Budapest Zoo & Botanical Garden

hippo coming out of the water in its natural habitat area in Budapest zoo
In the heart of Budapest, Hungary, lies a remarkable destination that has captivated visitors for over a century. The Budapest Zoo & Botanical Garden, also known as Fővarosi Állat- es Novenykert in Hungarian, is not only the oldest zoo in Hungary but also one of the oldest in the world. With its rich history, diverse animal species, and stunning architectural wonders, it continues to be a must-visit attraction for locals and tourists alike.

Budapest Zoo & Botanical Garden

Address: Budapest, Állatkerti krt. 6-12, 1146 Hungary
Phone: +3612734901
Website: https://zoobudapest.com/

Getting to Budapest Zoo & Botanical Garden, which is located within the city’s vast City Park, is quite straightforward, with multiple options available:

1. By Metro: You can take the M1 (yellow) metro line and get off at the “Széchenyi Fürdő” stop. The zoo is just a short walk from there.

2. By Trolleybus: Trolleybus number 72 also stops at “Állatkert”, which is right in front of the zoo.

3. By Car: If you’re driving, you can use the address (Állatkerti krt. 6-12, 1146 Hungary) for your GPS. However, be aware that parking in the area might be limited, especially on busy days.

4. By Bike or On Foot: If you’re already in the city center and enjoy walking or cycling, you could consider these options too. Budapest is quite bike-friendly and the City Park is a lovely area to explore.

elephant in budapest zoo

A Journey Through Time

The Budapest Zoo has a long and storied past that dates back to its opening on August 9, 1866. Its establishment was the result of the dedication and vision of a group of patriots, including Ágoston Kubinyi, Jozsef Szabo, Ágoston Kubinyi, Jozsef Gerenday, and Janos Xantus. They aimed to create a place where Hungarian and exotic animal species could be showcased to the public.

Initially, the zoo displayed mainly Hungarian species, along with some rare monkeys, parrots, camels, and kangaroos. Over time, the collection expanded with the generous contributions of animals from Emperor Franz Joseph and Queen Elizabeth. The addition of a lion house in 1876, followed by elephants, hippos, and rhinos, further enhanced the zoo’s appeal.

However, financial struggles plagued the zoo, leading to its transformation into an animal and plant naturalizing company. The management brought in entertainers and comedians to attract visitors, but the expenses continued to outweigh the revenues. The company eventually went bankrupt in 1896 after the Millennium.

Rebirth and Expansion

Following its bankruptcy, the Budapest Zoo faced a period of decline until it was auctioned and taken over by the capital city in 1907. Under the leadership of Mayor Istvan Barczy and a city development program, the zoo underwent a comprehensive reconstruction between 1909 and 1912. On May 20, 1912, the zoo reopened its doors, showcasing not only animals but also a botanical garden.

During this time, several striking buildings were constructed, including the Palms House, designed by the renowned Eiffel Maison from Paris, the same architect behind the Eiffel Tower. Other notable structures, predominantly in Art Nouveau and Hungarian styles, were designed by Károly Kos and Dezső Zrumeczky. The zoo flourished, becoming one of the most modern zoos in Europe.

Turbulent Times and Resilience

The Budapest Zoo faced immense challenges during the tumultuous years of World War II. The zoo suffered severe bombings, resulting in the destruction of numerous buildings and the loss of most of its animals. The surviving animals were tragically consumed by the starving people of Budapest. Only a mere 15 animals out of the initial 2,000 specimens survived this dark period.

However, the zoo’s spirit remained unbroken. In 1945, it reopened with a small number of animals, embarking on a slow process of restoration. In the 1950s and 1960s, significant modernization efforts took place, solidifying its position as one of Europe’s leading zoos. With the appointment of Miklos Persanyi as Director General in 1994, the zoo underwent further reconstruction, improving animal habitats and enhancing the overall visitor experience.

The Incredible Exhibits

The Budapest Zoo is a treasure trove of biodiversity, housing approximately 773 species of animals. As visitors journey through its various exhibits, they are transported to different corners of the world, encountering an array of fascinating creatures.

The Magical Hill

The Magical Hill, located within the Great Rock, is a captivating attraction within the zoo. It showcases the diversity of flora and fauna, highlighting the evolving relationship between humankind and nature. With over 100 species, interactive games, and illustrative models, it offers a mesmerizing experience for visitors of all ages.

America Tropicana

Formerly known as the Palm-house, the America Tropicana exhibit immerses visitors in the tropical climate of the American continent. Here, they can admire the vibrant flora and fauna that thrive in this region, gaining a deeper understanding of the unique ecosystems found across the Americas.

Savannah Zone

The Savannah Zone is a haven for animal enthusiasts, featuring a remarkable collection of giraffes, gazelles, white rhinoceroses, and a diverse array of bird species. Additionally, this zone also houses small mammals and insects, providing a comprehensive exploration of wildlife.

Australia Zone

In the Australia Zone, visitors can marvel at the unique birds, reptiles, and amphibians native to the land Down Under. The showrooms in the northern part of the house offer a captivating glimpse into the nocturnal activities of Australian animals, with a cleverly reversed lighting scheme. The Hillhouse within this zone showcases southern cassowaries, red kangaroos, and common wombats, further enriching the Australian experience.

India Zone

The India House, a central building designed in 1912 by Karoly Kos and Dezső Zrumeczky, transports visitors to the diverse landscapes of India. This exhibit features majestic Asiatic lions, striped hyenas, and other captivating species from the region, providing a taste of the Indian wilderness.

Janos Xantus House

Named after the first director of the zoo, the Janos Xantus House offers a captivating glimpse into the wildlife of Southeast Asia. Visitors can immerse themselves in the lush flora and encounter the fascinating fauna that call this region home.

Primates Near-at-Hand

The Budapest Zoo boasts an impressive collection of primate species, scattered throughout different areas. In the South America House, visitors can observe squirrel monkeys, while the Xantus Janos House is home to Javan surilis. The Madagascar House houses an array of lemurs, including ring-tailed lemurs, black and white ruffed lemurs, red ruffed lemurs, black lemurs, and red-fronted lemurs. The Great Ape House is a sanctuary for highly endangered species like western lowland gorillas and Sumatran orangutans, while other primates, such as hamadryas baboons, golden-bellied mangabeys, and emperor tamarins, can be found in dedicated areas.

Plan Your Visit

To fully immerse yourself in the wonders of the Budapest Zoo, it’s best to allocate an entire afternoon to explore the vast grounds and enjoy the diverse exhibits. The zoo is open from Monday to Sunday, from 09:00 to 17:30, allowing ample time for an unforgettable experience.

Admission and tickets

Supporter ticket 7.000 HUF
Adult ticket
4.500 HUF
Child’s ticket (2-18 years)
Children under 14 years can not enter the Zoo without adult supervision.
3.200 HUF
Baby ticket (under 2 years) 300 HUF
Student’s ticket
(with ISIC)
3.200 HUF
Senior ticket
Entrance with valid ID card ( incl.photo ) over 65 years
3.200 HUF
Family ticket 1+1
1 adult with 1 child (2-18 years)
6.900 HUF
Family ticket 1+2
1 adult with 2 children (2-18 years)
9.400 HUF
Family ticket 1+3
1 adult with 3 children (2-18 years)
11.700 HUF

Family ticket 1+4
1 adult with 4 children (2-18 years)
Discount ticket for additional children: 2.900 HUF

13.800 HUF
Family ticket 2+1
2 adults with 1 child (2-18 years)
11.000 HUF
Family ticket 2+2
2 adults with 2 children (2-18 years)
13.300 HUF
Family ticket 2+3
2 adults with 3 children (2-18 years)
15.400 HUF
Family ticket 2+4
2 adults with 4 children (2-18 years)
Discount ticket for additional children: 2.900 HUF
17.400 HUF
Group ticket for Adults
at least 15 persons in organized group (pre-booking is not required)
4.100 HUF/person
Group ticket for Children (2-18 years)
At least 15 persons in organized group (pre-booking is not required). For every 10 children one adult companion can enter the zoo free of charge.
2.900 HUF/person
Group ticket for Seniors (entrance with valid ID card ( incl.photo ) over 65 years). At least 15 persons in organized group (pre-booking is not required).

2.900 HUF/person

Group ticket for Students (with ISIC)
At least 15 persons in organized group (pre-booking is not required). For every 10 students one adult companion can enter the zoo free of charge.

2.900 HUF/person

Tips for Visiting Budapest Zoo

If you’re planning to visit Budapest Zoo, here are some tips to help you make the most of your visit:

  1. Plan your visit in advance: Check the zoo’s website for opening hours and special events, and plan your visit accordingly. You can also purchase tickets online in advance to save time at the entrance.
  2. Wear comfortable shoes and clothing: The zoo is quite large, so be sure to wear comfortable shoes and clothing. Consider bringing a hat and sunscreen during the summer months, as there are areas of the zoo without much shade.
  3. Bring a camera: Budapest Zoo is full of great photo opportunities, so be sure to bring a camera to capture all the memorable moments.
  4. Take advantage of the guided tours: Budapest Zoo offers a variety of guided tours that can help you learn more about the animals and their habitats. These tours are a great way to enhance your zoo experience.
  5. Don’t miss the feeding times: Check the feeding schedules for your favorite animals and plan your visit accordingly. Watching the animals being fed can be a highlight of the visit.
  6. Visit the Children’s Zoo: The Children’s Zoo is a special area designed for young visitors. It features interactive exhibits and hands-on activities that allow children to learn about animals and their habitats.
  7. Be respectful of the animals: Remember that the animals are the main attraction and that they deserve to be treated with respect. Avoid making loud noises or tapping on the glass, and follow the zoo’s rules and guidelines.

FAQs

Where is Budapest Zoo & Botanical Garden located?

Budapest Zoo & Botanical Garden is located within City Park, in the heart of Budapest. The exact address is Állatkerti krt. 6-12, 1146 Hungary.

What are the opening hours of Budapest Zoo & Botanical Garden?

The opening hours vary by season. Generally, it opens at 9 AM, but closing times range from 4 PM in winter to 7 PM in summer. Always check the official website for the most up-to-date information.

What can I see at Budapest Zoo & Botanical Garden?

Budapest Zoo is home to over 1,000 animal species and also features a botanical garden. There are thematic areas such as Australia Zone, India Zone, Africa Zone, and others that group animals by geographical origin.

Are there any special exhibits at Budapest Zoo & Botanical Garden?

Yes, there are several special exhibits, such as the "Palm House," which features tropical and subtropical plants and animals, and the "Magic Mountain," which is home to various species of monkeys and birds.

Is the zoo suitable for children?

Yes, the zoo is very family-friendly. There are several interactive exhibits, a petting zoo, and educational programs specifically designed for children.

Can I bring food into Budapest Zoo & Botanical Garden?

Usually, yes, you are allowed to bring your own food. There are also numerous food vendors within the zoo where you can buy snacks and meals.