Since my first visit to Amsterdam I’ve been recommended to visit Holland’s biggest Planetarium and Zoo called the Artis Royal Zoo. For many Amsterdam visitors and inhabitants, the Artis Royal Zoo is more than just a Zoo. It’s more like a very remarkable spot where nature, culture, knowledge, and pleasure come together. Although I felt a bit disappointed with the place, I still want to recommend it as a weekend getaway.
Why I got disappointed? Probably it was due to the cold weather and the fact that animals were not outside. Also, after visiting some enormous Zoos and having the chance to play with dolphins, this Zoo was not that exciting. Nevertheless, I spent a nice afternoon there accompanied by my boyfriend.
Do not take me wrong, at this Zoo, you can stroll for hours. It contains an aquarium, a planetarium as well as arboretum and a fairly large art collection and over 27 monumental buildings, most of which are used as enclosures for the animals, making Artis a unique cultural heritage of the 19th century. Apart from the animals, visitors can visit Artis Library on the history of zoology and botany. With an impressive number of 20,000 books collected, it is a true knowledge source for kids and adults.
One of the great qualities of Artis is that it creates natural living environments for the animals, which you can experience too. One moment you’re at an African savanna with wild beasts, zebras, and gazelles, the next moment you’re in the Aquarium surrounded by coral reefs and sharks. Here you also get an impression of what kind of animals live in the waters of the canals.
So if you are visiting Amsterdam and you would like to spend a day in the Zoo, you will need some tips:
- as always wear comfortable clothes and most important shoes;
- bring some snacks and food with you ( there is a cafeteria in the Zoo but I didn’t enjoy food so much);
- study the plan of the Zoo on the entrance, the map costs only 2 euros and it will help not missing some parts of the Zoo which is easy to happen;
- if you are able to choose the sunniest day of your stay do it and devote at least 4 hours for the visit;
- do not be shamed to take photos;
- do not touch butterflies, as even a slight touch can damage their wings and thus their ability to fly.
The big animals are always favorite for many people. However, instead of roaring out loud, the lions decided on an afternoon nap. Why not! No testosterone show-off today. Also, the penguins had their lazy day! Or perhaps this day was not an exception for them. They were like: ‘It’s all good’. And we were like: ‘All righty then!’ Then the penguin winked at us in order to say goodbye.
The zebra and giraffe (from the picture above) were just minding their own business. Having a nice bite of grass for lunch. I guess the most welcoming animals were gorillas. They were trying to communicate with us in their own entertaining way.
Artis is not cheap. At the time we visited Artis, the prices were: EUR 23 for adults and EUR 18 for children below 10 years old. Infants, up to 2 years can go in for free. (These prices are excluding the planetarium) Note that ordering your tickets online can save you some money. A map of the Artis grounds is available for EUR 2. Click here for the link to the Artis website.
How to get there
From Amsterdam CS or Rembrandtplein, take tram 9 and get out at the stop: ‘Plantage-kerklaan’. Tram 14 will take you there as well.
Alternatively, from Amsterdam CS, a taxi will cost about EUR 15.
Also, the Amsterdam hop on, hop off bus has a stop close to Artis.
Furthermore, if you want to take the subway, from or towards Amsterdam CS, get out at stop: ‘Waterlooplein’. Artis is about a 10-minute walk from Waterlooplein.
As the weather got colder, we couldn’t stroll longer. That’s why I told you to visit Artis during the hot days. I truly hope I ‘ll have a chance to visit Artis soon again. There are some parts we haven’t visited and just thought of blooming parks and all animals being out makes me wonder… It should be an awesome scenery!
Have you visited this Zoo before? What was your favorite part?