Zoo and Tierpark Berlin review the situation

How were the first two weeks after reopening? How will things continue?

Zoo and Tierpark Berlin reopened their gates to visitors on 28 April 2020. After six long weeks of lockdown, many people had been eagerly awaiting this important step towards getting back to normal. Since then, many Berliners have taken advantage of the opportunity to enjoy the spring sunshine in the company of giraffes, tigers and many more animals.

Over the past two weeks, around 100,000 people visited the Zoo and Tierpark. This was made possible thanks to a new admissions system. People can only visit the Zoo and Tierpark if they book a ticket in advance online. Each ticket allows admission for a particular date and time slot. Annual pass holders must also register for a specific time slot ahead of their visit. That spreads admissions across the day and prevents large numbers of people from congregating in the same place. The Tierpark has 160 km² of accessible space and the Zoo 65 km², so there is plenty of room for visitors to move around in.

But the success of the reopening depends on the behaviour of each and every visitor. Zoo and Tierpark Berlin currently have clear rules regarding hygiene and conduct, and visitors are regularly reminded of these by signs dotted throughout the parks. “We are pleased that the vast majority of our visitors have been so supportive of the new measures and conditions,” says Zoo and Tierpark Director Dr Andreas Knieriem. “Each day at the Zoo and Tierpark I see numerous happy – and in many cases, relieved – faces. However, I would like to appeal to everyone not to start acting carelessly, and to continue to adhere to our rules. After all, that’s the only way we can keep our facilities open during this time.”

What happens during these early days will be decisive for how things continue at Zoo and Tierpark Berlin. Over the past two weeks, the conditions for visitors have been adapted and improved on an almost daily basis. Currently, the following new rules apply:

  • If spaces are still available, annual pass holders can make a reservation for their desired time slot at the service points by the entrances without having to go online. These service points are clearly signposted.
  • Reduced-price tickets can now be purchased for visits on weekdays after 2 p.m. from the service points by the entrances, depending on availability. Reduced tickets are for school pupils, students, trainees, unemployed people and disabled people carrying the relevant identification.
  • Just a few days after the reopening, the timeslots of 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 1 to 5 p.m. were joined by a third timeslot from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. From 18 May, an additional timeslot from 3 p.m. was also made available. An evenly spread distribution of visitors over the various timeslots also means admission at the entrances is staggered.
  • On 15 May, the Zoo and Tierpark playgrounds reopened. The water play area in the Tierpark, however, will remain closed for the foreseeable future. Of course, the rules regarding hygiene and conduct also apply at the playgrounds.
  • The panda cubs can now be seen (with a little luck) in the Panda Garden on weekdays only. They will not be on view on weekends, public holidays or the long holiday weekends. Currently, access to the Panda Garden will only be possible on days with relatively few visitors.

For detailed information about the rules of conduct and the precautions being taken at Zoo and Tierpark Berlin, see: https://www.zoo-berlin.de/de/aktuelles/news/artikel/ihr-besuch-zu-corona-zeiten.

Of course, Zoo and Tierpark Berlin are continuously working to improve conditions for visitors. However, the extent to which they are able to do so will depend on how things progress over the coming days and weeks.

Despite all the restrictions, the majority of the animals in the Zoo and Tierpark are on view to visitors. The elephants, primates and others are enjoying the spring sunshine in their outdoor habitats. Also, many of the animals have been welcoming young into the world. Over the past few days babies have been born to the takins and Bactrian camels in the Tierpark and to the ibexes and baboons in the Zoo. The reindeer and bearded vultures at both facilities also have new additions to their families.