Rotterdam, Netherlands

Diergaarde Blijdorp

You are going to have to read the rest of this article to see what this is about, but I will give you a clue: it’s about the Rotterdam Zoo.

By its full name of Stichting Koninklijke Rotterdamse Diergaarde, the zoo in the northern part of Rotterdam has been delighting the young and the old for over one and a half centuries. We visited it last summer and were simply and purely in awe with its beauty; as an interesting fact, they do not keep their animals in cages, but have created natural delimitations between animals and men.

We started with the walk-through aquarium, where we enjoyed the swim of penguins, polar bears, lobsters, catsharks, nurse sharks, barracudas or turtles of various shapes and sizes. As a piece of advice, decide your view of the aquarium based on the weather: if you have nice weather when you arrive, look at the animals outside, and leave the aquarium for last, when it might rain.

Outside the aquarium, you will see animals from diverse places. You will for instance be able to gaze at the Asian elephants, the Asian tiger or the Savannah giraffes. Despite their impressive stature, the giraffes are extremely delicate creatures. The Diergaarde Blijdorp also hosts a colorful palette of birds, such as the Hyacinth macaws, the Congo Peafowl or the Greater Flamingo. For stronger sensations, you can go into the bat house, whereas while in a search for beauty, you should go into the butterfly garden.

Practical information: you can get to the Diergaarde Blijdorp by taking either of buses 33, 44, 49 or 129. If you are near the Central Station however, a 12 minute walk will get you to the zoo. If you should go by car, you should know that parking costs 6 euros, or $8.7. The address is Blijdorplaan 8, 3041 JE Rotterdam, and visiting hours are between 9 and 5 during winter and from 9 to 6 during summer; the zoo is open all year long, every day. The admission fee is of 18.50 euros ($26.8) for adults and 15.5 euros ($22.5) for children (maximum 9 years old). You should allocate an entire day to this; we only gave it 3 or 4 hours, and we didn’t get to see it all.