Italy has a variety of zoos and even the smallest one can be surprisingly well populated with fascinating animals. Typically Italian zoos house a diverse variety of wildlife, along with educational programs geared toward children and the general public alike. Italy’s best zoos strive to replicate their animals’ natural habitats, and many parks also include petting zoos and dinosaur exhibits.
There are many interesting zoos in Italy and here are some of them.
Bioparco di Roma
This is the most famous Italian zoo with a spectacular location on the edge of Villa Borghese right in the heart of the ancient city of Rome. It was first opened in 1911 and today cares for over 1000 animals from 200 different species. Almost all animals can be found here including lions, tigers, giraffes, elephants and bears. The enormous Bear Alley with its pools and caves is the largest of its type in Europe. The excellent petting zoo is a delight for younger children and there are always fun activities with keepers almost as entertaining as the animals.
Location: Piazza del Giardino Zoologico, 1, 00197 Rome
Nearby sights: Colosseum, Pantheon, Piazza Navona
Tel.: +39 06 36 08 211
Nearby hotels: Demetra Hotel, Hotel Lord Byron, Suite Oriani
Parco Natura Viva (Verona)
This lovely zoo park outside Verona is half safari, half pedestrian and is primarily dedicated to breeding and conservation, so there are always plenty of babies to fall in love with. There are over 1500 animals from 250 species here and it’s a hugely popular zoo for school visits so its range of children’s activities, events and facilities is excellent. Animals are divided by continent and the zoo is landscaped to recreate natural habitats.
Location: Loc. Figara 40, 37012 Bussolengo
Nearby sights: Cantina Il Pignetto, Mercatopoli Bussolengo, Osteria al Borgo dell’ Eco
Tel.: 045 717 01 13
Nearby hotels: Hotel Alla Riviera, Hotel Castello San Antonio, Hotel La Rama
This is quite a small zoo, very pretty to walk about and there’s plenty to see including elephants, giraffes and tigers. From watching chicks in the hatchery to feeding rabbits, grooming ponies and playing with piglets, there’s always ‘work’ to be done and crowds of children delighted to do it. The zoo also takes advantage of its smaller size to provide outstanding tours and a range of workshops and events.
Location: Viale John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 76, 80125,Naples
Nearby sights: Museo Cappella Sansevero, Galleria Borbonica, Teatro di San Carlo
Tel.: +39 081 1936 3154
Nearby hotels: Gran Paradiso Hotel, Hotel Ape Regina, Montespina Park Hotel
Bioparco di Sicilia
Part small zoo and part Dinosaur Park, this is a bit of an adventure for younger children and older kids. It’s well managed and friendly, new exhibits are being added all the time and during the summer they have a programme of events, activities and workshops for all ages. It’s another very popular park for school outings so the staff is very enthusiastic and knowledgeable.
Location: Via A. Vespucci 420, Carini, Sicily, Italy
Nearby sights: Castello di Carini, Centro Kolbe, Riserva Naturale Integrale Grotta di Carburangeli
Tel.: +39 091 867 6811
Nearby hotels: Florio Park Hotel, Kappaemme Zero, Massimo Plaza Hotel