Get to know the amazing world of animals in Zagreb and the most poisonous amphibian in the world
Unusual bats, attractive monkeys, interesting foxes, large bears, a cute racoon, a cheetah or antelope, peculiar squirrels, owls and parrots, proud-looking ostriches and storks, equally fun crocodiles, turtles, snakes, frogs and other various species of mammals, rodents, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, invertebrates, all of these can be seen in Zagreb!
They are found in a special place, in one of the most beautiful city’s parks, more than 200 years old – Maksimir. Maksmir has been the home to 275 species of animals and 2,225 specimens from almost all continents since the distant 1925. The imposing area of seven hectares in the southern part of the park, full of a variety of animals and natural habitats which are not often seen, ranks the Zoological Garden of the City of Zagreb at the very top of must-see tourist attractions of the Croatian metropolis.
The story began very modestly
Croatia can boast having six zoological gardens in total, three public and three private. The one in Zagreb is the largest by the number of animals, but it is preceded in regard to the surface area of 11 hectares by the zoological garden in Osijek. The history of the Zagreb Zoo is connected with the construction engineer Mijo Filipović pl. Freudenberški, who, as a water management expert, was tasked with the mission to design the Maksimir Park.
According to some sources, it took him quite a long time to persuade the then mayor Vjekoslav Heinzel that “The Swan Island” in the first lake in Maksimir, should become a habitat for animals. With only three owls and two foxes, as the first in South Eastern Europe, on 27th June 1925, it saw the light of day. First it was called “The Zoological Nursery”, and over the years which followed, thanks to Filipović’s dedicated involvement, otherwise a passionate lover of animals, it became a real zoological garden, today an iconic city institution and an establishment with many national and international awards and the greatest number of visitors.
They are counted in hundreds of thousands each year. Children, as well as adults, enjoy the rich animal and plant world, the fauna from almost all corners of the world, hidden under the treetops of Maksimir’s forests. It is the favourite place for rest, recreation and relaxation in nature for the whole family.
Alongside educational tours, special workshops and various fun events, games, contests and shows, the numbers of unusual animals, their habitats, way of life, diet, and other natural wonders will leave the children breathless. Many of the species are protected, and just a few of those animals that are, for example, included in the European programme for the breeding of endangered species, include the maned wolf, scimitar oryx, black and white ruffed lemur, Turkmenian kulan, North Chinese leopard, pygmy hippopotamus, European bison, white-naped crane…
You will see some of the most poisonous frogs in the world
These are very rare specimens of animals, which are carefully protected and which the people of Zagreb love to visit. They are frequently included in the selection of the names of new animals which arrive at the zoo. Some people may perhaps remember the elephants; the first one arriving in Zagreb in 1931, and the last that died in 2006.
One of the most interesting inhabitants was the hamadryas baboon Štefek, and today the real attractions are the seals, the endangered red pandas, lions, zebras, the antelopes in the African savannah, Nile crocodiles in the tropical house, the penguins, the tigers, dromedary camels, the South American tapir, the European spoonbill, as well as the venomous snakes, and some of the most poisonous frogs in the world. They are unique because they feed on insects from which they produce the poison, with which they can kill up to 22,000 mice or 10 adult people!
Find for yourself what other frightening stories and species are hidden in this amazing animal paradise and the most beautiful part of the garden in the Maksimir Park. The residents of the zoo are waiting for you, even in the coldest period of the year. Don’t worry, they do not hibernate; rather, they eagerly await your curious glances and visits.
Let the Zoological Garden be a place which you must visit in Zagreb, and then treat yourself and your dearest to top local specialities and international cuisine in the Fontana and Kralj Tomislav restaurants, tasty desserts in the Café Imperial, or cocktails in the Piano Bar at the Sheraton Zagreb Hotel, which will be an excellent stopover until the following tourist attraction of your choice in Zagreb…
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