Would you like to admire buffalo in a real buffalo savannah? Are you eager to admire the stately lion couple Nestor and Taza, their playful young triplets and their slightly older cubs Whisker, Waka and Winta? Or are you fond of birds and reptiles? With its numerous endangered species, historic buildings and renowned international breeding program, zoo Antwerp is definitely worth a visit if you are planning a getaway to this city. It is definitely one of the most fun activities to do in Antwerp!
This magnificent zoo in Antwerp, opened on July 21 1843 at the initiative of then alderman and later mayor Jan Frans Loos, is the oldest zoo in Belgium. And that's not all, because based on its opening date, it is also the 8th oldest zoo in the world. With an average of 1 million visitors a year, zoo Antwerp is the most visited zoo in Belgium.
At the opening, Jacques Kets became the very first director of the first Antwerp and Belgian zoo. His cabinet of curiosities, which consisted of an impressive collection of stuffed animals, minerals, plants and shells, is housed in the Natural History Museum of the Antwerp zoo. As an animal designer, he could count on a great deal of international fame. More than two decades later, in 1865, Jacques Vekemans took over the torch from his uncle.
Today, zoo Antwerp belongs to the EAZA (European Association of Zoos and Aquaria), an international partnership of more than 300 zoos and aquariums from Europe and the Near East. If you love science, ZOO Science is definitely something for you. This science platform highlights the expertise and scientific workings of zoo Antwerp and zoo Planckendael. The knowledge is applied in these two zoos, in research stations abroad and in our own zoological research center, the Antwerp CRC. In fact, in recent years this center has become one of the most advanced zoological research centers in the world!
Conveniently located next to Antwerp's impressive Central Station, it is very easy to walk to the zoo from this historic station on Koningin Astridplein, one of Antwerp's many squares. From the main exit of the Central Station, simply turn right and walk the 100 meters to the zoo entrance. It could hardly be any faster or easier!
Would you prefer to go to the zoo Antwerpen by car? Then keep in mind that due to its central location, this zoo is located in the Low Emission Zone (LMZ). Since February 1, 2017, the city of Antwerp has introduced the law to allow only certain vehicles into this zone. However, this policy usually only affects old vehicle models because they emit too much dirty air.
Zoo Antwerp is open daily from 10 a.m. throughout the year. However, the closing time may vary. In winter it is at 4:45 pm and on Sundays, holidays and in summer until 7:00 pm. zoo Antwerp's opening hours and daily schedule give you an accurate overview so you can plan in advance what activities you can do during your visit to Antwerp.
On the zoo's website you will find a handy overview with the price for a ticket for a day at zoo Antwerp. Are you under 18, over 60, a student (with valid proof), a person with a disability or a necessary companion of a person with a disability? Then you get an extra advantage in the form of a nice discount on the price of your ticket. Children up to 2 years of age can even count on free admission to the zoo!
Thanks to the five restaurants and cafes on the grounds of this zoo, you can easily get something to eat and drink during your visit. Of course, you may also bring your own lunch to eat on one of the many benches. As long as you remember that all the zoo's animals are fed a modified, balanced diet and are absolutely forbidden to eat any other food. Did you know that even "healthy" things like cucumber or apples can completely mess up the digestive system of some animals? Zoo Antwerp also asks not to feed the pigeons and gulls that fly freely in the zoo. These birds can not only become very aggressive and harass visitors, but also be carriers of diseases that can make the zoo's animals sick.
Of course, you can also take a seat in one of Antwerp's many cozy restaurants before or after your visit to the zoo!
For avid animal lovers and frequent visitors, there are also several memberships for both individuals and family members. In addition to unlimited visits to zoo Antwerp for one year, members of this zoo can also enjoy access to Planckendael, another zoo in Mechelen. In fact, both zoos are managed by KMDA (Royal Society for Zoology of Antwerp). In addition to the two zoos, this society also manages De Zegge, the Centre for Research and Conservation (CRC), the Queen Elisabeth Hall and the Flanders Meeting & Convention Center Antwerp.
Another perk for zoo members is the freedom to visit the zoo as early as 9 a.m., one hour before the rest of the paying visitors. This is a great treat if you love animals, as it feels like you have the zoo all to yourself with your favorite animals in sight.
Be sure to also take the opportunity to visit Het Steen, Antwerp's Grand Place and one of Antwerp's many museums during your stay. Book today at the B&B HOTEL Antwerpen Centrum or the B&B HOTEL Antwerpen Zuid, our two B&B HOTELS in Antwerp, and be pleasantly surprised by the many gems that zoo Antwerp and the city in general has in store for young and old alike!