Schönbrunn Zoo in Vienna, Austria

The historically grown Schönbrunn Zoo has already been voted the best zoo in the world three times and attracts two million visitors every year with its polar bears, pandas and baby elephants.

The zoo at Schönbrunn Palace is not only attractive for its rare animal species and spacious enclosures, it is also the oldest zoo in the world and the first zoo to succeed in giving birth to a baby elephant and a baby panda in captivity.


With two million visitors a year, the zoo is one of our top 10 sights in Vienna. In the record year 2008, the Schönbrunn Zoo was even the most visited sight in the whole of Austria with 2.6 million visitors. Since 1996, the zoo, together with Schönbrunn Palace, has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Visit to Schönbrunn Zoo

The panoramic train through the grounds of Schönbrunn Palace also stops at the zoo, Vienna, Austria - © James Camel / franks-travelbox
© James Camel / franks-travelbox

Schönbrunn Zoo is home to over 500 animal species, from Siberian tigers to meerkats and from polar bears to rockhopper penguins. The enclosures at Schönbrunn Zoo are particularly spacious and close to nature. The area for the armoured rhinos is one of the largest enclosures in Europe.

In order to observe the animals better, the bars have long since been replaced by glass panes or water moats. For this reason, Schönbrunn Zoo is one of the most modern and best zoos in the world.

In addition to the large mammals in the outdoor enclosures, visitors are thrilled by the Rainforest House, the South America area and the Orang.erie with its orangutans. Workshops, guided tours and a nature discovery trail bring zoo visitors closer to nature and also draw attention to the threats posed to the animal world by humans.

New attractions and animal houses are built every year. Since 2014, you can watch polar bears and penguins under water in the almost 2,000 square metre "Franz-Josef-Land".

Even with the modern facilities, the zoo's management is always careful to preserve the appealing charm of the historic buildings. For example, the historic sundial house from 1904 was converted into the desert house and and the enclosures of the monkeys, orangutans or elephants are also located in historic buildings.

Sensational offspring at Schönbrunn Zoo

Elephant offspring at Schönbrunn Zoo, where the first baby elephant was born in captivity in 1906, Vienna, Austria - © James Camel / franks-travelbox
© James Camel / franks-travelbox

In 1906, the first baby elephant born in captivity was born in Vienna. A sensation for the world at that time. The first naturally conceived panda in captivity was also born at Schönbrunn Zoo.


When little Fu Long saw the light of day in 2007, the whole world was able to watch him completely unnoticed via a webcam in the birth box of mother and child. In 2019, the polar bear girl Finja was the star of Schönbrunn Zoo.

Tip: The Schönbrunn Zoo website provides information on which young animals can currently be visited.

History of the Schönbrunn Zoo

Zoo visitors can dine in imperial surroundings at the century-old Imperial Pavilion at Schönbrunn Zoo in Vienna, Austria - © James Camel / franks-travelbox
© James Camel / franks-travelbox

The precursors of Schönbrunn Zoo date back to 1752, when Marie Theresa's husband, Emperor Franz I Stephan of Lorraine, had a menagerie built in the garden of Schönbrunn Palace.

In the midst of the 13 animal enclosures at the time was a small pavilion where the emperor and empress ate their breakfast. This imperial pavilion still serves today as a café and restaurant where zoo visitors can dine in an imperial ambience.

In1779 the steadily growing zoo was opened to the public for the first time - at that time still free of charge. When Emperor Joseph II went on an animal hunt in Africa and the first giraffe was seen in the zoo in 1828, all of Vienna was in giraffe fever, from fashion to plays.

At the end of the Empire, the zoo became the property of the Republic of Austria. After extensive restorations after the Second World War, in which many animals were also killed by the bombing, the Schönbrunn Zoo was on the verge of bankruptcy in 1992 and could only be saved by privatisation. Numerous sponsors and higher entrance fees were able to save the zoo from imminent ruin and still contribute to the further development of the animal population and enclosures.

Related links:

Official website of the Schönbrunn Zoo in Vienna with opening hours and admission prices