Elsewhere I deal with animal highlights. But for those looking for more general tips for visiting Tiergarten Schönbrunn…
- Figure to spend at least half a day here
- Good cold/wet weather option (lots of indoor enclosures)
- Open 365 days a year
- Avoid weekends if possible (it gets crowded with locals)
- Easily reached on public transport
- Book tickets in advance to avoid any counter queues
- In case you were wondering: yes, it’s a great zoo
- See also:
- Book your zoo tickets* online
General visitor tips
First of all, it really is a lovely zoo. Enjoy yourself! We spent a lot of time there (most weekends, in fact) when we had young kids.
Here some tips to get more from a trip…
When to go
As one of the most popular tourist attractions in Vienna, the zoo can get busy – especially during the summer.
A lot of young Viennese families have annual passes, for example, and use the zoo much like you’d take your kids down the park. In the summer, consider visiting midweek rather than at the weekend.
Don’t be put off by cold weather or rain. The zoo has plenty of indoor enclosures and displays, including the rainforest house (pictured above), aquarium and terrarium, bird houses, insektarium, polarium, polar bear world, etc. etc.
If you’re pressed for time, skip the wooded, sloped rear area of the zoo. The more international animals and enclosures live mostly on the lower levels.
(Reverse that last advice if you’re interested in farm animals and Austrian flora and fauna.)
Pick up a plan at the entrance, which also lists any feeding times (my tip: watch the sea lions being fed when available).
Oh, and whatever else you might do there, don’t forget to visit the Giant Pandas.
The zoo has all the facilities you expect from a modern institution. The building just inside the main entrance, for example, has an information point and lockers.
Toilets, drinking water fountains and baby changing facilities also 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 relatively steep hills and slopes, and some areas (like the aquarium) get quite crowded at peak times.
Don’t worry about language. Most (though not all) information is available in English, too.
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, cafés and snack bars dot the zoo, too. If you need to sit down indoors, visit that central pavilion or the large café in the new Orang Utan area.
Another full restaurant (the Tirolergarten) 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 Tirolergarten, a farm shop has always sold simple but superb open sandwiches and pastries on all my visits.
Note that all of these places can get 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.
Zoo ticket tips
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 (at the time of writing).
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.
(Booking service provided by Tiqets.com*, who I am an affiliate of)
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 a good option.
I last went on a Sunday in the middle of February and the zoo was still packed. However, machines at the main entrances sold day tickets (cards only as payment) and had no queue.
Another alternative is, for example, something like a Vienna Pass, which offers one-time free entry and lets you go straight to the ticket barriers.
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 (tempting to spend a few minutes here).
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 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.
It’s a bit of a walk from the park entrance through to the zoo entrance at the Tirolerhof part of the zoo, and another walk down the hill to the main enclosures. Might only make sense if you’re using Schönbrunn’s rear car park (see below).
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 rear Tirolerhof side, another car park sits at the top of Schönbrunn along Seckendorff-Gudent-Weg. It can fill up quickly, mind you.
For more zoo details, take a peek at the overview.