Zoos and Parks in Berlin

For a city of 3.4 million Berlin has a remarkable number of green spaces, public parks and zoos.

Berliner Zoo - ElefantentorBerlin has two zoos, both on a generous scale. The Zoological Garten in the west is right in the centre of the city, and although it is relatively compact, the animals's habitats have been authentically reconstructed. Some spectacular orang-utangs, an enormous Aquarium, and a section for nocturnal animals are on display. Don't miss the extraordinary mock-oriental Elephant Gate. Tierpark in the east has 7300 animals in 150 enclosures. But that sounds almost small-time when compared to the Botanical Garden in Steglitz which houses over 2 million strains and species of dried plants in its herbarium alone.

Sweeping from the Brandenburg Gate in the east to the Zoological Garden in the west, Tiergarten, the old hunting grounds of the Prussian royalty, is an enormous landscaped park, with canals to boat along, lawns to sunbath on, and statue-lined avenues to stroll down.

Most suburbs have their own park each with a different character. Kreuzberg's Viktoria Park has a romantic waterfall tumbling down from a monument crowned hill with a good view over the city. Volkspark Humboldthain in the district of Wedding still has the remains an old anti-aircraft gun turret and bunker which are used as a climbing wall.

Grunewald has the Pfaueninsel (Peacock Island), complete with ruined folly and shaky ferry to transport you to the magic island.

Further east the Hasenheide is filled with the smell of smoke drifting from the barbecues, as the Turkish residents celebrate the arrival of spring by picnicking en famille.

Treptower Park with Soviert War MemorialTreptower Park houses the dramatic Soviet War Memorial - it runs along the river Spree, and from there you can take boat trips through or right round the city by canal and river.

Palaces like Schloß Charlottenburg and Potsdam's Sanssouci have formal gardens, landscaped and perspectived, complete with Orangerie, lakes and follies.

Many of the public parks have open air cinemas and theatres, where shows are run through the warmer months. Others boast elaborate sporting facilities - tennis courts, race-tracks, mini-golf, climbing walls, pools - as well as little cafes.

Spring and Autumn are the best times to be exploring the green face of Berlin under it's famous skies .

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