Visiting Budapest and missing out the city’s Zoological and Botanical Garden, simply referred to by locals as the Zoo, would be nothing but a loss. The importance of the venue does not come down exclusively to its naturalistic significance, but it is also worth searching out by force of its historical background and architectural virtues.
The zoological garden of Budapest is one of the oldest in Europe and the largest in Hungary, having been set up in 1866 as a private institution subsequently turned into a public venue. The original facilities, as well as the general layout, were designed in the spirit of the Romantic style by Antal Szkalnitzky and Henrik Koch. After the turn of the century, Karoly Kos and Deszo Zrumeczky were commissioned to build further structures, such as the Main Gate (worldwide famed for its elephant decorative motifs), the Elephant House and the Monkey House, just to give a few examples. All the new structures were built in an Art-Nouveau style, so fashionable in the early 20th century.
The importance of the architectural patrimony is evidenced by the care with which the last restoration works (carried out in the 1990s) observed the structural and the decorative guidelines of the previous facilities.
At present, the zoo fills an area of 11 hectares, being located in the City Park, and it is a protected area which shelters thousands of animal and plant species. The animal kingdom is represented by species which range from all sorts of invertebrates to fish, mammals, birds and amphibians, whereas one of the highlights of the vegetal kingdom within the garden refers to the tropical Palm House.
A special emphasis is laid on kids’ entertainment, which is precisely why the zoo is fitted with special facilities, such as a playground and a playhouse. The fact the zoo has also conceived a program and an area where children can pet and feed the animals (cubs, in particular) is also noteworthy. The animal shows, as well as the aquariums stand as further highlights of the zoo.
The Zoological and Botanical Garden is running or is part of certain preservation and breeding programs, which is a mark of the dedication with which it undertakes its mission of protecting the animal and plant life.
Fovarosi Allat es Novenykert, 6-12, Allatkerti krt, 1146, Budapest, Hungary