Allow at least four hours to explore Budapest Zoo, opened in 1866 as the first in Hungary. It’s found in Budapest’s City Park (Városliget) and was almost destroyed during WWII. Since then its quirky Art Nouveau Bird House, Palm House and Elephant House have been restored and the zoo expanded. Conservation programs saw the births of rare Persian leopard cubs, Asiatic lion cubs and an Indian elephant in 2013.
There are more than 950 species of mammal, birds, reptiles, fish and insects in 14 different themed zones at the zoo. There’s a lot to pack in, so get a map at the ticket office so you don’t the miss reptile house full of snakes and lizards, giraffes and gazelles in the Savannah Zone, the lemurs in Madagascar House, the lions, rare birds flying free in the aviaries and the petting farm for toddlers.
There’s plenty going on daily to keep families amused. Highlights of the zoo’s activities include the pelican feasts at 10.30am; sea lion feeding at 11am, 2pm and 4.30pm; and camel walking at 12pm. Magic Mountain is the zoo’s newest attraction, with lots of interactive games for kids plus a 3D cinema showing wildlife movies and simulation rides.
Opening hours vary from month to month but are roughly 9am-6pm daily. Entrance tickets are discounted with the Budapest Card. There are secure bicycle stands at the zoo but limited parking. Metro Line 1 to Széchenyi Fürdő.