Up close and personal with Barbary macaques and alpacas or jet-set across savannah landscapes on a roller coaster? Here are some suggestions for anyone bored with regular zoos.
The lion’s barn is also passed here, the penguin aquarium there and the petting zoo: a visit to the zoo is very exciting, especially for children. With hundreds of zoos in the country, the choice is large, but the range is often quite similar. How about a little change? Here are five places that offer private animal experiences:
Serengeti Park Hodenhagen
A safari in the heart of Lower Saxony? The Serengeti Park Hodenhagen at the Lüneburg Heath makes this possible. Visitors can either drive their own car or drive in a safari bus through a ten-kilometre-long landscape of around 1,500 animals. You can see lions, giraffes, tigers, rhinos, elephants, bison, zebras and many other inhabitants of the savannah.
In addition to the Serengeti tour, about 20 species of monkeys can be seen on jungle safari. There is also an amusement park with a ferris wheel, a roller coaster, and a speedboat ride. The park will be open daily until October 31, 2022. (www.serengeti-park.de)
In Salem, not far from Lake Constance, is the largest outdoor monkey enclosure in Germany. About 200 Barbary macaques live here in a forest – without separating bars or ditches. So it can happen that a monkey climbs on your shoulder.
The endangered species originally come from the mountainous regions of Morocco and Algeria. Since the climate of Lake Constance is very similar to that of the North African mountains, monkeys can live outdoors all year round.
The number of Barbary macaques has declined over the past two decades. It is currently estimated that there are less than 8,000 animals that live freely. Attempts have been made to protect and secure the Avenburg’s Barbary macaque population since 1976.
In addition to the monkey mountain, there is also a large colony of stork and deer in the area. Affenberg will be open until the beginning of November this year. (www.affenberg-salem.de)
Alternative Bear Park Worbis
The alternative bear park in Worbis in northwest Thuringia is no ordinary zoo. Animals that were previously kept in poor conditions live here. At Worbis, visitors should be able to experience how abusive and misbehaving animals are regaining some of their nature, according to the park’s management.
In addition to bears, wolves, lynxes, raccoons, and endangered breeds of domestic animals such as leash sheep can also be seen in the recently expanded area. You can walk through the enclosure on fenced paths and learn interesting facts about the life of animals in the educational path of the bear.
Additionally, guests can learn more about the reasonable keeping of parrots, turtles, and guinea pigs in the pet area. The park is open all year round. (www.baer.de/projects/alternative-baerenpark-worbis)
In several aquariums, the Ozeaneum in the Baltic city of Stralsund shows the exciting underwater world of the North Sea, Baltic Sea and Atlantic Ocean. A voyage of exploration through the realm of the North Seas faithfully reproduces the depths of the various underwater worlds.
In the largest area – the “Atlantic Open Ocean” – visitors can see schools of mackerel, rays, fish, striped seabream and various types of sharks. In addition to aquariums, Ozeaneum offers prepared and refined fish, mussels and snails from all over the world.
In the exhibition “1: 1 Giants of the Seas” the giants of the sea are shown in their original size. Among them is a blue whale with a length of 26 meters.
Also worth seeing are the Humboldt penguins that live on the museum’s rooftop terrace. There is also a beautiful view of the Hanseatic city from there. Ozeanueum is open all year round. (www.ozeaneum.de)
Daniel’s little farm
Tired and exhausted from everyday life? No problem, Daniel’s small alpaca farm in Casrup-Rauxel in North Rhine-Westphalia is the perfect place to unwind. For example, there are alpaca hikes that usually take place on the weekends—if you’d like, you can also book an alpaca date: a two-time hike, with a fluffy companion, of course. Or you can practice yoga in an alpaca pasture.
If you decide to go for an alpaca walk, you should plan about two to three hours. Animals like to take it easy and stop eating more often.
Everyone from young to old can participate, with one exception: dogs are not allowed, as alpacas often react nervously to them. Entire tours are often booked months in advance. (www.danielskleinefarm.de)
PS Daniel’s small farm is just one of many alpaca farms in Germany. If you don’t live in the Ruhr area, you may find a hiking provider in your area. (dpa)
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