Budapest Zoo & Botanical Garden

Fun For the Whole Family!

The main entrance of the Zoo & the Gundel Confectionery and terrace to the left

A place where regardless of age, everyone finds something entertaining! In Budapest Zoo (Fővárosi Állat- és Növénykert) you can see around 1050 animal species from the African savannah to the arctic area, and around 2 000 plant species.

All animals live within conditions similar to their original habitat.

The Magic Hill/Varázshegy is an wondrous indoor exhibition hall on 3 000 sqm with unique exhibitions and interactive programs on several levels.

Quick Links: History of Budapest ZooTop AttractionsGeneral Information (Opening hours, tickets)Fairytale Park/Pannon ParkAttractions Near the Zoo

Small sandy dessert area, tiny forest, seaside, lakes, rock cave provide real homes for the inhabitants of the zoo, who really look well taken care of.

Extensive green patches, leafy groves, remarkable plants and flowers make the place a refreshing asylum within a bustling city.

entrance of Budapest Zoo
Two stone elephants guard
the entrance of the Zoo

The Zoo & Botanical Garden is a must-see attraction for tourists coming to our city with their kids.

Note: The Amusement Park next door closed in 2013 – the area has been given over to the Zoo.

Two new interactive parks are being devloped here:

  • the Fairytale Park (Mesepark): a story park with tame animals, play house, animal patting area, and a modern bird hospital that gives insight into the animal rescure work.
  • Pannon Park (planned opening: in two phases: 2018 and 2019): a modern exhibition area evoking the life in the ancient Pannon wilderness in spacious paddocks and a state-of-the-art indoor park, called biodome.

Bear Festival/Mackó Fesztivál in the Zoo, 02 – 05. February 2017

will have a special Bear’s Day over the first weekend of February with fun programs in the Varázshegy/Magic Hill between 10. 00 – 16.00 Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Some of the programs:

  • craft workshops: bear badge and bookmark making,
  • animal feeding shows
  • meeting with the panda family: every day at 9.30 at the panda enclosure
  • 02. Feb/Friday at 11.00: Does the bear see its shadow (Kisszikla/Small Rock)?
  • Bear Show – performance for children
  • Apiary Show by the Apiary Museum in Gödöllő town (on Saturday, 05. Feb)
  • Honey tasting and fair (on Saturday, 05. Feb)
  • Bear Theatre on the stage of the Magic Hill, musical and theatre show for kids: Saturday, Sunday at 11.00
Note: February 02. is a unique date in Hungary similar to the Groundhog’s Day observed in the USA and Canada. In Hungary the question is whether the bear sees its shadow or not?

According to folk tradition if the the answer is yes, (the sun is shining) the bear goes back to sleep and winter lasts 40 more days. If the answer is no (the sky is overcast) then it stays out to play and spring is just around the corner.

Find out about other Budapest festivals and things to do in February 2017.

A Bit of Zoo History

feeding Giraffes in the ZooAs one of the oldest zoos in the world Budapest Zoo looks back on great past and many of its monuments witnessed historic events.

It opened in 1866 as a private institution. The city took over the place at the turn of the 19th-20th centuries and started an impressive development.

The most remarkable buildings of the zoo were established at that time:

  • the India-inspired Elephant House (by Kornél Neuschloss) with a look-out tower at its top
  • the elephant head at the main entrance
  • the nearly 100-year old artificial Small and Great Rocks
  • the animal houses by Károly Koós

Most parts of the zoo underwent reconstructions during the decades. Some sections are being restored now and in the coming years too.

Flamingos at a serene lake

Two new aviaries, the Papuan Aviary and the Parrot Haven, have been added in 2006.

The polar bears and sea-lions moved to their renewed home called Arctic Panorama in June 2006.

Top Attractions in the Zoo and Botanical Garden

the Elephant House
The Zsolnay-tiled Elephant House
  • The Elephant House to the right of the entrance has a small tower at its top where you can get a beautiful panorama view of the City Park.
  • To the left of the entrance stands the Palm Tree House & Aquarium, home to lush tropical plants, orchids, birds, and reptiles and exotic fishes.
  • For the little ones the animal petting area is the most fascinating place within the zoo. They can caress and feed the goats, sheep. See our photos about our 2-year old son’s encounter with the animals.
  • the remodelled birdhouse (by Kós Károly)
  • in the Small Rock you can have a meal in the cave restaurant
  • You can see native Hungarian farm animals in original-looking farm buildings: swallow bellied woolly pigs, bold necked hens, spotted cattle, mudi dogs, cikta sheep, hucul horse.
Animal petting area
Our son petting the goats
  • In the butterfly garden colourful butterflies
  • the Majomvilág (World of Apes) gives home to gorillas, lemurs, mangabeys
  • kids can climb, crawl, slide in a superb and child-friendly playground

TIP:Summer Evening Concerts

In summer plenty extra programs keep you and your kids entertained.

The Music Evenings in the Zoo with jazz, klezmer and other light music concerts make your visit even more memorable.

Concerts are held on every Wednesday between 06. July and 24. August, and start at 20.30, but the gate opens at 19.00 so you can take a walk in the gardens, visit the Palm House and the Aquarium or have a drink or ice cream in the cafe.

Tickets: seating tickets: 3 500 HUF, can be bought in limited number at the Zoo’s cashier.

the Bird House

Should you get peckish during your exploration of the zoo, you can get snacks, ice cream and other refreshments from the vendors.

The Gundel Patisserie is highly recommended for delicious cakes and ice cream.

 Take at look our Facebook photo album about our last visit to the Zoo.

General Need to Knows

zoo map-small
Map of the Zoo (Click to Enlarge!)

Address: Állatkerti krt. 6-12, City Park (Városliget), XIV. district,

Getting there:

  • take the M1 (yellow) metro line, get off at Széchenyi fürdő stop or
  • trolley bus 72 (Állatkert stop), or 75, 79 ( Állatkerti út stop)
  • buses 20E, 30, 30A and 105: Hősök tere stop

Admission: 25 % discount  with Budapest Card.

TIP: Buy your tourist card in advance through a secure online booking system. The card entitles you to discount admission to many attractions including thermal baths and museums. You can also travel on the public transport system free with your card.
  • Adults: 2 500HUF
  • Children (2-14 years),
  • Student: 1 900 HUF
  • Pensioners: 2 200HUF
  • (Children under 14 years cannot enter the Zoo without adult supervision.)
  • Family ticket (2 adults & 2 children):   7 300HUF

Tickets are valid to the Aquarium and to the Palm House too.

Opening Hours:

  • January – February:      9.00 – 16.00 every day
  • March: Mon – Thurs: 9.00 – 17.00, Fri -Sun:  9.00 – 17.30
  • April: Mon – Thurs: 9.00 – 17.30, Fri -Sun:  9.00 – 18.00
  • May: Mon – Thurs: 9.00 – 18.30, Fri -Sun:  9.00 – 19.00
  • June-July-August: Mon – Thurs: 9.00 – 18.30, Fri -Sun:  9.00 – 19.00
  • September: Mon – Thurs: 9.00 – 17.30, Fri -Sun:  9.00 – 18.00
  • October: Mon – Thurs: 9.00 – 17.00, Fri -Sun:  9.00 – 17.30
  • November-December: 9.00 – 16.00 every day, except: 24th December and 31st December when the zoo is open from 9.00 till 13.00.

Note: The cashier closes 1 hour, the animal houses close 30 minutes before the closing time of the Zoo!

TIP: try to time your visit on a weekday (Monday is perfect because many things are closed on Monday but not the Zoo), on weekends locals and tourists overrun the Zoo.

Fairytale Park (Mese Park)/Pannon Park (will open in 2018-2019)

the historic wooden roller coaster in Mese ParkA new, awesome exhibition site named Pannon Park is being built on the site of the former Amusement Park that will transport visitors back to ancient times when elephants and apes lived in the Carpathian basin and sharks swam in the sea once occupying the area.

Attractions and activities of the Pannon Park  (you can go on a semitropical boat tour for example) will open in two stages: in 2018 and 2019.

The games and activities of the Holnemvolt Park (temporarily renamed to Fairytale Park/Mese Park) will also be renewed.

the heritage carousel in Mese Park

Some of the games from the old Amusement park will be open  o the public only in 2018-2019: the heritage merry-go-round, the wooden roller coaster and the fairy tale boat.

The rest of the park will open in 2017.

TIP: Visit the official website of the Zoo & Botanical Garden.

Other Attractions Near the Zoo

You can devote a whole day to the City Park and its neighbourhood.

the castle with a green lawn in the foreground
Vajdahunyad Castle

I recommend that you combine visiting the Zoo with a trip to the Fairytale Park (Mese Park) next door (on the site of the former Amusement Park that will open in 2017), have lunch in Bagolyvár Restaurant or at Robinson’s (make sure you book a table at both places, click to read more about these restaurants).

After lunch go rowing (skating in winter) on the Park’s lake then view the fairy-tale like Vajdahunyad Castle.

Do spare some time to take a look at the grandiose monuments at Heroes’ Square, and perhaps drop by the two museums flanking the two sides of the square (the Museum of Fine Arts and the Hall of Art) both have remarkable art collections. Note: the Museum of Fine Arts is closed till 2018 due to a major reconstruction proje ct.

Find out about other interesting children-things-to-do in Budapest.

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