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Budapest Zoo reveals new features and major events

Writers

  • Petra Berende

05/04/2018 7.14pm

The city’s historic menagerie is all geared up for summer. Budapest Zoo and Botanical Garden has just announced its peak-season agenda with show feeding, musical nights and animal-friendly festivals. As part of modernizing the parkland, a new playground will soon open to welcome families with interactive games, a sizeable petting zoo and a vintage funfair that incorporates the renovated Schäfner merry-go-round from the early 20th century, bringing it back in operation. Future developments will see a new biodome, a massive new indoor enclosure to house exotic animals.

Founded in 1866, Budapest Zoo and Botanical Garden is a key landmark by Budapest’s City Park. Featuring more than 850 animal species and even more types of plants, this architecturally impressive Art Nouveau sight draws a large number of visitors year-round. Once a colossal conservation, the park’s size was gradually decreased in the late 1800s and early 20th century, making the establishment operate across a limited territory.

Photo: Mudra László - We Love Budapest

However, a few years ago, new developments were announced to expand the area and embellish the park with new features. One of the most advanced plans includes the opening of Pannon Park, forecasted for 2020, with a massive biodome to house exotic animals from habitats with warmer climates.

Photo: Mudra László - We Love Budapest

For the most recent additions, an interactive playground (Holnemvolt Vár) is being built around a century-old wooden carousel, part of the one-time Budapest funfair that closed operations in 2013. Now renovated, these intricately carved horses will be whirling again, awaiting grown-ups and children to hop aboard. Many more vintage attractions and rides will complete this section built for amusement. The new Holnemvolt Vár will also come with a petting zoo, pony rides, interactive games inspired by Hungarian animal tales, and separate quarters for domestic creatures, camels and alpacas.

Photo: Mudra László - We Love Budapest

Handicraft activities will take place around a cobblestoned courtyard, while a palatial structure will house a modern-day playhouse. The façade of this extensive establishment is to resemble a 20th-century streetscape. Holnemvolt Vár will be also accessible separately from outside the zoo for cheaper admission.

Photo: Mudra László - We Love Budapest

Meanwhile, visitors can admire cute critters that have been recently born at the zoo, including baby gorillas and kangaroos, a zebra colt, a penguin chick and a young elephant. Between April 19th and 22nd, events here raise awareness about environmental protection, as part of the annual Earth Day celebrations.

Photo: Mudra László - We Love Budapest

During the summer months, the zoo will host concerts after sunset, a distinct estival spectacle fusing human-made melodies with nature’s ambient sounds. And the last Friday of August, the park will reopen after ordinary working hours for the Night of the Zoos event, typically running until midnight.

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