Rotterdam Zoo Blijdorp (Diergaarde Blijdorp) is one of Rotterdam’s top attractions, receiving anywhere between 800K to 1.5 million visitors each year. That’s no surprise since it’s one of the most historic (opened in 1857) and extensive zoos in the Netherlands. Below you will find all the information you need to plan a successful trip to Rotterdam Zoo Blijdorp.
Rotterdam Zoo Attractions
Spread over 26 hectares, and offering nearly 6,000 different kinds of animals, Rotterdam Zoo offers many attractions for young and old alike.
World Tour in One Day
One of the things that make this zoo unique is that the animals are divided into continents. So in one day, you can visit Asia, Europe, Africa, Riviera Hall, South America, and North America. It’s important to note that the animals are not just ‘grouped per continent’. 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.
This also means that you will come across certain animals unique to this zoo. For example, the Okapis, a rare species of 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.
Especially for children aged 4-10, Biotopia is the place to be. It’s an indoor playground where kids can run around and learn about which animals live together in different habitats.
The Oewanja Kid Jungle, on the other hand, is an extensive outdoor playground where kids can run wild and play in the big jungle tower and other outdoor playsets.
Head over to the Chinese Garden for some tranquil respite from the hustle and bustle of the other zoo areas. Another point of pride is the Zoological and Botanical Gardens, making Diergaarde Blijdorp the first zoo in the country to be awarded the prestigious Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) certification.
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! Please check their site for their advised schedule.
Our Tip: Due to the temperament of the animals and depending on the weather, schedules may change so download their Blijdorp App from the Google Play Store or iPhone App Store for the most updated feeding schedules.
No matter what the age, the Oceanium is undoubtedly one of the visitors’ favorites. The huge glass-covered entryway always amazes guests and walking through it is like visiting an underwater world where various fishes, sharks, and sea creatures can be admired.
Our Tip: Interested in other attractions in Rotterdam? Please read our article Things to Do in Rotterdam in 1 Day.
Plan Your Journey
To experience the best time at Rotterdam Zoo Blijdorp—come prepared! Following is practical information and helpful advice for planning your trip.
Admission and Tickets
Rotterdam Zoo tickets are available for purchase online on their site. Note that you need to indicate a specific date and time slot for your visit so to avoid any online queues, it’s best to ‘skip the line’ and order your ticket online in advance. (Note: Although you need to reserve a time slot to enter, you can stay inside until the zoo’s closing time.)
As of this writing, tickets are about €25 for adults and €20 for children aged 3- 12 years of age.
Rotterdam Zoo is open daily from 9 AM to 6 PM, including public holidays. During winter, the zoo is open from 9 AM to 5 PM. Other exceptions are Sinterklaas (Dec 5), Christmas Eve (Dec 24), and ) and New Year’s Eve (Dec 31), when the zoo operating hours are shortened to 10 AM to 5 PM.
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.
Our Tip: 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.
From Amsterdam, Rotterdam Zoo is just about an hour’s drive. But wherever you’re coming from in the Netherlands, just head towards Rotterdam Noord (Rotterdam North). From there, take the Blijdorp exit on the A20. Once you reach this area, the route to Blijdorplaan is well marked.
Our Tip: Use Google Maps or any GPS system to easily arrive at this attraction. If you don’t have WiFi while on the road, download the map for offline access.
By Public Transport
From anywhere in the country, you can take the train headed to the Rotterdam Central station. From there, the zoo is just a short 10-minute walk!
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.
As of this writing, parking tickets cost € 9.50 per day. Parking is located at the main entrance. Just take Exit 13 (Blijdorp) on the Rotterdam ring and follow the ‘Diergaarde Blijdorp’ signs to reach the parking lot (P1).
Good to Know: Parking tickets, available at the entrance ticket machines, can only be paid via PIN (no cash).
If you’re visiting during peak season, P1 parking may be very busy so know 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. Both the zoon main entrance at Blijdorplaan 8 and the entrance at Van Aerssenlaan/Bentincklaan 49 are accessible by foot from Horvathweg.
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.
Our Tip: Due to the limited number of wheelchairs available, it’s best to call ahead and reserve a wheelchair.
For the protection of the zoo’s resident animals, dogs and any other pets are not allowed access to the park. There are also no kennels available for use. An exception is made for assistance dogs. However, the areas where they’re allowed are restricted and you need to inform the zoo administration by calling (+31-10-443-1495) a day in advance.
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 (4star) is just a short 3-minute walk from Rotterdam Zoo so it’s an excellent choice.
- ibis budget Rotterdam The Hague Airport is a bit more pocket-friendly and it’s 10 minutes by car to the zoo. Walking would take you about 40 minutes.
- Mr. Lewis is a boutique hotel that’s only 10 minutes by car to the zoo. Walking would take you about +/-25 minutes.
Our Tip: If you want to know where else you can stay in Rotterdam, please read our Hotels in Rotterdam article.