for your zooing pleasure

Bratislava zoo

The visitor area is 35ha. At the front, behind the entrance, are the oldest and newest animal enclosures. Not an architectural garden, but you never know! Júlia Hanuliaková, director from November 2020, is an architect. And the mayor of Bratislava is also an architect, a hipster architect at that!



With its size of 96 hectares, this zoo in the partly wooded foothills of the Small Carpathians cannot be called ordinary. It consists for the most part of a 60-ha large floodplain forest along the Vydrica towards Sitina Hill. Valleys and hills, old beeches, owls, wild foxes... Sounds good, but not open to the public. The site as it appeared at the time of its foundation is a monument.

Bear enclosure 1960
The bear enclosure is the last remnant of the zoo in the year 1960. The bear pit offers an image of a time that will soon disappear.

"Our perception of the environment in which we would like to see bears in zoos has changed a lot," says Hanuliaková in an interview.

The project plan describes a new enclosure of max 5000m2 in the Carpathian forest higher up in the zoo next to the wolf enclosure. The bison will move. There will be two outdoor enclosures connected by a walkway above the heads of the visitors, smaller isolation enclosures, and a private area. Mixed housing with other Carpathian animals is being considered.

Predator Pavilion 2006
The enclosure for big cats consists of a row of 4 outdoor and 2 indoor enclosures. The front is clad in wood and has shop windows on the visitors' side, finished with a cement edge at the bottom. In an indoor enclosure, I see the white tiger on the left and the lion on the right, looking at each other across the visitor's room in the middle. The walls of the lion have art above the sofa, painted nature. The other indoor space is kept bare.


  • The Czech and Slovak Zoo Union calls Zoo Design Inc.'s wolf enclosure the best animal shelter in 2018.
  • In 2020, the aquarium/exotarium received a sound system to enrich the visitor experience with nature sounds.
  • In 2021, the zoo and the Metropolitan Institute of Bratislava entered into a framework agreement for small architectural elements such as meadows, walkways, and aviaries.

The zoo opens May 9, 1960, with 74 animal species and 238 animals. The municipality invests some money in it, the rest comes from donations. Major setback when the zoo had to give up two-thirds of its land for sewer and highway works in 1981-1985. The same kind of bad luck in 2003 when the main entrance is moved for the Sitina motorway tunnel. Apart from a temporary closure, the garden now suffers from permanent traffic noise. The noise barrier doesn't really help. The camel enclosure dates from 2003. In 2004 a Dinopark opens.

Visit January 2023

One thing leads to another. As my son said, Bratislava is only an hour away from Vienna. A top train trip! After exploring the center, we buy bus tickets to the zoo at a kiosk. It's everything I imagine a zoo with a dinosaur park as its greatest asset to be. Large, not rich, and in hibernation. I think they are going for a naturalistic look. Along the way, I sometimes wonder if I'm still in the zoo. Like, at the unmanned side entrance at Staré Grunty and Konvalinková intersection (according to Google Maps). Feels a bit unreal. The traffic noise in the otherwise quiet zoo is disturbing. I think so, let alone the residents. Maybe they better hang some speakers on the sound system of the Aquarium to place outside 😉 Half of the information boards are blackboards for the latest news. In winter, the zoo closes at 3:30 pm. 




Zoo map Bratislava 2023

Numbers 2020

  • 1960
  • Species: 169
  • Animals: 1154
  • 96ha
  • 252 000

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