Berlin Zoological Gardens:
Our recent trip to Berlin included a couple of days spent at the Berlin Zoo as well as the beautiful Pergamon Museum. I was like a kid in a candy store at the zoo. Being from Africa, a lot of people assume that l lived among wildlife.. :o). I remember kids in school asking me about that after we had moved to the U.S. The answer would be no! No such luck. Our wildlife are goats, chickens, maybe some stray dogs, and lizards.
I saw a very old and toothless lion once at our local zoo when l was about 5, and l think there might have been a zebra. To see any of the good stuff, it had to be on an African Safari just like everyone else.
How to get to the Berlin Zoo: (Berlin Zoo access)
S Bahn: If you are using public transport, the best way to get to the Berlin Zoo is via train on the S3, S5 , S7 and S9 lines, the stop being Zoologischer Garten S-Bahn stop.
U Bahn: Zoologischer Garten stop on the U2 or U9
Kurfürstendamm stop on the U1 or U9
There is also public parking at the Berlin Zoo for a fee. Regional trains like E1, R2 and IRE also have stops there. You can find further information on this website. We went to the zoo via bus, with the stop being.. you guessed it Zoo Garten! There are over 15 bus lines that pass through there, so it’s quite easy to reach.
You can just imagine my excitement when we realized that the Berlin zoo had just about every animal you can think of. We also saw tigers, rhinos, bears, giraffes, etc. I felt bad because even though l was happy to see the animals, it came at the expense of their freedom.
Berlin Zoo: a little history:
The Berlin zoo was badly damaged in the second world war, and it burnt to the ground, a casualty of war. Only 91 of the almost 4000 animals that were kept in the zoo at the time survived. Of course, looking at this huge zoo now, there is no sign of the past decimation. Everything was completely rebuilt and it looks grander than ever. Very nice and peaceful, there were lots of families hanging out and having picnics. The Berlin Zoo is one of the eight largest zoos in the world.
Find best Hotels in Berlin.
Are zoos good or bad?
While l am not a big fan of keeping animals in cages, l have to admit that from the looks of things, the zoo animals were well looked after. Most seem to have adequate space to roam, and as possibly close to their natural habitat as much as possible. That made me feel better.
The only animals that looked clearly miserable were the bears. They looked sad, and lonely. They were also very thin, at least to my eyes. All the bears l had ever seen on television look so big and robust, and these just looked..sad. I wanted to set them free :-(.
Berlin Zoological Garden Price: (Berlin zoo ticket cost)
General admission price for the Berlin zoo is €15.50
€21 if combined with the Aquarium
Students and disabled people have a reduced price of €10.50
Berlin zoo ticket prices drop to €8 for children
Berlin Zoo address:
Zoo Berlin Hardenbergplatz 8 10787 Berlin zum Stadtplan
Zoo Berlin tickets can be purchased at the entrance or online. A Berlin travel pass is a good idea if you want to visit a lot of museums.
Berlin Zoo Hours:
The Berlin Zoo is open daily from 9am – 5pm. After September 2nd which is their Labor Day, the Berlin Zoo opens at 10am.
A whole other day was spent at the Pergamon Museum , which is located on the Museum Island in Mitte. What a fantastic place to spend a few hours. It was definitely worth the price of admission. I highly suggest visiting if you get the chance. We were lucky enough to visit just before the museum closed for major renovations. The museum has been reopened as of 2019 so you can visit again.
As usual, l got our tickets online. I can only tell you that when we got there, there had to be at least 400 people in line for tickets! How nice to be waived to the other line that had like 3 people ahead of us. We traded our paper tickets for the actual ones, got our headsets, and off we went to explore. You definitely want to reserve and pay online to avoid the hassle.
One other thing you want to do is print out your tickets. We were of the thought that they would be able to scan the bar code on our cell phone, but they are not. They needed the actual paper. Luckily, there was a guy there who pitied us, and quickly printed it for us. I happen to think that the Pergamon Museum is a must visit in Berlin.
The archeological finds in the museum are beautifully preserved. With the headphones, you were able to learn some history of the ancient world, including the altar from the Zeus temple, and the Ishtar Gate (are you thinking of that horrid film as well?).
Pergamon Museum Facts:
There are discovered items from Sumerian, Assyrian and Babylonian culture. Lots of pottery and jewelry worn by the ruling royalties. My favorite was seeing remains of the Ishtar gate. The gate was the eighth gate in ancient Babylon, and was constructed in 575 BC under the rule of King Nebuchadnezzar II. It was excavated and later reconstructed in the Pergamon museum in the 20th century. The section of the gate was gifted to Berlin by the then Turkey President. It was then transported brick by brick and reconstructed inside of the museum.
The Ishtar Gate is made of blue glazed bricks and the shine on it is awesome. I wish they had that now. It looks brilliant, as if someone buffs it on a daily basis. There are goddesses and gods depicted on the wall and lots of flowers. The gate was considered one of the “seven wonders of the world” until it was replaced by the Lighthouse of Alexandria. During the New Year celebrations, the statues of the various gods would be paraded through the gate and down the processional way. The Processional way was lined with paintings that totaled 120 lions, bulls, flowers and dragons in yellow and black colored bricks which was the symbol of the goddess Ishtar. I was so glad we had the headphones. It was really cool learning all these facts.
What’s even more amazing is that the Pergamon museum was heavily damaged during the second world war, but they managed to protect the artifacts by storing them in different places or walling the really big things. Some things however made their way to Russia, and are still in Moscow. Hopefully someday, they will make their way back, but for now, there is some sort of blockage from the Russian side. Saddam Hussein had a replica of the Ishtar gate built in Iraq during his reign, but the museum was never completed, and the gate sustained damage during the Iraq war. Take a Pergamon museum virtual tour here.
Related reading: Berlin Wall
Berlin really is a wonderful city, and l hope l get to visit it again. I’m no hipster, but l found a groove there..
The Pergamon Museum Hours:
Monday – Sunday 10am – 6pm
On Thursdays only 10am – 8pm
Pergamon Museum Tickets:
Pergamon museum ticket prices are €19
Please note that some major portions of the museum are being renovated and will continue to be till 2023 – 2025. For the latest information, check out their site to see if the section you want to see is open to the public.
Pergamon Museum Address:
The Pergamon Museum is located on museum island in Berlin.
Bodestraße 1-3, 10178 Berlin, Germany
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Have you ever been to the Berlin zoo or the Pergamon museum? If yes, did you like it? How do you feel about animals in captivity?