Artis Royal Zoo is much more than your average city zoo. Not only does it impress the visitor with its comprehensive collection of native and exotic animals but it is also surrounded by one of the most beautiful and often tranquil landscaped botanical gardens in the country.
The grounds are particularly spectacular during the first half of the year when thousands of tulips, daffodils and other bulb plant varieties put on a magnificent floral display. Many of the plants are very rare and some are over two hundred years old.
The historical zoo was opened in 1838 and has retained many of the best features from this period. At the entrance, you are greeted by a large ornate gate on top of which are two imposing golden eagles. In all, there are approximately 14 hectares to enjoy including an Aquarium, the Geological and Zoological Museums and a Planetarium.
The Geological Museum takes the visitor through a journey in time and there is a wide collection of stones and rocks displayed on the first floor. The formation of geological features is well explained, especially with the use of models and diagrams.
The Aquarium originally dates back to the late 1800s but underwent a major renovation in 1997, which modernized its interior but kept its neo-classical façade intact. Enter this fantastic building and be transported to a diverse range of underwater environments including a tropical coral reef, an Amazon flooded forest, a cross section of an Amsterdam canal and a mangrove swamp. Another area is given over entirely to a wide and diverse collection of amphibians.
The main part of the zoo contains over a thousand different species. Expect to see the usual zoo residents and some more rare exotic and native species. The kids will enjoy the animal farm where many of the exhibits are interactive. Adults and children alike will be enthralled by the insect and butterfly collections. Regular feeding times occur throughout the day with times clearly displayed.
The main restaurant overlooks the African Savannah enclosure. It is a pleasure to sit, relax and eat in this well positioned restaurant.
The zoo is serviced by different transport modes including trams, the metro and, in summer time, access can be gained via the canal. It is open 365 days a year. Times vary depending on the season.
On Sundays, a special guided tour in English is available which will give the visitor a much more in-depth look at the zoo. At time of writing, these tours begin at 11am at Monkey Rock. Zoo guides in English are also available at a reasonable cost and these are available at the entrance to the zoo and also at the Planetarium. Your admission fee includes visits to all areas within the complex. Discounts are offered to children, pensioners, families and groups.
Make sure you leave plenty of time to visit all the attractions, as it will take several hours to thoroughly investigate all this zoo has to offer.
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