Since we have just been discussing a zoo, here is another:
The zoo in Landau is not very big but excellent. It is run as a modern scientific zoo according to IUCN standards. The zoo takes part in several breeding programmes of endangered specieses and administers the international breeding register for the Philippine or Visayan Spotted Deer (Prinz-Alfred-Hirsch).
Male Philippine spotted deer
They have animals from all continents but only a selection of specieses, as space and conditions allow. In the middle of the town the zoo cannot expand. Tigers, zebras, penguins, chimps are there, for example, but no elephants or lions.
Bears used to be there. After their old bears died of age some years ago, though, the zoo decided not to get new bears but give their large enclosure to the tigers instead. Now the tigers have a roomy home in the far corner of the zoo. This enclosure is built into a bulwark of the former fortifications, in fact - hence the high brick walls.
They rather show less animals but keep them well. In my opinion this is a very good approach.
At the same time the zoo is a place of leisure and entertainment. It seems to be popular among local kids, there were lots and lots of families there. Visitors may feed some of the animals but only healthy food (pellets) that has been bought at the zoo. Signs at the enclosures state clearly where visitors can or cannot feed the inmates.
A zoo school group learning about the bennett wallabies
Landau zoo was one of the first that started educational programmes for children. They have a renowned „zoo school“ where schools can book lessons about about animals, nature, care for the environment and so on, which take place in the zoo. During the school holidays and on weekends they also offer activities and courses for children. The zoo school has received its own building in the zoo grounds a few years ago. In the meantime they have won several UNESCO awards for their work.
The zoo is located just north of the town centre within the walls of the 18th century fortress. From the market square it is a walk of less than 10 minutes.
Some years ago I was able to attend a very special event in the zoo. The foundation of a women's service club was celebrated with an "Tropic night". They had set up a big tent smack in the middle of the zoo. A large bonfire was burning, and a group of young guys were playing African drums. The decoration was done with utmost ingenuity. Each table had one particular animal as topic, and they had designed miniature landscapes with sand and stones and plant material as habitat for toy animals of the respective species. At the entrance each of us had to draw a card with the image of an animal to find our table and seat. We had a buffet dinner in the tent, and then the zoo let the jaguar put on a little show "hunting" a big piece of meat that they hung into his cage, illuminated by one single spotlight. The weather was cooperating and we experienced an impressive and atmospheric summer night party.
This event was allowed only thanks to very special and very personal connections, so this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Unfortunately I did not take photos then. That was before my activities on travel websites...
Opening hours: March - October 9.00-18.00, November - February 10.00-1600 (hours of the cash desk. Visitors can stay in the zoo grounds until one hour after the closure of the cash desk.)
Entrance fees: adults 8 €, seniors 7 €, concessions 6 €, children 4-12 years 3.50 €. Different family and group tickets available, also a combined ticket for 3 zoos (Landau, Heidelberg, Karlsruhe).