Basel Zoo: A Photo Essay

The Basel Zoo tops as one of the five most favorite things we did during our week in Switzerland. It might seem odd that of all things, a zoo made it on the list, since it is something that is easily found in other cities with pretty much the same collection of animals.

Chickens roaming in the zoo.

Here are my reasons for why:

  1. You can walk to the zoo from your hotel (or take a 5-minute tram or train ride).
  2. There is an aquarium.
  3. The best meal we had during our entire trip was at the Zoo Restaurant.
  4. Chickens roam here freely and happily.
  5. There is a whole section for barn animals (something I have never seen at a zoo before).
  6. The viewing area for lions is where we could have easily spend hours.
  7. It is the perfect size to explore with kids and somehow still includes every animal they probably want to see.

My former home cities of Chicago and Washington D.C. both have a zoo that was just a hop and a skip away from my front door (coincidently, also a stone’s throw away were the two best falafel places – Amsterdam Falafel Shop in Adam’s Morgan and Sultan’s Market in Lincoln Park).

Up-close and personal with the rhinos. #ZooBasel

The North Carolina Zoo is over an hour away from our home unfortunately, and we have made it there just two times in the last 4 years. May be that’s why it felt extra good to just walk over to the Basel Zoo from our hotel.

The mini square outside our hotel. A game of hide and seek before we walked to the zoo.
We didn’t take a stroller on this trip, but did bring a sling to carry Ajay from time to time.
Fall leaves.
One of the many entrances to the zoo up-ahead.

We spent a lot of time inside the aquarium. We were collectively ooing and aahing over everything. Not surprisingly, I took a hundred pictures. It was so beautiful and colorful.

We had lunch at the Zoo Restaurant which exceeded all my expectations in terms of the food, the location, and the ambiance. While the restaurant is self-service, the section with a wall-to-wall window facing the elephants, is full-service; what a view if you ask me! Also, the food was so wholesome and delicious. We kept going back for more.

Basel Zoo Restaurant
I wanted to take that coat hanger home.
beautiful fixtures and architectural details inside. No garish decorations trying to be kid-friendly here!
Elephants on one side …
… and a big open play area on the other side.
food options and stations
some of our lunch from the self-service restaurant
outdoor seating
outdoor seating

According to their website, Basel Zoo is 11 hectares big; that’s roughly 27 acres. So yeah, tiny compared to some, like the North Carolina Zoo which is 2,600 wooded acres. It must be magic then because we still saw every animal we could think of including penguins, kangaroos, snow leopards, giraffes, peacocks, and lots and lots of barn animals. All without having to push a stroller.

A huge room which housed an exhibit on one side and big windows and chairs on the other to watch the lions.

May be it’s been a while since I went to the zoo, but everything felt very up-close and personal at the Basel Zoo. There weren’t any big cages, or tall fences. All animal habitats seemed surprisingly open and safe at the same time. The fall colors made running around the zoo extra special too.

Basel goes down as one of my favorite Swiss cities for sure! And the Zoo was only one of the reasons why. I can’t wait to share the others soon.

Zoo Basel is open 365 days a year. Admission is CHF 10 for ages 6-15, CHF 16 for 16-25, CHF 21 for 25-61, CHF 19 for 61+, CHF 43 for families of parents and children living at the same address. AdmissionĀ is 50% off with BaselCard. You can find out more about Zoo Basel by visiting

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