Rotterdam Zoo Blijdorp (Diergaarde Blijdorp) is one of the oldest and largest zoos in the Netherlands. With up to 1.5 million visitors each year, the zoo is one of Rotterdam’s top attractions.
In this article, we’ve put together all you need to know before visiting the zoo. We’ll introduce you to the must-see animals in the zoo, opening hours, parking, discount on tickets as well as other practical tips.
Is Blijdorp Zoo Worth Visiting?
Blijdorp Zoo is absolutely worth visiting! It’s one of largest and oldest zoos in the Netherlands. With over 26 hectares and 6,000 different kinds of animals, there is a lot to see and to do here. The zoo is particularly popular with families.
One of the things that make this zoo so beautiful is that the animals are divided into continents. You can visit Asia, Europe, Africa, Riviera Hall, South America and North America in just one day.
The zoo has made a lot of effort to recreate the natural living spaces of the animals so that they live in harmony with the ecosystem they’re familiar with. The concept is comparable to the eco-displays at Burger’s Zoo Arnhem (another popular zoo at the other side of the country).
Popular Animals at Zoo Blijdorp
The zoo is home to nearly 6,000 different kinds of animals, spread over 26 hectares. Despite the large number of animals, there are some animals that are everyone’s darling. Below are the most popular enclosures or animals at Rotterdam zoo that you should not miss out on during your visit.
The Oceanium is undoubtedly one of the visitors’ favorites. The glass-covered path is like visiting an underwater world! The huge aquarium is home to countless fish species, including sharks.
Among the most popular animals at Blijdorp zoo is the elephant family. The family currently has three adult elephants and their babies. In the past decades, many elephant babies were born at this zoo. Born in 1984, elephant Bernhardine was the first elephant ever born at a Dutch zoo. The elephant family can be observed on site in their beautiful enclosure or through the zoo’s webcams.
One of the things we like the most about Rotterdam Zoo is that the zoo shares the story and news of their animals. Many of their animals have names (e.g. Irma the elephant). On the zoo’s website, you can find information on the animals, their age and story and how to identify them.
From cute baby elephants to rebellious gorillas, some inhabitants of the zoo have gained nationwide popularity. One incident that made headlines worldwide in 2007 is the gorilla Bokito escaping from his enclosure. His escape resulted in the entire zoo being evacuated that day. Ultimately, Bokito was caught and put back into his enclosure. The zoo installed a five-meter wall at the enclosure to avoid Bokito (any other gorilla) from escaping again. The word “bokitoproof” which was invented to describe the word was chosen to be the word of the year 2007.
After a long life and popularity at Zoo Blijdorp, Bokito the gorilla died on 4th April 2023 at the age of 27.
With about 6,000 species at Rotterdam Blijdorp, you’ll come across certain animals unique to this zoo. For example, the Okapis, a rare species of forest giraffes located in the zoo’s central African jungle area. The unique Gelada baboons from Ethiopia can also only be seen here at the Rotterdam Zoo.
There are many more wonderful and unique animals in this zoo, such as spotted hyena, rhinoceros, meerkats, giraffes, lions and tigers.
Animal Feedings & Activities
Animal feedings are always unique to experience. At Diergaarde Blijdorp, there are feedings scheduled every day of the week so you’re bound to see at least one. Other than animal feeding, you can also watch the staff taking care of the animals. Seeing the elephants happy when getting a shower on a hot summer day was definitely one of our highlights!
Blijdorp zoo is a hugely popular place to visit with children. There are two large playgrounds at Blijdorp, one of which is indoors and the other one is outdoors.
Biotopia is the indoor playground at the zoo where young kids can run around and play. It’s also a great place for children to learn about which animals live together in different habitats. Oewanja kid jungle is a large outdoor playground at the zoo. The best part is the four-flour climbing area at the playground. Kids can climb up the African-style tower and then glide down.
Admission and Tickets
Rotterdam Zoo tickets are available for purchase online or on site, at the day of your visit. Tickets are €27 for adults and €22 for children aged 3 to 12. Babies and children below 2 years of age have free entry.
We recommend that you purchase your tickets online in advance. Online tickets are €2 cheaper compared to tickets bought on site. When booking online, you’ll pay €25 for an adult and €20 for a child.
If you visit the zoo at least 4 times a year, a year ticket is a good option for you. Their year ticket is currently €90 for one adult, or €240 per year for two adults with up to five children.
Rotterdam Zoo is open daily from 9 am to 6 pm during summer months and until 5 pm during winter month. The zoo is open 7 days a week, including most public holidays. On Sinterklaas (5th December), Christmas Eve (24th December) New Year’s Eve (31st December) the opening hours are from 10 am to 5 pm.
How Much Time at Blijdorp?
You can easily spend a full day at Blijdorp Zoo! If you visit for the first time or don’t come here often, you should arrive in the early morning when the zoo is less crowded. It usually gets very busy in the afternoon, especially on weekends.
Many people visit the zoo frequently (some people come here weekly or even daily). In this case it makes sense to visit specific sections of the zoo thoroughly.
Our Tip: Make sure you have walking shoes on! The zoo is big so it truly is a one-day event and you’ll be walking a lot. Bring water and stay hydrated especially if you’re visiting in summer.
How to Get There
The zoo is easily reached by car or public transport.
Rotterdam Zoo is located in the Blijdorp district in the north of Rotterdam. If you go here by car, take the Blijdorp exit on the A20. Once you reach this area, the route to Blijdorplaan is well marked.
Address (parking & main entrance): Blijdorplaan 8, 3041 JG Rotterdam, Netherlands
Our Tip: Use Google Maps to find your way here. If you don’t have data while on the road, download the map for offline access.
There is a large car park in front of the zoo. A parking day ticket is €10 (€6.50 if you have a year-ticket for the zoo).
If you’re visiting during peak season, the zoo’s main parking (P1) may be very busy. In case it’s full, note that there’s another parking option (P2) under the A13 driveway. Additionally, parking is available along the Horvathweg and the Van Aerssenlaan/Bentincklaan, which run beside Sparta Stadium.
By Public Transport (Metro)
The best way to get to Blijdorp by public transport is by metro. There is a metro station (Blijdorp) within walking distance of the zoo’s main entrance. Rotterdam’s metro line D and E are the two metro lines that go to Blijdorp. The trip from the main station Rotterdam Centraal to Blijdorp takes about 5 minutes (one stop).
For the protection of the zoo’s resident animals, dogs and any other pets are not allowed at the zoo. There are also no kennels available for use. An exception is made for assistance dogs (notify the zoo in advance if you intend to visit with an assistance dog).
Food and Drinks
There are plenty of cafes and restaurants inside the zoo where you can purchase snacks, drinks and meals. There are also food trucks and coffee spots spread throughout the zoo.
Rotterdam Zoo can definitely be enjoyed by those who require a wheelchair to get around. The zoo has wheelchair routes and wheelchairs are available for free. Due to the limited number of wheelchairs available, it’s best to call ahead and reserve a wheelchair.
Accommodations Nearby Rotterdam Zoo
Rotterdam is the second-largest city in the country and the capital city of the province of South Holland. As such, there’s no shortage of accommodation to suit every taste and budget. As for those nearby the zoo itself, here’s a quick rundown.
- Van der Valk Hotel Rotterdam Blijdorp is just a short 3-minute walk from Rotterdam Zoo so it’s an excellent choice location-wise.
- ibis budget Rotterdam The Hague Airport is a bit more pocket-friendly and it’s 10 minutes by car to the zoo.
- Mr. Lewis is a boutique hotel that’s only 10 minutes by car to the zoo. Walking would take you about 25 minutes.
If you want to know where else you can stay in Rotterdam, please read our full review and recommendations for hotels in Rotterdam.
Share Your Thoughts and Questions!
Have you ever been to Arnhem or are you planning to visit soon? Share your experience and questions in the comments section down the page. We’d love to hear from you!