less known animals, every one of them with its characteristic way of ‘lifestyle’. The lions are curious creatures and in the Artis Zoo there is nothing that can prevent them to get to know you closer (at least it looks like so). The zebras and giraffes, in my opinion the most beautiful among the African animals, look happy and well cared for. A kiss from a giraffe is something your kid will remember!
- Easily accessible – located in the heart of the city, Artis Royal Zoo is a island of unexpected wild life in a modern and fast living city. You can do like us and walk from the city center (around half an hour walk) or take the tram for a short ride from the Dam Square. Either way, you will see another part of the city, a little bit aside of the famous canal districts, that is also very green and interesting with its residential life.
- The gardens – another reason why this zoo is so remarkable is because of its gardens. I visit it in October, when the leaves where falling in a beautiful pageant of colors. There are many corners in these gardens, arranged in different styles, where you can sit and just enjoy your time with coffee or snack. And even better if you are with your kids – they will never get bored during this visit of the Artis Royal Zoo, this maze of adventure.
- Architecture and history – the buildings part of the zoo complex are one of the most interesting in Amsterdam. They are all in different styles but all beautiful in their own ways. Some of the buildings were built before the zoo becomes zoo – officially in 1838. In historical aspect, the zoo was accessible only limited group of people but now, years after its public opening in 1920, the zoo is expanded dramatically.
- The name and philosophy behind Artis Zoo – the full name of the zoo, which is rarely used by visitors, is Natura Artis Magistra. Beautiful, isn’t it? Meaning – nature is the teacher of art and science. And of the people, I would add. You just need to sit and observe the animals and you will find clear connections between theirs and ours lives and relationships. It’s really funny and easy to let animals teach you.
Best period to visit – in September there is 25% discount of the entrance fee. (For tickets options look HERE).
Best way to go – use the trams 9 (from Amsterdam Central Station) and 14 (from Dam Square) to Artis Stop. Using tram is good way to seeing the city from another perspective and in a slow pace.
More information about Artis Zoo you can find on their site HERE.
What are the best zoos that you have visited so far? What did you like about them?