Zoo Basel



City: Basel
Country: Switzerland
Canton: Basel
Opend 1874


Species 618


This is the biggest zoo of Switzerland and the oldest, opened in 1874. Since its been known for remarkeble breedingresults like for the Gorilla (Europes first), the Pygmy Hippo and the Indian Rhino. Also to mention are the Okapis, Bongos and its big vivarium (a new one should open 2020).

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On 3 July 1874 the opening day brought countless curious visitors. Well worth seeing there was a pond with a variety of wading and water birds, birds of prey, the pheasant, the miniature log cabin with wild boar, the star-shaped enclosures for deer, buffalo and elk and a owl castle. A special attraction was the animals in the predator house: Wolf, lynx, badger, fox, wild cat and marten. Other featured attractions was the bear pit, the rocks plant with chamois and ibex and the basin with otter and beaver dar. An house decorated half-timbered with deer antlers, with an open and closed terrace invited visitors to linger. In the first year a crowd of 62,000 visitors we recorded at Zolli (thats how the people of Basel lovingly call the zoo) , although Basel-City at that time only had 50,000 inhabitants. Soon it had to exchange the animals in Zolli, because of the high mortality of Alpine animals and on the other hand, the visitors urged to see more exotic animals. This led in 1884 to the first extension of the garden area in the direction Binningen. They built arena for example, a predator or whole villages, inhabited by Nubians, Moroccans or Sinhalese for weeks and their war-dances and mask or snake demonstrates incantations. These animals and people lasted to 1932, enjoyed great popularity among the population. Thanks to the various legacies of Zolli could acquire the first exotic animals such as camels, llamas and tapirs. The cousins Paul and Fritz Sarasin import 1886 a young Indian elephant. Miss Kumbuk quickly became known throughout the city in 1891 and received a Moorish-style house built by wich the zebras were also introduced. The first pair lions arrived in 1890. By 19 March 1891 the first little lion where born. In 1896 in the lion house expansion through several cages, to show other big cats. Finally in 1904 a recent lion house was opened, which housed a reptile department. The first ape, the orang-utan female Kitty, arrived 1900 in Basel. 1910 was the opening day of antelope house. With great effort eland, swamp antelope, bushbuck and wildebeest were kept. In 1912, the zoo decided to purchase two giraffe bulls. With great regret Miss Kumbuk, the popular elephant lady, died 1917. As a result of the war elephants in Europe had become a rarity and it was not until 1919 a new elephant, Miss Jenny, was acquired from the Circus Krone. Shortly after the First World War because of the financial plight of friendly circles of association for the promotion of the zoological garden, today the Friends of the Basel Zoo, was founded in 1919, which supports the Zolli helpful. Zoo biology was coined by Carl Hagenbeck and it was about time to show his ideas, wild animals in open enclosures without fences. This began in 1921 with the construction of the Marmot Basin rock and popular sea lion rock by the famous sculptor Urs Eggenschwyler. In the new bird house, which opened in 1927, apes and reptiles where housed temporarily. An important extension stage did take place in the 1930s The Zolli was advanced against the viaduct and parking lots, and the modern bounderys where established. In the redesigned entrance area of the garden the flamingos, ostriches and zebras received the visitors. Created in 1930 and donated by the Friends Association was a big attraction Monkey Rock, as well as the then modern bearpark offering different bear species a home. From the ancient medieval bear pit arose a new facility, the Wolf's den. With the legacy of the administration Ulrich Sauter bought in 1934 by the state's land between the railway and Dorenbachviadukt Alsace, which was later expanded to Sauter and garden opend 1939. Here was a larger facility opened in 1938, the ibexrock and the penguin pool. With a large financial outlay, the old cafe was replaced in 1935 by the new restaurant, which still serves the visitors of Zolli. The biggest disaster in history occurred in 1937 as Zolli foot and mouth disease broke out and precious animals died. Another stagnation Zolli experienced during the Second World War. A gap in the exehibition were the aquarium and terrarium animals wich were housed in containers in the bird house. In the former Directorate entrance building an aquarium room with 20 fresh-and saltwater pool where installed. This small aquarium was opened to the public in 1942 as a Christmas surprise. 1947 giraffes, antelopes,came to Basel in a new house. To its 75-year anniversary of Zolli in 1948 the gorilla Achilles was a gift from the Friends Association, he turned out at a later to be female. In the Jubilee year 1949 the first okapi, Bambe, reached the Zolli. Unfortunately, the bull died less than two months later from a severe worm infection. In the same year, the rare spectacled bears were new at the bearenclosures. Opened in 1951, the Sauter Garden is the Zollis second input, the bustling sea lion pool was surrounded by a spectator ramp and the giraffes were given a spacious outlet. In the same year came the first Indian rhino, imported by the pet dealer Peter Ryhiner to Zolli and a female fortunately arrives only a year later. Europes first pair and the female Gadadhar Joymothi, was the mother of the later world-renowned Basel rhinoceros breeding. A big attraction in 1952 was when 5 young elephants arrived from East Africa. In 1953 new elephant house opened, it housed next to the young African elephants even the Indian rhinoceros and the pygmy hippopotami. The search for a partner for Akhilla ran this year successfully. Stefi, a young gorilla man from an American zoo came to Europe and could be purchased by Zolli. Thus, Basel was the first European zoo in the possession of an adult gorilla pair. After long negotiations with the government of Belgian Congo the zoo was able in 1955 to finally import an male Okapi and a year later, even a female. Since the female died after only four weeks, Belgian Congo allowed once again the Zolli in 1957 to pick up a female Okapi and 1960 occurred the first birth of an Okapi. When the carnivore house opend in 1956 visitors marveled fot the first at tigers behind a thin mesh or a lion in an outdoor facility, the top was open to! The narrow litter boxes in the house confirmed immediately their success, since all the big cats on a regular basis from this time bred. The carnivore house was for many other zoos as a model and impressed again and again by its breeding success. As a world sensation in 1956 was the birth of a rhinoceros Rudra. The first- in a zoo born Indian rhinoceros was later in the zoo in Milwaukee breeding the second Zoogeneration. To date, in Basel, 28 animals are born. The Flamingo colony was in Zolli be scientifically researched very closely and we gained important insights. In 1958 the first flamingo hatched in Zolli , it also was the first time in a European Zoo. 1959 the Indian rhinoceros and the pygmy hippopotami could move their new house in the Sauter garden. Another sensation on 23 September 1959 was the first gorilla birth in Europe and the second worldwide in a zoo. Goma was not cared right for by its inexperienced mother Akhilla and had to be reared by human hands. As Goma was one year old, came the same age gorilla boy Pepe from Cameroon to Basel and Goma. Both animals were integrated into the gorilla family. As early as April 17th, 1961 without any major difficulties Akhilla brought her second child, Jambo, to the world and pulled it with no problems on her. own. As the first baby gorilla in second Zoogeneration was hoopla, the son of Goma and Jambo. It was born on 2 May 1971. A further enlargement of Zolli in 1961 by decision of the Governing Council with the allocation of the nightingale grove. This expansion is were bison facilities are and new facilities were built. The planned children Zolli, the vivarium and equipment for the bongos and wild ass found theire place here. The extension also had the consequence that a new administration building was erected and the main entrance moved a third time, and was opened in 1966. A major highlight of 1966 was the birth of Ota, an African elephant. It was the first elephant birth in Zolli and the third African elephant world wide in a zoo. In 1969 the primates received in theire own house, which was at the site of the former entrance building of the zoo. The precious animals should be protected from the dangers of infection from visitors, and therefore were not behind bars, but thick glass plates. The darkened auditorium still offers visitors the chance to observe the animals undisturbed. In addition to the great apes in the monkey house different species of monkeys are kept as the pygmysiamangs, mangabes, colobus monkeys, white tailed Colobus monkey, Adolf Fredrik colobus monkeys, owl headed monkeys, spider monkeys and Varis. Some of these species showed a very good breeding success also extremely difficult to maintain, proboscis monkeys and costume langures bred and a group of woolly monkeys moved even with their caregivers to Basel in. 1970 came 5 Somali wild ass and three bongos. Somali wild asses were not at that time kept in zoos, because donkeys do not constitute a special attraction. Then came three stallions and two mares to Basel, establishing the well known breeding group and their descendants are now represented in all the zoos that keep this rare wild ass . Even the rare bongo antelope were found previously only individually in zoos and were considered difficult to keep. The two females and the young buck got used to the new facility next to the vivarium and in 1975 was the first Basel Bongo born. The long-awaited Vivarium opened Easter 1972 its doors and has already held by its architectural concept, a special dar. The 350 meter long visitors corridor leads first to the surface of the pond and penetrates further into the depths of the oceans and the evolution following back up on shore. Unnoticed has the visitor shot on his way to 360 degrees. Even today, the Basel vivarium thrills visitors still and professionals from around the world studdy it. On August 24th, 1977, the children Zolli were handed over to the public with pets of different countries. Children will find the opportunity to preserve and to enter the stable, to touch the animals, feed and maintain. The redesign of the zoo into a landscape park, various systems were redesigned. The result was 1977 the roan antilope enclosure, in 1980 an enclosure for maned wolves and 1981, a new Mungo enclosure with termite mounds opened. In 1982 the reindeer got a new facility in the Sauter garden, 1983 came the wolf enclosure and the renovated owls castle. The decision to keep an elephant bull for breeding, required a redesign of the system. In 1984 came inside the house a bull pit and the outdoor facility was extended with a spout. Kenny, the then 15-year-old African elephant bull, came in the same year to the Zolli. 1986 , the old bird cage series was replaced for a large predator aviary in the Sauter garden and the rhino outdoor facility also got renewd. An important step in the snow leopard keeping succeeded with the new enclosure. The enclousure was enlarged in 1987 and richly textured. Behind the naturally appearing floor there is a spare pen and three heated litter boxes, which each year are used actively. The hard mat, which was formerly the enclosure for the ponies, ducks, geese and cranes to 1991, was remodeled to the then 96 heads counting flamingo groups. The hard mat offers the flamingos plenty of space, plenty of sunshine , various resting places and feeding place with the breeding sites sufficiently far away On cold winter days, it attracts the flamingos in their open-access winter quarters. The long-awaited joyous event turned out on April 9th, 1992 - the birth of Yambo, the bull elephant. Thus the first hurdle of the difficult elephant breeding was successfully met. Yambo, the offspring of Kenny and Mahari, was an absolute crowd pleaser. On the two stages in 1992 and 1993, the Africa savannah opened, home for ostriches, zebras and hippos. In the course of construction on the Africa system is also the system of cynomolgus monkeys and their famous Monkey Rock has been renewed. The newly built home and winter quarters now also houses the ring-tailed lemurs, their outdoor facility is located on the grounds of the former outdoor terrarium and design the monkey rock has been adjusted. October 1993 was the first time that the cheetah bred at the Zolli with 5 cubs. In 1997 the 43-year-old parrot home was redeveloped and rethought the concept of parrot keeping new. The resulting was the free-flight aviary that now offers loriqueets enough room and theoffered nest boxes have already been accepted. On August 1, 1997 Zolli went with its new website online, it allows the globall visitor access to the zooinformations from home. In 1998 the internal systems of the monkey house were redisigned, so that monkeys can reach the outside island. Here is a group of woolly monkeys, it also can be used simultaneously by the squirrel monkey. The pond has been restored, fox-proof nesting islands built and there is a new house, whose facade of untreated larch wood, all for pelicans. Inside, large skylights provide enough light. The newly planted willows and pine trees complement the mature trees and the shore area, overgrown with reeds and grasses, offers varied insights on the investment. In June, 1999, the snow leopard moved to into their new home in the Sauter Garden . One side of the 1938 built mountain was remodeled, the top pulled down and created a great platform with a great view, heated shelters, berths and many retreats complete the offer. The stone floor was replaced with a natural soil and alpine vegetation provides an insight into the high mountains. End March 2001 opened the new Etosha house. This unique system tells and illustrates the food chain on the African savannah. growth, eating eat and be well disintegrate the central themes. plants, herbivores form, large and small carnivores, and waste disposal are the main actors. The house is also integrated into a circuit. The seventy centimeters thick, mashed by hand, mud walls contribute much to the energy behavior of the building. A 30 cm thick layer of foam glass beads from recycled glass prevents the heat loss to the soil. The energy of the warm exhaust air over heat exchanger the injected fresh air passed, and thus the precious heat stays in the house. The Gamgoas house was after five years of construction on 14 June 2003 opened to the public. Gamgoas called in the language of the Etosha Bushmen 'the place where the lions are. "In Basel Zoo Gamgoas houses not only lions. Also Nile crocodiles and termites live in the house, the core of an interactive nature exhibit . You can sit face to face with a crocodile on the underwater insight into the deep basin, or the mighty lizards on an African river landscape-inspired country- Water could plant observed. Elsewhere granted a monitor insight into the secret life of termites. Thanks to the generous support of Winterthur Insurance and the Foundation of Marion Jean Hofer Woodhead the disused outdoor aviary of Lorihauses redesigned and barred to be and today offers a bevy loriqueets a varied home. On June 28, 2006, the opening of the new Australian did take palce. Where once the bongos had at home, kangaroos and bush chickens now are living in a community. The way the house was also opened up for the visitors give room inside for terrariums. A kangaroo at close to experience, was made possible through a large glass window in the house. On 13 September 2006 the extended rhino house was presented to the public. Since then, the two mothers use with their young larger internal stables, located on a level with the visitors. In addition, the animals received a wellness area, with a generous and temperate water tank here the visitor can observe the bathing of the animals through a window. The bull also got greater space, but its not visible for the visitors and has its own water tank. In a further step is now to the expansion and redevelopment of the outdoor facility to. The new outdoor facility also provides the community with entertainment for rhinos, clawed otters and muntjac and is a novelty. For this, the reindeer leave their accustomed place and emigrate to the children's zoo. After September 2006 the extended rhino house was opened on 8 May 2008, the inauguration of the new outdoor facility in the Sauter garden instead. To accommodate to attract new foreign investment, the aviary of Snowy and condors have been demolished. The Condor has found at the bird show, a new, spacious home. For the Snow Owl female was a new partner found and both birds are now in the aviary between the wolf enclosure and the roan antelope enclosure. The reindeer relocated in the spring of 2007 to their new enclosure in the children's zoo.

Last visited 2020


Zoo Basel
Binningerstrasse 40
CH 4054 Basel


Phone number 061 295 3535
Fax number 61 281 00 05


Opened minimum 8 am - 5:30 pm


Entrance fee

  • Adult 21,- CHF
  • Youth 16-24 years 15,- CHF
  • Child 6-15 years 10,- CHF
  • Seniors over 62 years 19,- CHF
  • Famillyticket* 43,- CHF

* Famillytickets are good for parents and theire kids under 20 year

Seasoncards* (Valid frome March to March)

  • Adult 90,- CHF
  • Family** 160,- CHF
  • Single parent** 110,- CHF

** Single parent and Familly-cards are valid for 1 ore 2 parents/grandparents and the famillys kids



For kids there is a petting area and several playgrounds

Map 2011 Map 2015 Map 2020

After haved payed the entrance fee we turn to the left and going in to the Vivarium with a lot of different fishes, reptiles and amphibians This is also the home for the Gentoo and the King Penguin. Outside again we turn left to se the Austalian enclosure with Kangaroos, in theire house you finde som reptiles and insects. The next enclosure is for the Somali Wild Ass, the father of the Donkey and the last Wild Ass to exist (though more ore less only in Zoos). Kids will love the next section, becourse its the area with farm animals where you meet donkeys, reindeers and pygny goats they can pet.On the other side we have the Roan Antilope. Going we meet the European Wild Boar as well as the American Bison. One of theire enemys is the Wolf opposite. All ready now we can here the Californian Sea Lion, they are are giving Daily Shows - ask at the entrance. Now turning right we meet the owl castle and the Etosha House showing the chain of food frome the small Termites, over bids to the Cheetahs. Turning right we go past some duck ponds and an enclousure for Eastern White Pelicans. Now we reached the Abe enclosures. The Zoo has Gorillas, Chimpanzees and Orang Utans. Almost at the exit again we se Sun Bears and turn then left to the Savannah, where Zebra, Ostriches and Hippos live peacefully together. In side of the Primatehouse we meet beside the Apes monkes like the Cotton-top Tamarin, the Grey Woll Monkey and the Titty Monkey - just outside they have an Island. Now we have reached the old birdhouse with birds like the Toucan. Beside it we have the Zoo Restaurant. Theire neighbour are the African Elephants. Looking once again at the cheetah we meet theire lively neighbours, the Ring-tailed Lemurs. Passinf the African Wild Dog we turn right just after we wachted the Flamingos, to se the Lions. Theire home is also the home for the Nile Crocodil that share theire pool with cichlides. Now we reached the old house for antilopes, home for the Giraffes, the rare Okapis and the as well rare Lesser Kudu. Now going through the tunnel we meet the Indian Rhino and afterwards the mountains for the lively macaques and the Snow Leopard. Then its time to se the African Penguins, a house for loriqueets and at last the Pygny Hippo.



DE: Dieser grosse Zoo gleich neben dem Bahnhof an der deutschen Grenze ist der älteste von der Schweiz. Der Zoo ist bekannt wegen seinen Gorillas, Zwergfluspferde und Panzernashörner - andere seltenheiten ist das Okapi und das grosse Vivarium 

DK: Lige bagved Basels hovedbanegård ligger schweizes ældste zoologiske have. Haven er kendt for sine gorillaer, dværgflodheste og pansernæsehorn - af andre sjældenheder kan nævnes okapien og det store vivarium

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