The second oldest zoo in Europe
The Budapest Zoo is located in the City Park, close to Heroes’ Square and can be reached by the yellow line of the underground. It was created in 1866, thus it is the second oldest zoo in Europe. Some of the buildings still preserve the old atmosphere but of course the facilities were modernised to face the 21st century. When the zoo opened approximately 500 animals lived there. Many of them were granted by well-to-do personalities and exotic animals only arrived later. For the 10th anniversary the lion house was completed and also ostrichs, bisons and the first African elephant were boughtBy 1896 the zoo had nearly 2000 inhabitants but due to financial problems and the decreasing number of visitors a decline started.
In 1907 the company operating the plant and animal park went bankrupt. Luckily both the public and the politicians found it important to save the zoo, therefore it became the property of the capital. Famous architects were commissioned with the rebuilding and renovation of the establishments. Some of the art-nouveau buildings still can be seen. In 1912 the zoo was re-opened and many new species arrived. In the following years the institution had professional directors, who put great impact on education too. The second world war badly damaged the buildings and only a few animals survived.
In 1949 the zoo was opened for the 3rd time among moderate circumstances. During the 50-60’s it slowly regained its status and was re-populated again. In 1966 the 100th anniversary was celebrated with renovations and scientific conferences. In the last decades the development was continuous and the zoo raised to a European standard. Nowadays the institution has international reputation and scientific efforts are rewarded by birth of special endangered species e.g. lately a white rhinoceros calf was born.
Latest changes and future plans for the development of Budapest zoo
The zoo gained more territory as the neighbouring amusement park was closed in 2014. The first project to carry out is a Fairy Tale Park, that revives the scenes and world of Hungarian tales. The opening is planned for the end of 2016. A larger scale enlargement and innovation is the so called Pannon Park. It will show the flora and fauna of the Carpahian Basin in a biodome. Since it’s an indoor attraction, it wil help to attract more visitors during the winter month. The planned opening is 2018-19.
Opening hours: in low season from 9am to 5pm, in high season from 9am to 7pm. The cash desk closes an hour earlier. Detailed opening times are available here: Zoo homepage
The special Zoo night once a year also worth a visit.