Visiting the Opel Zoo

The Opel Zoo is one of those places that I have passed so many times in the past 25 years, but until recently had never actually visited.

Located between Kronberg and Königstein on the B455, I used to drive past it every day on the way to work, later on the way to client appointments, and any time that we travel by car towards Cologne.

Actually what I was driving past was the main entrance and part of the car park.  In fact the car park is not only much bigger, there is an overflow car park located deep into the woods as well.

The main entrance to the Opel Zoo next to the B455The main entrance to the Opel Zoo

The zoo itself is not cheap to visit.  The normal adult entrance fee – which also applies to children 15 and over – is €15.50, with children aged between 3 and 14 costing €8,50 (at the time of writing in 2019).

Once inside, it can be quite confusing the find people queuing for tickets at a second entrance.  This is down to the fact that a public footpath runs through the middle of the zoo.  It is therefore possible to walk from Kronberg or Königstein and enter part of it without going through the main entrance.  The “Philosophenweg” has been the topic of much political debate in recent years, with alternatives suggested taking a detour outside the zoo or bridges across it for visitors, but for now it is still there and signs warn those on it not to leave the path without buying a ticket first.

The Philosophenweg in the middle of the Opel ZooThe Philosophenweg is a public footpath that runs through the middle of the Opel Zoo

Whilst the footpath may split the zoo roughly 50/50 by area, the same cannot be said of the animals.  Most of them are inside the fenced off area once you pass through the inner entrance.

Although you don’t strictly need to follow the signs to walk around the zoo, there is a suggested route.  And that route contains some gates that only allow you to pass through in one direction, so that itself is probably a good reason to stick to it.

Nearer the second entrance there is a playground, and an area with small goats that children can stroke.  It is also possible to easily return to this area at the end of the guided route.

Otherwise the zoo a number of larger animals to see, such as the African elephants, giraffes, cheetahs, zebras, lynx, a penguin area and an aviary.  In total there are 230 types of animal to see, with around 1,600 individual animals in total, spread out over 27 hectares.

There are also a few places to buy food and drink, or ice cream, but just as well there are picnic tables for families to sit at.

When we visited we spent all day at the zoo, and given the amount to see and the entrance price, this is probably the best thing to do unless you live locally and intend to go there on a regular basis, at which point the annual ticket may work out to be a better offer.

The opening times vary depending on the month and can be found on www.open-zoo.de.

About Graham

Graham Tappenden is a British ex-pat who first came to Germany as a placement student in 1993, returning in 1995 to live there permanently. He has been writing for AllThingsGerman.net since 2006. When not writing blog posts or freelancing for the Oberurseler Woche and other publications he works as a self-employed IT consultant solving computer problems and designing websites. In 2016 he gained German citizenship.

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