Going to the Frankfurt Zoo

Story and photos by Christine June
U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern

It may be a small city zoo, about 11 acres, but the Frankfurt Zoo offers visitors a chance to see species and landscapes of the Arctic and Amazon in a matter of minutes.

***image1***Technically speaking, it could be seconds or as long as it takes for them to move their heads from right to left upon entering the Exotarium.

One of six houses at the zoo, the Exotarium showcases penguins and a polar landscape on the right, while immediately to the left are aquariums highlighting exotic fishes and plants that inhabit the Amazon waters. On the second floor of the house are crocodiles, snakes, insects and lizards that also call the Amazon home.

This is one of the main attractions at the zoo, said Dr. Caroline Liefke, the zoo’s public relations officer, who also said about 900,000 people visit the zoo every year.

***image2***Another attraction is the “Grzimekhaus” or the Day and Night House. Built in 1978, the Grzimekhaus is still among the largest exhibit of nocturnal animals in Europe, said Dr. Liefke.

“The Day and Night House is very specific,” she said. “It’s very dark, and you can see how night animals live.”

The Great Ape and Ape Houses show several types of primates in their natural surroundings. Dr. Liefke said a new Ape House is currently being built at the zoo and should be finished by the end of the year. The current Ape House was built in 1950, and Dr. Liefke said is now too small and does not have trees for the three types of primates – orangutan, gorilla and baboon.

The zoo is located in the middle of Frankfurt, and in 2008, it will celebrate 150 years.

***image3***It showcases 500 species with a total of 5,000 animals Dr. Liefke said children especially enjoy the seal exhibit where they can see two types of seals flocking above water and then they can go down a tunnel and see them swimming underwater.

There are two restaurants on both sides of the zoo – the snack bar and cafeteria Happy Bär and the Mexican Restaurant Sombrero im Zoo. Both have large terraces where school groups can eat their bagged lunches, or they can sit on benches at the Great Ape and Ape Houses and enjoy their lunches. The zoo is open every day, with different hours for the summer and winter seasons, which are determined by the time change. Summer hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Winter hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

***image4***Summer or winter, the Exotarium opens at 10 a.m. and the Grzimekhaus at 9:30 a.m.

For more information, visit the Frankfurt Zoo’s official Web site at www.zoo-frankfurt.de.  For navigational systems or global maps, the address is:

Zoo Frankfurt
Alfred-Brehm-Platz 16
60316 Frankfurt am Main