Zoos offer getaways for kids and adults

by Thomas Warner
contributing writer
Red kite by scooperdigital / Shutterstock.com

There is perhaps no better place to take a child than to a zoo. The animals and natural atmosphere capture the imagination of youngsters who spend time at such a place, however there is viability for adults, too, who seek to find relaxation or enjoy slowing down the pace for a few hours.
Zoos and animal parks are plentiful in the two-hour vicinity of the Kaiserslautern Military Community and each has something special that gives it distinction or viability as a day-trip option for families to consider this summer. Entrance fees exist but are lightened by special deals for children and lots of bang for the buck.
This article does not include all the zoos and wildlife parks in this area and it’s up to the reader to look themselves to discover other hidden gems that exist and to venture out and explore with the purpose of enjoyment of nature.

Zoo Kaiserslautern
Closest of all is the Kaiserslautern Zoo in Siegelbach, located just north of the Autobahn 6, not far from the Opel Kreisel. This facility has many species of animals from different parts of the world and it can be a nice place to celebrate a birthday party with a special event planned to take place there on site.

Wildpark Saarbruecken
Wildpark Saarbruecken is not a true zoo but it’s a place where animals are observed daily by lots of people who like being in nature. The park is easy to access and has nice areas to walk around and get up close and personal with lots of different animals. It’s an area that is pretty much open all day long and people are expected to manage visits on their own or plan ahead for a guided tour.

Zoo Saarbruecken
Available in the Eschberg district is Zoo Saarbruecken – always one of the most popular tourist destinations in the German state of Saarland. There are many species of monkeys and lots of water-dwelling critters such as seals, penguins and turtles.

Wildpark and Greifvogelzoo Potzberg
North of the KMC off Autobahn 62 is Wildpark and Greifvogelzoo Potzberg, which specializes in falconry and the study of the behavior of hawks. Visitors can see demonstrations by park personnel on feeding and other habits of falcons but there are also numerous deer, moose, and assorted four-legged creatures that pique the interest of people who come to look around. There is also a daily air show, with various birds displaying flying maneuvers and synergy with park guides.

Reptilium Terrarium and
Wuesten Zoo

If lizards and snakes are your thing, the Reptilium Terrarium and Wuesten Zoo at Landau, near Pirmasens, will amaze you and captivate your senses. This oasis of reptiles is highly frequented by people of all ages throughout the year and is very well-maintained so that the animals such as crocodiles, gila monsters, or any of the other 120 animal types are able to exist in environments similar to what would be their natural habitat.

Zoo Heidelberg
Zoo Heidelberg is only one hour and a half’s drive from the KMC and is spectacular in its presentation of the tiniest creatures, such as prairie dogs, to large ones like elephants and rhinoceros. The zoo has a reputation for housing one of the most diverse collections of animals one might find in this part of Germany.

Tierpark Donnersberg
Tierpark Donnersberg in Rockenhausen is a facility that is proud to have been built from the ground up with all private funding and no help from government money. This is a place that began as a refuge for orphaned animals but grew quickly into something much more special. Visitors are allowed to help feed the animals and there are other ways to immerse with the environment.
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Tierpark Birkenfeld
An animal park that is more than 100 years old and full of several interesting species is Tierpark Birkenfeld, located north off Autobahn 62, then east on highway 42. The park is peaceful if only for the chance to admire the ducks on a calm pond and get away from the daily grind for a few hours. Other birds carry on their daily maneuvers nearby, too, in the well-manicured havens built by the staff here. Children will love to walk and wander, never knowing what might be sighted around the next corner.

Tiergarten Worms
Tiergarten Worms is easily accessible on the east route of Autobahn 6, direction Mannheim. There is a miniature railroad that carries visitors throughout the park and children can even learn zookeeping aspects at the tiergarten school. This park prides itself on gearing certain aspects directly to kids and this can lead to a wonderful feeling for the adults who bring them.

Photo by Phattana Stock / Shutterstock.com

Zoo Neunkirchen
The Zoo in Neunkirchen is another treasure in Saarland with seals, porcupines, zebras, elephants, minks, lions, and even a few rats. Picnic lunches or food from the restaurants there will make for a relaxing few hours with family and friends.

Vogelpark Mannheim

Birds take center stage at the Vogelpark near Mannheim. Owls, redbellied fliers, singers, and many species indigenous to Deutschland are housed here in special cages that allow freedom of movement. Admittance is free but the park accepts donations.