The 5 must-sees at the Zoo in Rotterdam
1) Gorilla Bokito
The most (in)famous inhabitant of Blijdorp is Bokito, the giant silverback gorilla who managed to jump over the canal and broke out of his pen in 2007 to grab a female admirer who visited him daily. Inside, you can watch Bokito and his family from a safe distance through little peeping holes.
As soon as you step into the balloon-like dome, you know you’re in a rainforest. The fruity, heavy fragrance, the moist atmosphere, the luscious green plants… And butterflies everywhere. They perch silently high up in the leaves, or flutter down to eat from slices of fruit. The pupas come from Costa Rica and are hatched in Blijdorp.
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3) Polar Bears
Polar bears in zoos can be a rather tragic affair, holed up in little pens, with no ice to be seen. In Blijdorp this family of three have a lot of space and a terrific view of the city in this most recent extension of the zoo. Inside the building, watch the majestic grace of these bulky bears when swimming in the water.
4) Black and Rufous Elephant Shrew
This is one little creature that you have probably not seen before: a strange combination of a mouse on high legs with a trunk, brownish red in front and blackish blue in the back. It has the same ancestors as the elephant, but is not taller than a hand. Find it next to the crocodiles and near the meerkats in the Africa section.
No need to go scuba diving when you can walk through the Atlantic Ocean. In Blijdorp’s Oceanium a tunnel winds its way through the aquarium. Watch sharks, rays and even sea turtles swim right over your head. Sit down and, for just a few minutes, imagine you’re Jacques Cousteau…
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