Artis Royal Zoo (or Natura Artis Magistra) is one of Amsterdam's premier visitor attractions - a magnificent zoo set in a large park in the picturesque Plantage area of the city.
It is lovely place to spend a few hours...
Artis was originally founded in 1838 making it the oldest zoo in Netherlands. It is home to some 900 animal species and 250 variety of trees including Amsterdam's oldest monumental tree - the Heimans Oak dating from 1750. The grounds are beautifully landscaped and contain some fine listed buildings - particularly the Aquarium from 1882.
Facilities at the zoo are excellent and signage at the animal enclosures include English translations.
Some of the highlights at Artis include:
Lemur Land - check-out the cheeky lemurs and their sunbathing technique.
Sea Lions - watch the sea lions being trained and fed twice daily (1130 and 1545). A number of similar zookeeper's talks are held throughout the day around the zoo - given in Dutch but questions can be asked in English.
Savannah - see giraffes, zebras, springboks, gnus and ostriches together with Amsterdam's Entrepotdok canal in the background.
Gorilla House - come face-to-face with a family of gorillas.
Planetarium - visual exhibit on stars and space. Note, shows are in Dutch though English shows are available on request.
Insectarium - a big collection of creepy crawlies
Butterfly Pavilion - step in to this tropical enclosure and surround yourself with thousands of butterflies, including the striking Blue Morpho.
Aquarium - see displays of tropical fish and discover underneath an Amsterdam canal. Next door is housed the Zoological museum.
Kitchen - Have a peak through the kitchen window at the Pheasantry where Artis staff prepare food for the animals.
Artis is a brilliant place for kids - obviously it does get busy, particularly during the Dutch school holidays. There is a small petting zoo on the right just after the entrance. Comprehensive facilities are provided including children's playgrounds, a number of restaurants/cafes and a poffertje house selling mini-pancakes.
Free guided tours in English (minimum party of 8) are available on request - book at least 2-3 weeks ahead. A useful English map of Artis can be purchased at the front desk.
Artis has a number of theatres and venues (including the Aquarium) available for hire for private meetings and events.
Artisplein is a new public space at Artis which is freely open to the public, accessible during the zoo's opening hours.
Artis Royal Zoo Essential Info
Opening Times: Daily 0900-1800 (April-October) and 0900-1700 (November to March). On Saturdays during the summer (June-August) the zoo closes at sundown. Open 365 days of the year.
Admission Prices (2014): Standard admission to Artis Zoo is €19.95 for all aged 10+ and €16.50 for children aged 3-9. For a discount of 25% visit during September though you will need to print out a discount voucher from the Artis site.
Getting There: Artis can easily be reached from the centre of Amsterdam on foot - head towards Waterlooplein and continue further east along the Plantage Middenlaan. By public transport you can take tram 14 from Dam Square or tram 9 from Central Station to stop Plantage Kerklaan.
Canal Bus and Rederij Lovers have canal boat tours which stop at Artis (Entrepotdok pier). There is also a large car park 150m from the entrance gates.
Artis Magistra, Plantage Kerklaan 38-40
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