Wilhelma Zoo is a combined zoological park and botanical garden. Spend a day admiring colorful plants from around the world and get up-close with creatures from the wild. Wilhelma Zoo spreads across 70 acres (28 hectares) of glorious parkland, which was designed in the 1800s as a summer residence for King Wilhelm I. Many of the displays and exhibitions are set in a striking series of Moorish-style bathhouses.
The zoo has a collection of around 10,000 animals, which represent some 1,000 species, all housed in reproductions of their natural habitats. See African gorillas, spider monkeys, polar bears and Himalayan goats. Gaze in awe at the kaleidoscope of colors visible in the aquarium and come face-to-face with predatory beasts such as the black jaguar. Watch birds fly overhead as you stroll amid the walk-in aviaries and then spot butterflies, fossils and tarantulas in the insectarium.
The botanical garden area boasts thousands of different plant types. Marvel at the many varieties of elegant orchids and walk through the recreation of a South American rainforest. Find examples of cactus, fern trees, succulent plants and tropical fruits. Don’t miss the titan arum, a flowering plant native to Sumatra whose inflorescence can grow up to 9.8 feet (3 meters) in height.
If hunger strikes, then take a break at one of the zoo’s three restaurants. Each has indoor and outdoor seating and serve everything from light snacks and seasonal cuisine to coffee, ice cream and other sweet goods.
The zoo and botanical garden are about a 15-minute drive from Stuttgart’s city center. Metro stations are nearby. If you are driving, parking is available, for a fee, in a large lot. A pleasant way to get here is to walk via the Das Grüne U (The Green U), a series of parks and gardens that stretch northeast from Schlossgarten.
Wilhelma Zoo is open year-round and there’s an admission fee. Discounted tickets are available for children, families and students. Guided tours in English present the chance to go behind the scenes at the zoo’s varying areas. Visit the attraction’s official website for further information.