The Zoologischer Garten is Germany’s oldest zoo and still boasts the most diverse range of animal species in the world.
The hippos are housed in a great split-level glass-domed building, so you can see them under and above water; there is a similar display for the king penguins, and in both cases the underwater activity delights children and adults alike. The panda bears are another popular attraction, but the undisputed star of this show was Knut, undoubtedly the most famous polar bear in the world. Sadly, he passed in 2011, leaving a hole in the zoo that has yet to be filled.
At the Streichelzoo (“petting zoo”), kids can chase after farmyard animals (watch the fingers!) and there is a Spielplatz (“play area”) to jump around in. Different feeding times throughout the day allow you to see the residents chow down – don’t miss the pelicans, who gobble up fish by the dozen, and the lions, who have been known roar to hurry things up a bit – and once the animal fun is done you can head over to the aquarium, which is just next door.
Be warned that the aquarium has a separate admission price – it may throw water on your plans if you want the whole experience but don’t bring the cash.