ARTIS Amsterdam Royal Zoo is nestled in the heart of, you guessed it, Amsterdam. It’s not only the oldest zoo in Amsterdam but one of the oldest in Europe, although it’s hard to tell. The entire zoo is so well maintained and decorated!
It features lots of outdoor exhibits and animals but also has small houses. There’s the the Reptile house, Small mammal house and even a butterfly room. It also boosts an amazing aquarium and a planetarium. ARTIS also contains a handful of historically erected buildings that date back to 1867! There’s also a quaint Dutch garden that changes with the seasons. How cool is that?
There’s also an extensive breeding program that ARTIS supports. It was so nice to see the posters and signage about which animals had breed and how their babies are doing.
Many of the animals were common but it’s always exciting to see lions and elephants again. But imagine my surprise when I saw a racoon exhibit! Those little guys are everywhere where I grew up! It hadn’t even occurred to me that animals in American are exotic in Europe.
As per usual, the animals were quite close to see. We even commented on how the lions looked they could leap out at the crowd at any given moment.
I loved seeing the wolves on exhibit too. It’s known that there are no wild wolves in the Netherlands, for 100 years now, so getting to see them is always a treat. The three ARTIS had were all white and gorgeous.
The attraction I enjoyed the most was the Aquarium. I like to joke that I have the ocean in my blood since my father was a sailor. I suppose Sander does as well since he’s 100% Dutch. We always make it a point to see the fish in any outing that provides the luxury of an aquarium. This place blew my mind! There were at least three gigantic corridors with floor to ceiling tanks on one side. These huge tanks showcased everything from the largest fish on display, to a typical Amsterdam street and the fish found in local canals. It’s so well done and planned out, definitely the highlight of the trip.
Of course we had to end the day with some poffertjes. We watched them as they cooked. They were served with a heap of powdered sugar and a dollop of butter. These are small fluffy pancakes which are so delicious to eat! What makes them poffertjes are the fact that they’re so tiny and are made with flour and wheat. I keep telling Sander that we need to get a pan to make them because I would love to have them more often!
We spend about 5 hours touring the entire place but still ran out of time. The Planetarium was the last stop on the list but it was a show and we had missed them for the day. I would not mind going back though, it was fantastic.
Online tickets for children are €17.00, for adults €20.50 and children under two years of age are free anytime. The park hours vary by season though so it’s best to plan the trip and be aware of their hours.