for your zooing pleasure

Dortmund Zoo

A Waldzoo (forest zoo) where aside from the inmates also squatters occur. I once called them the free spirits in the zoo. An information sign tells you this involves 76 species of free birds and 15 mammal species.

  • #1 June 30, 2018 Sculpture by Bernd Moenikes in front of the entrance
  • 2018 Entrance zoo Dortmund
  • 2018 The zoo starts in a classic way with a lake. And an Unown pokemon
  • 2018 In het voormalige orangoetanhuis wonen nu boomkangoeroes en beermarters2018 Tree kangaroos and binturongs now live in the former orangutan house
  • 2018 Rainforest house: hexagonal
  • 2018 Rainforest house: peepholes for the visitors
  • 2018 Rainforest house: tapir enclosure
  • 2018 Rainforest house (Rumah hutan)
  • 2018 A wall defines the outdoor area that the apes share with the tapirs
  • 2018 Rainforest house: mural
  • 2018 Zookeeper at Dortmund Zoo
  • 2018 Sea lion pool
  • 2018 Signpost
  • 2018 Those glass panels and those tiles
  • 2018 Hexagonal otter house
  • 2018 Pikachu at the penguin enclosure
  • 2018 Hexagonal tamandua house featuring a parasol roof
  • 2018 Tamandua House
  • 2018 Tamandua House
  • 2018 Tamandua House
  • 2018 Hexagonal rhino building
  • 2018 Rhino building
  • 2018 Characteristic hexagons in zoo Dortmund
  • 2018 A slakoth at the Angola giraffes
  • 2018 Bird department
  • 2018 Through this door you come out on the third floor of the Amazone House
  • 2018 Built-in aquariums on the ground floor of the Amazone House
  • 2018 The free spirits in the zoo



Not what you call an architectural garden but the pavilions for hippos, tamanduas, otters, orangutans, jaguars... are all hexagonal. They contain a lot of wood or are entirely made of steel wire. Sometimes a glass hat on top, a dormer window reminiscent of a parasol roof; pagoda roof is too big a word. The repeated hexagons and the historical landscape with old trees provide a peaceful atmosphere. This zoo is geographically structured.

South America
The main part is South America featuring the tamandua house from 1989. In the tropical Amazone house (1992) you enter the second floor where birds flying loose "between the treetops". Here, you descend to the bottom dwellers on the first, while the wall on the ground floor where the Amazon River flows, features built-in aquariums.

In Rainforest house Rumah Hutan (2004) a residential community of orangutans, tapirs, and smaller. It has been realized at the request of the friends of the zoo. The zoo friends, a lottery, gifts and the municipality account for the €8.5 million building costs, while 14 years later another 200k is needed for a major refurbishment. In the outdoor area of the orangutans, a low wall defines the area they share with the tapirs.

The humans have different platforms and peepholes to view the animals at eye level. The apes have tree houses to hide from sight. Maybe there should be a camera in a tree house ... And that the apes again will cover the camera lens with something. Sir David Attenborough recommends, by the way, peepholes to respect the privacy of the gorillas.

In 1953, Dortmund is ready for its own animal park that opens on 24 May, on 9 hectares of land. In 1963, the municipality agrees to a first extension, and in 2000 the Hacheneyer Wäldchen has been designated as an expansion area.

Where in the 1970s "Tierpark" (animal park) is perceived as a well-suited name referring to the park landscape, in the 21st century Dortmund goes for the more international name "zoo".

The launch of animal enclosures

  • 1955 - Bear enclosure
  • 1956 - Sealion enclosure
  • 1978 - Predator house
  • 1985 - Farm
  • 1986 - Giraffe house
  • 1992 - Amazone huis
  • 1994 - Penguin enclosure
  • 1998 - Otter house
  • 2004 - Rainforest house, Lynx valley
  • 2006 - Rhinoceros house

When the zoo is 50, 60 years old, there is a lot of competition from leisure parks and often richer zoos in the Ruhr area that has the highest zoo density in the world. Also, there was a considerable maintenance backlog since 1980, 1990.

In 2016, the municipality comes up with a program of €31 million. This includes €5 million for the redevelopment of the sea lion enclosure while the old one is retained as a legally required secondary basin. Furthermore: Amazone house, Africa stable, bear enclosure, the large bird lake and a Yurumi park.

Visit June 2018

Sculpture Zoogucker by Bernd Moenikes stands in front of the entrance square. The zoo starts fairly common with a bird lake and a fountain like fruits and vegetables are almost always located near a store's entrance. We are here in a green family zoo with resting zones. In addition to hexagonal animal houses, glass panels are notable that seem to touch the street stones and some improvised-looking fences. Never before I have seen a tamandua house in a zoo. And yeah, in the Westfalenpark further down there is a failing Pokemon Go event going on; hence the AR photos. Thanks to Synco Schölvinck for that.

Zoo maps Dortmund



Zoo map Dortmund 2018


  • May 24, 1953
  • Species: 190
  • Animals: 1425
  • 28 ha + 11
  • 500.000 a year
  • Forest zoo

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