I must admit that I have ambivalent feelings towards zoos: I am glad that I can see the animals, and I know that lot of zoos save species from extinction, but I still feel sorry when I see an animal in a tiny place behind bars (that is why our safari tour in Tanzania was one of the best experiences of my life).
However, Pairi Daiza is not an ordinary zoo. Okay, the animals are still locked up, but they have huge landscaped areas where some of the animals are even free to roam among the visitors. The owners have tried to recreate their natural environment, and it is so precise that it is not just great for the animals but we had the feeling we could travel the whole world within a day.
When you come here you are not just visiting a zoo with animals, but you can visit almost every continent. From America to Africa, the beautiful Chinese gardens of Asia (which happens to the be largest in Europe) and finally to Australia, which awaits at the end.
For someone who is in love with traveling, this place is a paradise.
1, Mini farm- Pet some Ponies and Goats
As soon as you enter, you will face a small ranch with farm animals, such as goats, donkeys, ponies, poultry, sheep, potbellied pigs, rabbits and more.You can walk around them, play with them and pet them. They are really friendly and it is really fun for everyone, especially for children.
2, The Crypt from a Horror movie
After the farm, when you start the actual tour, you’ll notice a huge 54m high, intimidating tower. It is a former Cistercian Abbey, which with its gothic and ruined appearance, looks like it’s from a horror movie. This building really suits the animals inside.
At its feet, you can enter a room called “The Crypt”. And it really was a crypt, as it was previously a part of an old parish church. Goosebumps? Yes! To be honest, I did not want to go in, so I only dared to go in at our 3rd visit to the park – that was more than enough.When you enter, you’ll need to get used to the darkness; I did not have much time for that, as I immediately felt the bats flying around.
They are quite big and fly really close to the visitors. It’s the only place in the zoo that I do not want to visit again! Although I disliked the inside, the outer surroundings are beautiful. There is an amazing rose garden around the abbey, where peacocks roam around you. Much better!
3, Birds, birds and more birds
Continuing your way next to the abbey, you can see a nice variety of bird species. Pairi Daiza, being a former bird sanctuary, you can find more kinds of featherheads than you can image. And not just in this area – you will find them almost everywhere in the park.
The first you will see are eagles, buzzards, falcons, vultures, and condors sitting before the small house. Though they are not in cages, they are not free as they are secured by chains. It’s not ideal but a little better than small cages. In the park, you can see them also flying around if you attend the raptor exhibition, where falconers make sure that you enjoy the beauty and elegance of these amazing animals.
Afterward, you can adore the sights of colorful parrots and listen to the chatting macaws. My favorite part was when one of the macaws tried to imitate my laugh. It was very funny. Walking further, you will find yourself in Europe’s largest cathedral aviary with red ibises and garish flamingos. It is truly an amazing picture.
4, The Aquarium and the Sharks around you
The aquarium is located in the middle of the park in a huge mansion. The building itself is beautiful already but it’s the thousands of brightly colored fish that make the place unique. Besides the large variety of fish species, including butterfly, surgeon, clownfish (Nemo!!), puffer fish etc.. you can also see jellyfish, seahorses, starfish, sponges with amazing lights. You can walk through a glass tunnel which allows various sharks and rays to swim around and above you.
Once you have left the sharks behind you, you will find a really interesting exhibition called “The mysterious cabinet of the explorer”. It is really unique and thrilling. You can see mummified animals, scary dolls, different objects from interesting tribes – even from cannibals. Goosebumps again but very interesting and worth a visit!
By the side of the mansion, you can meet chubby penguins who are cute as always. If you arrive in good time you can enjoy seal feeding when they’re jumping around and having great fun. But do not worry if you miss the feeding; you can adore the playful animals crossing the water like submarines through wide glasses.
5, The City of Immortals and the Giant Pandas
My favorite! You can cross this huge area from the cathedral aviary via a long suspension bridge and see the amazing buildings, temples and Chinese gardens (which are the largest outside of China) from above. I definitely recommend this, even if you cannot see the animals from up there. But the view is breathtaking. After this you can go back to the normal route and you can roam between the most popular and interesting animals, like the Asian black bear, giant otters, red pandas and of course the giant pandas!
A walk in the Garden of Paradies
Yes, Pairi Daiza is one of the very few zoos where you have the chance to see these marvelous creatures. Even baby panda was born on the 02/06/2016. We can proudly say that we have adopted the little Tian Bao. But not so fast!
When you enter this area, you will find yourself in a courtyard. It is a small but fascinating place with a path of stones to cross the water and also with a small waterfall with traditional plants around. Then you continue your way through the wonderful garden, with pavilions and plenty of beautiful plants around. You even find a small lake with a stunning waterfall and nice traditional decorations. On your way to the giant pandas, you will find a huge Buddhist temple, with a Buddha statue in the middle and also lots of other objects which immediately takes you to Asia.
Panda, Panda, Panda, Panda
After this spiritual journey, it is time to see the cute and very popular pandas. They have a place where you can see them outside, and also an inner place where you can watch them eating and sleeping through the glass. There are three of them in total, two big one and the previously mentioned baby. I visited them several times but they were always asleep or eating the bamboos. Still, it was an amazing experience to see them.
If you became hungry during this visit, you can stop by two restaurants or just refresh yourself with the best teas of China in the Tea House.
6, Australia – Do no Fight with the Kangoroos!
After China, you can have a quick trip to Australia as well. You can visit the three cute koalas and roam among the giant kangaroos. I suggest visiting them in the morning when the weather is still warm because if it is cold, they will go to their little house where you cannot see them. Although it is a really nice experience to walk next to them and it even feels so natural, yet so unreal at the same time. WARNING! If you are afraid of birds, do not visit the kangaroos. You will find large pelicans there. Normally they are quite calm and will not approach, but still, their enormous pink beak can be frightening.
7, When You are the Playground of the Lemurs
We continued our exotic trip to Africa and then Asia again but with a minor diversion to a very nice island of free roaming squirrel monkeys, lemurs and prosimians. During their feeding time, they will jump on your shoulders and head, totally ignoring the fact that you are also a living being. You will just become their dinner table for the time being. This was one of the most funniest experiences during my visit.
8, It’s time for Africa – Hakuna Matata!
The land of the Big Five – lions, elephants, buffalos, rhinoceroses and leopards. You’ll find yourself wandering around huge steppes and savannas before having a rest in an authentic African village with windowless houses made of red earth and with thatched roofs. While you’re there, treat yourself with some lunch while watching the playful lions and listening to the laugh of the hyenas. You can even see Timon and Pumba in real.
It is truly a unique experience.
Face to Face with the Giraffes
Do not forget about Africa’s other most famous animal, the giraffe. Next to the land of the big five, there is a giraffe lookout, where you can feed them and look deeply into their eyes up close. This is because you can ascend to around 5 meters high in this lookout to reach them. And don’t worry, they do not bite as they prefer grass to humans.
The Floating Village
You’d now think that it is already unbelievable that you have visited all the continents in one day but there is still more to see! A whole stilt village is waiting for you, which makes you feel like you have been dropped into the middle of lives of the east African people. You will see clothes drying in the sunshine, a poultry shop offers live chickens and spices. There is even a school “floating” on the water.
Behind the village, there is a huge docked ship. Yes, a docked ship. It is actually a restaurant where you can have a lunch break on the deck of the ship, while you are watching the animals around you.
9, Rice Fields and the Temple of White Tigers
Asia again, but it is more a Southeast themed area where you can feel like you were in Cambodia and visiting the Angkor temples. Afterwards, you can walk along the rice fields and temples of Bali. Even the elephants and the white tigers (the most beautiful animal on Earth!) have their own Indonesian temple. It is a huge, stunning area and is the biggest in Europe of this culture. The whole area is so detail oriented that even the toilets are authentic.
A walk in Indonesia
If you walk further, you will see the Temple of Flowers with a waterfall on the side. You can climb to the top and have a view over the whole park which is really thrilling. Next to the temple you can have a rest in a small village where the gazebos and pavilions were transformed into a work of art on location by Indonesian craftsmen.
Thailand – Feed the Elephants
So, we have seen Cambodia, India, Bali – now it’s time for Thailand. In the artist house, you can see the works of a Thai craftsman, including a small Buddhist temple which is dedicated to the elephants.
Most of the animals can be seen from lots of different points of view, so you certainly cannot miss them. You can feed the Indian elephants and watch them bathe and their performance. I normally do not enjoy animal shows but when they have their shower, I am definitely sure that they are having fun.
10, The North – Racoons, Elks and Exhibitions
After the amazing journey in Asia, you will pass by a lagoon with lots of birds, such as swans, ducks, flamingos and pelicans (again). The road next to the lake will lead you to North America, Canada, Siberia and Lapland. This area is quite new and still in progress at the time of writing, although you can already see interesting buildings and animals, including some of my favorites: racoons and beautiful elks.
Floating Restaurant, Canadian Hydroplane
The first you will notice is the Izba, which is a rustic Russian house and a restaurant floating on the lake. It is very impressive.
Then you will see a wooden house again, where the rooftop of which is covered in grass and is the home to several goats. Yeah, strange.
At the end of the tour, you can visit a workshop with exhibitions of locomotives and also a Canadian hydroplane.
Well, this was my little tour around the world in 1 day.
It was an amazing adventure, right?
But now, check my other posts. It’s time for a new Adwentour!