The Berlin Jungle
Annabelle Mallia’s fascination with the animal kingdom inspired her to explore the wilder side of town.
Places to visit with guaranteed animal encounters.
A red squirrel scurrying up a tree, rabbits darting in and out of bushes at the local Volkspark, perhaps a bushy-tailed fox in search of food scraps, and if you’re lucky, a wild boar in the Grunewald forest: these are the usual wild animal sightings in Berlin. If you don’t want to take your chances, there are plenty of places to visit where animal encounters are guaranteed.
LIFE’S A ZOO
Berlin Zoo (Hardenbergplatz, www.zooberlin.de) has over 20,000 animals of more than 1000 different species, making it one of the biggest collections of fauna in the world. Favorites are the monkey house, the nocturnal level in complete darkness, and the petting zoo where kids can get up close and personal with all of old McDonald’s farm animals. Its eastern counterpart is Tierpark (Am Tierpark 125, www.tierpark-berlin.de). Covering a wide area around the Friedrichsfelde palace, this is one of the largest parks in Europe and home to the ever-popular vari and lemur forest, a large enclosure you can walk through while the animals walk above your heads – or, sometimes, on your shoulders. On a smaller scale, Domäne Dahlem (KöniginLuise-Str. 49, www.domaene-dahlem.de) is a functional farm (they call themselves an open-air museum) conceived to give kids and grown-ups a peek into living off the land, with farm animals, a veggie garden, and an old tractor and manor house. Should you wish to squeeze in some zoological highlights while shopping, head to the towering cone-shaped bird cages at Neues Kranzler Eck just off the Ku’damm, home to a variety of parrots and other exotic birds, happily pecking and squawking away.