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ARTIS Royal Zoo

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Place Details


Rating: 4.5 / 5

City: Amsterdam

Country: Netherlands

Address: Plantage Kerklaan 38-40, 1018 CZ Amsterdam, Netherlands

Phone Number: +31 20 523 3670

Website: Visit the Website

Hours of Operation: Monday – Sunday: 9AM-6PM



Nestled in Amsterdam’s lush Plantage neighborhood, ARTIS emerges as a vibrant ode to nature and discovery, transcending the conventional zoo experience. Founded in the 19th century, this exquisite destination harmoniously blends a zoo, aquarium, museum, and planetarium across its verdant expanse. Visitors are invited to delve into diverse ecosystems, observing chimps, zebras, elephants, and marine life in environments that whisper tales of conservation and curiosity.

Whether marveling at celestial wonders in the planetarium or wandering amidst historic parkland, guests typically devote 1.5 to 3.5 hours to immerse in ARTIS’s rich tapestry of cultural significance, natural beauty, and educational endeavors, forging a lifetime connection.

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The ViaTravelers Experience

Vicuña grazing peacefully at ARTIS Zoo Amsterdam
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

The Natura Artis Magistra Zoo, or ARTIS, is in Amsterdam’s historic city center. Established in 1838, it is the Netherlands’ first and one of Europe’s oldest zoos, home to over 750 animal species. You can enjoy various activities at ARTIS, such as exploring the animals, biking in the city, and relaxing in the green oasis.

The zoo provides a fun and educational experience for children, with giraffes, chimpanzees, and zebras among the many animals living in habitats resembling their natural environment.

With diverse wildlife and a rich history dating back to 1838, ARTIS is a family-friendly destination offering cultural and educational attractions for all ages. Explore this enduring zoo that has stood as a symbol of excellence since the 19th century.

Visitors to the Artis Royal Zoo can expect to see a diverse range of animals, including lions, monkeys, penguins, and over 900 other species. The zoo also offers engaging attractions such as an aquarium, insectarium, butterfly garden, and planetarium. Additionally, guests can explore the world’s first museum of microbes called ARTIS-Micropia to discover the invisible life.

Exploring The Artis Royal Zoo

Families enjoy sunny day at ARTIS Zoo Amsterdam
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

As I walk through the majestic gates of Artis Royal Zoo, I’m immediately struck by the harmonious blend of nature and architecture. The colors of the flora complement the charming pathways, creating an engaging encounter that transcends traditional zoo visits.

The zoo is divided into different areas, each providing a captivating glimpse into various ecosystems and habitats. Artis offers an exclusive opportunity to observe animals in settings closely mirroring their natural environments, from the lush tropical rainforest to the sweeping savannah plains.

The best part is that many enclosures here are designed to be as close as possible to how these animals would live in the wild. It’s like taking a brief journey around the globe, encountering animals from different continents in carefully crafted spaces that mimic their natural homes.

Aside from creatures great and small, there are a number of other things to see and do, such as the lovely gardens, which are ideal for a bit of relaxation. Let’s explore some of the highlights and activities within this thriving wildlife sanctuary.

Interactive Exhibits and Educational Attractions

Artis Royal Zoo isn’t just about observing animals from a distance; it’s about engaging with them on a deeper level. Within its grounds, visitors can participate in interactive exhibits and educational attractions that foster a sense of appreciation and understanding of the natural world.

For instance, the Micropia museum showcases a mesmerizing world invisible to the naked eye – microorganisms. It’s an eye-opening experience, offering insight into the diverse and intricate life forms beyond our awareness.

The Planetarium is another must-visit attraction within Artis. Here, visitors can embark on captivating journeys through space and time, immersing themselves in astronomical wonders through state-of-the-art visual displays.

What’s next after indulging in educational exhibits? Let’s find out.

Tranquil Oases and Relaxing Retreats

Giraffes grazing at ARTIS Amsterdam Royal Zoo
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Amongst the bustling energy of animal encounters and informative exhibits lie tranquil oases and relaxing retreats within Artis Royal Zoo. These serene spots offer visitors a chance to unwind amidst picturesque surroundings while surrounded by captivating wildlife.

One such sanctuary is the Butterfly Pavilion, a serene haven adorned with delicate winged beauties flitting amidst colorful blossoms. Stepping into this ethereal space feels like entering another realm, providing a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

Moreover, the historical architecture nestled within these verdant landscapes adds a touch of old-world charm. It feels as though time slows down within these idyllic alcoves, allowing visitors to savor moments of tranquility while still being enveloped by nature’s wonders.

A Journey Through Artis Royal Zoo’s History

Modern baboon habitat at ARTIS Amsterdam Zoo with visitors
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

The story of Artis Royal Zoo is a captivating journey through time. In 1838, when the zoo was established, Amsterdam was smaller, and daily life lacked many modern comforts. Artis Royal Zoo opened its grand gates, becoming one of the oldest zoos in Europe.

From its inception, the zoo had a dual mission: to provide Amsterdammers with an escape from their routines and to educate the public on the wonders of nature. Artis has always sought to create an environment where people could observe and learn about various species while promoting respect and care for all living creatures.

Artis has played a pioneering role in animal welfare, shaping itself into a place where animals could feel comfortable while serving as both an educational resource and a center for scientific research.

Artis Royal Zoo’s Animal Exhibits

Majestic sunbathed lion resting at ARTIS Zoo Amsterdam
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Artis Royal Zoo has meticulously crafted animal habitats that transport visitors to different corners of the globe. The lion exhibit is a majestic replication of the African savanna, giving these regal creatures ample space to roam and bask in the sunlight.

Observing them under the shade of a tree or stretching out after a hearty meal might make you feel as if you have been transported directly to their native lands.

Moving on, the monkey exhibit is an exciting place that allows visitors to observe these intelligent and playful animals in action. The habitat is filled with ropes, trees, and other features that mimic the lush rainforests where these monkeys originate, closely resembling their natural habitat.

Elephants, Penguins, and Beyond

Playful Asian elephant bathing at ARTIS Zoo Amsterdam
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

The penguin exhibit at Artis Royal Zoo is nothing short of enchanting. This meticulously designed enclosure offers viewers a window into the fascinating world of these endearing creatures as they waddle about on land and elegantly glide through the water.

Visitors can witness penguins in all their natural grace, thanks to carefully regulated temperatures and nearly perfect conditions for these beloved birds.

Beyond these cherished attractions, Artis Royal Zoo is home to around 900 species spanning everything from insects to elephants, with each exhibit painstakingly created to replicate their natural habitats.

This benefits not just the animals but also creates an immersive experience for visitors who can learn about ecosystems, conservation efforts, and the importance of protecting our planet’s biodiversity.

Moreover, this up-close encounter with a broad spectrum of wildlife provides endless educational opportunities for both children and adults. Such encounters foster empathy and appreciation for nature’s beauty, leaving an indelible mark upon young minds.

Botanical Collection at Artis Royal Zoo

Serene garden landscape with topiary and statue at ARTIS Zoo Amsterdam
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

As you stroll through the winding pathways of Artis Royal Zoo, it’s not just the animals that catch your eye. The zoo is home to a captivating botanical collection that is just as diverse and enchanting as its animal inhabitants.

The themed gardens are a true gem, each one transporting you to a different world altogether. From lush tropical landscapes brimming with exotic palms and orchids to serene Japanese gardens with delicate bonsai trees and tranquil koi ponds, there’s no shortage of visual splendor.

Rare Trees and Flowers

Tranquil pond and aerial walkway at ARTIS Zoo Amsterdam
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

The zoo is also adorned with rare and majestic trees from around the globe, providing a unique opportunity for visitors to witness the beauty and diversity of the plant kingdom. Towering trees from different continents stand tall, representing an awe-inspiring display of natural wonder.

In addition to trees, the flowers adorn various parts of the zoo, adding pops of color and fragrance to the ambiance. The sight of vivid blooms in carefully curated gardens creates a delightful contrast against the verdant backdrop, enriching the overall sensory experience for visitors.

The Planetarium and Museum of Artis

The planetarium at Artis Royal Zoo offers an out-of-this-world experience, quite literally. The dome-shaped theater takes visitors on an awe-inspiring journey through planets, moons, stars, and galaxies. The show “Worlds Beyond Earth” invites viewers to contemplate if Earth is truly unique and whether other habitable worlds exist far beyond our reach.

The 360-degree images of neighboring planets provide a visual spectacle and an educational opportunity for all ages. This immersive experience dives into the conditions necessary for life. It explores the potential for habitable worlds in our universe, igniting curiosity and wonder by making complex astronomical concepts accessible to a broad audience.

ARTIS-Micropia: Exploring the Invisible World

In addition to the Planetarium, Artis Royal Zoo is home to ARTIS-Micropia, the world’s first museum dedicated entirely to microbes. Here, visitors are introduced to a holistic blend of biology and interactive learning experiences that provide a deeper understanding of the intricate world of microorganisms.

This unique attraction goes beyond the grandeur of space exploration and delves into the unseen realm of life teeming with microorganisms. Through compelling exhibitions and interactive displays, visitors gain insight into the essential roles played by these tiny life forms in sustaining ecosystems and their impact on human health.

Artis Royal Zoo encourages an interdisciplinary approach to education by providing a harmonious blend of astronomy and biology. Visitors are treated to stunning visual displays of celestial bodies and invited to explore the invisible world that sustains life on Earth in ways often overlooked.

This allows for a comprehensive understanding of our place within the larger cosmos and encourages a sense of awe for the intricacies of our macroscopic and microscopic worlds.

Valuable Suggestions for Your Artis Zoo Visit

ARTIS Zoo, Amsterdam
Kyle Kroeger / Via Travelers

If you plan to visit Artis Royal Zoo, we’ve got some insider tips to ensure you get the most out of your time there. Participating in the daily animal feedings and keeper talks can be a delight when you step into the zoo.

It adds a special touch to your visit, and you learn much more about the animals from the staff who care for them daily. These interactions make the experience come to life!

For instance, by joining the daily penguin feeding session, you’ll witness these adorable creatures being fed and discover interesting facts about their behavior and biology directly from knowledgeable keepers.

Similarly, participating in the insightful keeper talks allows you to gain valuable insights into the lives and habits of various animals.

Knowing about the zoo’s conservation initiatives can add depth to your visit. The zoo offers guided tours and educational programs that focus on conservation efforts and provide a deeper understanding of the significant work carried out within the zoo.

For instance, during an educational tour offered by the zoo, guests can interact with animal experts, educators, and conservationists while visiting various sections of the zoo, helping visitors learn about wildlife conservation in fun and engaging.

Moreover, these programs inform visitors and offer them a chance to actively engage in initiatives supporting the animal welfare programs at Artis Royal Zoo. 

For those who wish to extend their support beyond their visit, becoming a member or contributing to conservation programs can enable them to play an integral role in preserving endangered species and wildlife habitats.

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