Located in the Casa de Campo, the Madrid Zoo and Aquarium first opened its doors in 1770, and is currently one of the largest zoos in Spain. Sprawled out at just under 50 acres, this zoo boasts a wide range of different animals and exhibits, making it one of the city’s most popular attractions.
The Zoo Animals
The Madrid Zoo is one of the only zoos in the world to house giant pandas, making this a highlight of the visit for many. The zoo is part of a giant panda conservation program, giving you a unique opportunity to see these gentle, peaceful creatures up close. Other mammals within the zoo range from lions and tigers to giraffes and koalas, and, unlike many zoos that use cages to house their animals, the Madrid Zoo makes use of wide moats, to enable the animals to experience more of a natural habitat.
The Aquarium Animals
With a huge salt water aquarium, the Madrid Zoo and Aquarium is able to showcase quite the variety of sea creatures. The aquarium opened in 1995, and was the first marine tropical aquarium in Spain, earning it quite the reputation. From the bull shark to the sandbar shark to different sea turtle species, you are bound to see so many animals that you have never seen before here, and, thanks to the Shark Tunnel, these can be seen from such a close distance. You will also be able to explore the dolphinarium, which was built in 1987 and is home to nine bottlenose dolphins.
Shows and Exhibitions
The Madrid Zoo and Aquarium has an action-packed schedule of shows and exhibitions that visitors can watch, and these will enable them to appreciate these animals from a new perspective. The dolphin show is one that showcases the incredible skills and abilities that dolphins have when it comes to learning, while the sea lion show is another one that will have you marveling at the intelligence of these sea creatures. The free flight exotic bird show is also not to be missed, and neither is the birds of prey show, which is another free flight one.
Restaurants and Cafés
With so much to see and do at the Madrid Zoo and Aquarium, visitors tend to feel quite hungry during the day. Fortunately, there are several restaurants and cafés to choose from, and these are located all over the grounds of the zoo, meaning that you are never too far away from a bite to eat. Whether you opt for the African inspired Restaurant Kibanda or the seasonal dishes at Restaurant Bagaray, the eateries at the zoo will definitely not disappoint.
The Madrid Zoo and Aquarium is open throughout the year, although certain shows and exhibitions only take place on specific days, making it worth checking out their website in advance if there is a particular one that you are hoping to catch. This is a zoo that really strives to educate the public on animals, and the importance of conservation, making it a great place to visit with the entire family.