Antwerp Zoo  » Travel  »
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Antwerp Belgium
  • For small children, I definitely recommend bringing some snacks and drinks
  • This will help you avoid having to stand around in long lines at the refreshment vendors

    • by Road Warrior
      all reviews
      The Antwerp Zoo is directly across the street from the central train station. This was great for me since I had just arrived by train and had made a special trip for the zoo. I was eager to see this place. All the guidebooks raved about it. My advice to you, don’t read the guidebooks. Throw them out. Otherwise, your disappointment will likely be greater than it needs to be. Far more important to me than just the quality of the artificial habitats, or the amount of creatures available, is the overall physical and mental health of the animals on display. To me, those two factors are what indicate the true quality of a zoo.

      Antwerp Zoo failed miserably. What I saw from the animals - shocked me. Most looked and acted depressed. One elephant was slumped against a wall in the far corner of his enclosure. He was tall enough to peer over the barrier and onto the nearby footpath. He wasn’t there for the view. He just wanted a little shade and a

      little privacy. It looked like he would have neither.

      Some zoo goers came within a few feet. He tried hard to ignore them. It was a pathetic site, a gloomy elephant surrounded by people indifferently tossing peanuts at him. I wondered what was wrong with the elephant, so I walked over to get a closer look. Large dark streaks ran down from his eyes. I told myself it couldn’t be tears. Can elephants cry? I wasn’t sure. In the previous enclosure, I had watched a zebra glum around in despair.

      Mud was caked all over its hind quarters. It was dried there. I’m aware that herd animals like to take dirt baths. I don’t think that was the case here. Somehow you could tell he had lain in the mud and just hadn’t cared enough to get up and out of it. He stood stiffly and hobbled a few steps as though trying to keep up with his imaginary herd. He didn’t graze. He didn’t roam.

      He wasn’t sleeping. He just stood around with his ...

      • eyes glazed over. I had the sense that if a lion suddenly sprang into the pen, the poor lone zebra would have begged the carnivore to eat him. This attitude or air of depression seemed to be shared by the overwhelming majority of animals I viewed this day. A very few were fine. The bears were great. There were several different kinds in cages grouped closely together. They were alert and moving about.

        The giraffe had their heads stuffed inside feed bags dangling from the branches of a large tree in their compound. They were fine, too. But that was about the extent of it. Each successive enclosure revealed animals that seemed to be in states of mental misery. If it had been just the elephant, or just the zebra, I may never have noticed. But, almost every animal here was radiating gloom. So, you have to ask yourself: Do they have feelings? Is it possible for animals to suffer depression? After visiting the Antwerp Zoo, there’s no doubt in my mind they do. It

        is also one of the reasons why I won’t rate the zoo very highly.

        For the physical aspects of the park, I’d have to give it another failing grade. Granted, the zoo is over 100 years old and it is cramped into the downtown area. So, space is at a premium. Do not expect paved walkways. Gravel is used to line the paths. If you are pushing a baby in a stroller, make sure you bring an off road version with 4×4 capabilities. Another consideration, plan your lunch. Decide ahead of time if you will dine at a nearby restaurant outside the zoo or if you should pack a meal.

        On site restaurants are often unreliable as to availability. Variety is always lacking. For small children, I definitely recommend bringing some snacks and drinks. This will help you avoid having to stand around in long lines at the refreshment vendors. This is Europe. Bringing your own supplies is almost expected, so don’t be shy about it. That’s it. I have to rate the Antwerp Zoo: Two Thumbs Down - Whole heartedly.

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    The review was published as it's written by reviewer in April, 2006. The reviewer certified that no compensation was received from the reviewed item producer, trademark owner or any other institution, related with the item reviewed. The site is not responsible for the mistakes made. 3870445110330/k2311a047/4.7.06
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