Rotterdam Zoo is the largest in the Netherlands and one of the most active in Europe, running both conservation and breeding programs. A rare Indian rhino, an Asian elephant, Asian lion cubs and baby polar bears have all been successfully bred here.
There are many species to see in the zoo’s themed enclosures, ranging from the lions, gazelles, ostriches and giraffes of the African savannah to the tigers and elephants from the Asian rainforest, plus polar bears and Arctic foxes from more wintery regions. Cute otters splash in pools, penguins dart around their aquarium and gorillas play on African Gorilla Island at Rotterdam Zoo.
Even on a rainy day there’s plenty to do undercover; visit the sharks and rays in the Oceanium or admire the thousands of butterflies in Amazonica, a climate-controlled pavilion that opened in 2013. The zoo is also home to Crocodile River, where visitors can follow the pathways to get up close with the crocs.
General admission is €21, while it is €16.50 for youth ages 3 to 12. The zoo is open daily from 9 a.m until 5 p.m., or 6 p.m. in the summer. Visitors can take the metro to Blijdorp (no cash) to reach the zoo or walk 15 minutes from Central Station. Rotterdam Zoo also has supervised onsite parking for €8.