Munich Zoo in Hellabrunn

(Photo credit - Tierpark Hellabrun Facebook)

If your traditional stereotype of zoos is enclosed spaces and cages, then a visit to Munich zoo in Hellabrunn will make you think again. Relying on the clever use of moats, a surprising number of animals are not caged at all, with generous space per animal and the freedom to roam simulating at least a partial feeling of seeing the animals in the wild. 

Hellabrunn comes across as more of a park than a zoo, and the numerous families strolling round its leafy green quarters make it reminiscent of the Englischer Garten at times. Annual large family tickets at just 98 euro (just 49 for a small family) are a bargain, and the zoo makes for an excellent place to expore the animals, enjoy the considerable nature, as well as kids entertainment and gastronomy options. 

The zoo was opened to the public in 1911, and its 36-hectare location on the banks of the Isar are conveniently located by the U-Bahn station Thalkirchen (Tierpark) on the U3, from where the entrance is a pleasant 3-minute walk over the bridge. 

Seasonal opening times are as follows:

01.01.15 to 27.03.15 9am-5pm
28.03.15 to 24.10.15 9am-6pm
24. & 31.12.15 9am-4pm

There are a number of daily shows:

Elephant Show
The Asian elephants at Hellabrunn Zoo do a daily workout with their keepers.
Daily show, starts 2:15pm
28.03.-24.10., except in exceptional weather - storm, snow or rain
Elephant exhibit

Polar Bear Talk
The daily Polar Bear Talk gives visitors an opportunity to meet the zookeepers and learn more about this majestic species, and in particular, the polar bear family living at Hellabrunn Zoo.
daily, starts 3.30pm
Polar World, polar bear enclosure

Flipper Show
The Californian sea lions are one of the favourite attractions for visitors to Hellabrunn Zoo. If you want to find out why, then come to Polar World and see the show.
Daily Show (except Fridays), starts 11:30am and 2:30pm
Polar World, sea lion pool

Birds of prey show
Experience breathtaking moments at the birds of prey show at Hellabrunn Zoo.
Daily show, starts 1:45pm
All year round, except in exceptional weather - storm, snow or rain
Show arena

Pigeon show
Prepare to be amazed by the impressive skills of the sporting pigeons.
Daily show, starts 3:00pm
28.03.-15.09., except in exceptional weather - storm, snow or rain
Show arena

Animal walk
Take a walk with llamas or ponies around the children's area of the zoo.
Animal walk, daily, starts 11:15am
All year round, except in exceptional weather - storm, snow or rain
Meeting point: Show arena

Daily entrance tickets are 14 euro for adults, 5 euro for kids (4-14) and kids younger go free.

A family ticket with one parent is 17 euro, with both is 30 euro.

For more details, include a map, information on the animals, children's entertainment and gastronomy options, visit the official website here

Here is an overview of our first visit.

Paul Bradbury

After 12 years living on the most gorgeous island in the world, Hvar in Dalmatia, I have begun to wonder if there is still life beyond its shores. Prior to discovering Paradise in 2002, I was a world traveller, living and working in Japan, Georgia, Somalia, Rwanda, Russia... and Munich.

After 95 countries and some 25 years have passed, the memories of my year in the hotel industry in the Bavarian capital (fired by the Sheraton for losing our pet snake, the first male chambermaid at Hotel Arabella, and a truly eye-watering introduction to five-star living in  my days as a bellboy in luxury Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten) are strong, and the call of Munich has been a constant theme over the last quarter century. 

And so here I am, answering the call some 25 years later. Twelve years of island living have changed me for sure, but also left me curious about life in a big city, and whether or not I could adapt to it after such an insular decade. 

I was surprised to see that for such a magnificent multi-cultural city, English-language blogs and regularly updated information are not that available. Static tourism information, such as that provided by the excellent tourist board website yes, but accounts of daily life delivered daily? Hard to find.

And so I have decided to take a break from my idyllic island and see if I could live in a city again. And what better way to try than to discover modern Munich in all its facets after so many years. It is a journey of discovery which I am relishing, and I hope the site proves to be of interest for Munich residents and its numerous visitors.

About Paul Bradbury

Author of Lebanese Nuns Don't Ski, Lavender, Dormice and a Donkey Named Mercedes and Hvar's first comprehensive guidebook, Hvar: An Insider's Guide to Croatia's Premier Island, as well as co-author of Split: An Insider's Guide with Mila Hvilshoj, I have lived in Dalmatia full time since 2003. In addition to running Total Munich, I also run Total Split (, Total Hvar ( and Total Inland Dalmatia (, as well as being an accredited Google News journalist for Digital Journal in Canada.

I also have various blogging clients, including the Central Dalmatia Tourist Board, European Coastal Airlines, Touristar TV and Andro Tomic Wines, and print clients include Qatar Airways inflight magazine, Out! magazine from New York, and Croatian Hotspots. 

In December 2014 I was delighted to receive the Marko Polo 2014 Award from FIJET Croatia (Federation of International Travel Writers and Journalists)  at a ceremony for the Croatian Journalists Society for the best international tourism promotion of Croatia. More here.

Ongoing writing projects:

A History of Hajduk Split, co-author with Frane Grgurevic - in 2015

Around the World in 80 Disasters - out in 2015

Total Hvar in the Media:

Interview of the Month, Croatian Embassy in Washington (May 2013)

Special Feature in Globus Magazine (May 2013)

Featured on Croatian TV show, More (2012) - watch the report here

Interviews in Slobodna Dalmacija, Dalmacijanews, Radio Split

I am available for writing services. Please contact me on [email protected] or visit my main writing website, 

Website: Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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