Elsewhere I deal with animal highlights. But for those looking for more general information on Tiergarten Schönbrunn or a few tips from a local…
- Figure to spend at least half a day here for a proper visit
- Good cold/wet weather option (lots of indoor enclosures)
- Open 365 days a year
- Avoid weekends (it gets crowded with locals)
- Easily reached on public transport (see below)
- In case you were wondering: yes, it’s a great zoo
- See also: Zoo overview
First of all, it’s a great zoo. Which is good.
And not so good.
Not so good because as one of the most popular tourist attractions in Vienna, it can get very busy – especially during the summer.
Also, a lot of young Viennese families have annual passes and use the zoo much like you’d take your kids down the park. So, if you can, stay clear of warm weekends.
Tickets and opening hours
The zoo is one of the Viennese sights that opens every single day of the year, starting at 9am and closing between 4.30pm and 6.30pm, depending on the season.
Note that some of the enclosures begin closing up to an hour before the official closing time, and you can’t get in any later than 30 minutes before closing. So don’t leave your trip to late afternoon.
At the time of writing, an adult day ticket* cost €22, with reductions for children (and kids under the age of 6 go free).
Queues for the ticket counters at the entrances can get long during peak seasons and times, especially if the weather is good. Which makes purchasing your tickets in advance sensible.
I last went on a Sunday in the middle of February and the zoo was packed. However, machines at the main entrances sold day tickets (payment cards only) and had no queue.
Another alternative is, for example, a suitable sightseeing pass, which might offer one-time free entry.
Eating and drinking
The main zoo area has an open-plan food buffet serving mainly standard fried foods (sausages, langos etc.) and snacks. The royals used to take breakfast in the central pavilion back in the 1700s and that now houses a full-service restaurant.
Other smaller buffets, cafes and snack bars dot the zoo, too. If you need to sit down indoors, try the large café in the new Orang Utan area.
The Tirolergarten restaurant sits on top of the hill at the back of the complex, serving typical country fare (also accessible to visitors from outside the zoo.) In the farmhouse next to the restaurant, a farm shop has sold simple but superb open sandwiches and pastries on all my visits.
Note that all of these places can get very busy at peak times, so time your meal breaks accordingly. Also, not all are open year-round.
If you want to bring your own food and drink, the zoo offers a fair amount of outdoor seating: benches and even picnic tables.
- Don’t be put off by cold weather or rain. The zoo has plenty of indoor enclosures and displays, including the rainforest house, aquarium and terrarium, bird houses, insektarium, polarium, polar bear world, etc. etc.
- In fact, if the weather is not perfect, that’s a good time to visit, since there are less people around
- If you’re pressed for time, skip the wooded, sloped rear area of the zoo. The more exotic animals and enclosures are mostly on the lower levels. Reverse that advice if you’re interested in farm animals and local flora and fauna
- Don’t worry about language. Most (though not all) information is available in English, too
- Don’t forget to pick up a plan at the entrance, which also lists feeding times (my tip: watch the sea lions being fed). Note that public feedings may not take place in the current public health climate
- The building just inside the main entrance has an information point and lockers
- Toilets, drinking water fountains and baby changing facilities appear throughout the zoo
- Just about everywhere is accessible with a pram or wheelchair, though some parts of the zoo (like the Tirolerhof) are up hills and slopes, and some areas (like the aquarium) get quite crowded at peak times
- Whatever else you might do there, don’t forget to visit the Giant Pandas
- Enjoy yourself – it’s a wonderful zoo. We spent a lot of time there (most weekends, in fact) when we had young kids
How to get to the zoo
The zoo has three entrances:
The zoo’s main entrance is on the west side of the Schönbrunn complex and easily reached from Hietzing station, which is one stop on the U4 subway after Schönbrunn station and also a stop on the tram lines 10 and 60.
After you exit Hietzing, follow the wall of the park around to the right until you come to the large park entrance next to the Lindt chocolate shop. Go inside and keep to the path around to the right, walking past the Desert House and Palm House to reach the zoo.
That main park entrance also has its own bus stop (Am Platz), served by the 56A, 56B, 58A, and 58B buses.
This zoo entrance is at the very back of the Schönbrunn park area on top of the hill.
There are two bus stops nearby:
- Montecuccoliplatz: served by the 8A, 56A, 56B, 58A and 58B bus lines
- Klimtgasse: also served by the 8A
The 56 and 58 buses all leave from Hietzing subway station.
A large paid car park sits on Schönbrunner Schloßstraße, opposite the Orangerie part of the palace.
If you want to enter the zoo from the Tirolerhof side, there’s a free car park at the top of Schönbrunn along Seckendorff-Gudent-Weg. It can fill up quickly, mind you.
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