Why not enhance your stay at The Flying Pig Beach Hostel by paying a visit to the oldest zoo in Holland, Rotterdam Zoo (Blijdorp Zoo)! Not only is Rotterdam Zoo packed with 150 years of history, but it is also one of the most famous attractions in the Netherlands, attracting more than 1.5 million visitors through its turnstiles every year. And in 2001 Rotterdam Zoo almost doubled in size after the opening of the new Oceanium complex!
The Rotterdam Zoo (Blijdorp Zoo) is home to Lions, Leopards, Wolves, Alligators, and Crocodiles. While inside the Oceanium visitors walk through huge underwater tunnels that twist along an imitation ocean floor, past coastal regions, meeting up with all kinds of oceanic and coastal inhabitants like sharks, sea-otters, puffins, snakes, and even king penguins!
And yet despite this mass of exotic animals it seems the only sane reason to pay a visit to Rotterdam Zoo is to inspect Europe’s most famous gorilla… namely, Bokito! In 2007 Bokito jumped a moat, and climbed the high stone wall surrounding his enclosure and ran amok inside the zoo, terrorising families, smashing restaurant tables, and generally behaving like an escaped gorilla will do when he gets a strong whiff of freedom. The zoo was immediately evacuated and a top zoo-marksman called for. Eventually Bokito was cornered inside the ‘Oranje Restaurant’; the marksman leapt from behind a microwave and unloaded several darts filled with potent sedative into Bokito’s rear-end which caused the 400 pound gorilla to collapse amongst hastily discarded plates of pasta and tins of cola.
One woman was slightly injured, but a few weeks later, from her hospital bed, she told shocked journalists that Bokito was still her favourite monkey despite the escape… and it seems she isn’t alone, because Rotterdam Zoo is even more popular after Bokito’s escape!
Rotterdam is a direct train ride from Leiden or Amsterdam, and Rotterdam Zoo (Blijdorp Zoo) is open all year, from 9am – 6pm - a day pass costs €17.50.