Amsterdam: Making the most of a trip to Artis Zoo

The admission counters at Artis Zoo. Photo by manfrys.
The admission counters at Artis Zoo. Photo by manfrys.

If you are putting together a list must-see sites of Amsterdam, the Artis Royal Zoo will definitely be on that list. And why not? An expansive ground featuring beautiful architecture and housing more than 700 weird and wonderful creatures will be fun viewing on any trip.

However, Artis Zoo, with its €18 admission fee, can be tough on the wallet, so visiting this spot might require a bit of planning ahead. Follow these tips:

Visiting the zoo

The price might be a bit out of the budget range but, on the plus side, it grants access to a vast number of places. Artis Zoo encompasses a variety of attractions which range from colorful fish species to creatures from all over the globe. There are also informational sites like the Zoological and Geological museum as well as the fancy Planetarium included in your admission. Exploring all the spots will take one full day and might be well worth the effort.

Keep in mind that since the zoo is one of the most popular places in Amsterdam, it can get packed easily. If you want to avoid the crowds, skip Saturdays and show up close to the opening time during a weekday.

Noteworthy attractions

There are, of course, a lot of animal habitats sprinkled across the zoo grounds. For something exotic, check out the African Savannah section. It features towering giraffes, springboks and even the gemboks, to name a few. Maybe drop by the Minangkabauan House for a glimpse of tiny, cute creatures. This location boasts famous animals like the world’s smallest deer as well as the doe deer. Then check out the different bird houses which are home to magnificent feathered beings like the black vultures.

The penguin section of the Artis Zoo. Photo by Marco Raaphorst.

The penguin section of the Artis Zoo. Photo by Marco Raaphorst.

If you have a soft spot for underwater creatures, come by the Aquarium. This impressive building is home to a number of diverse habitats including striking fish specimens from the Amazon as well as endangered fish from the tropics. For something truly bizarre, check out the tank that is a window into the underwater life of Amsterdam’s canals!

And for something more cerebral, hop over to the informational spots like the Planetarium, Geological Museum, and the Zoological Museum. At these different locations, you will find fun facts about our cosmos and quirky mother nature.

Cheap eats at the zoo

Artis Zoo does have plenty of eateries scattered throughout its premises. They include the Two Cheetahs Restaurant as well as smaller vendors like Het Friet and Swirls. Most of them are overpriced especially when compared to street food you can pick up as a quick lunch from outside.

However, since you can bring in your own packed lunch, maybe you can pick a few snacks from Febo or grab a pre-packed sandwich from a supermart like Albert Heijn before heading off to the zoo.

Admission and discounts

First, look into the various discounts offered for the zoo. The zoo offers a 25% discount that comes with using an I amsterdam card, which is certainly welcome, especially if there are quite a few in your group. Bigger groups can look into the €1.50 (per person) reduction offered by the zoo for groups of more than 20 people. It might be worth hooking up with other tourists at your hotel etc. and opt for this discount.

Here are the 2009 admission prices:
Adults: € 18.50
Seniors (65+): € 17.00
Children (3-9 years): € 15.00

Practical info

Address: Plantage Kerklaan 38-40 1018 CZ Amsterdam
(Artis, P.O. Box 20164, 1000 HD Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

Opening Hours: 9 AM to 5 PM
Summer: 9 AM to 6 PM (open longer on Saturdays in June, July and August)
Tel. : 0900-2784796
Fax : +31-20-5233481
Website:http://www.artis.nl/international/index.html
E-mail: info@artis.nl

About the author

About the author: Amy K Goemans is a writer and web developer based in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Her travel experiences include Europe and Southern Africa with occasional visits to Asia. Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Antwerp, and Durban are currently her top favorite cities.
Posted in: Amsterdam Sights
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