Precious Pandas & Zoo

December 26, 2007


Oh my! We stood entranced, as we watched the Mama panda hug, cuddle and nurse her newborn baby. It was early October and the baby panda at the beautiful zoo in Vienna was born on August 23, 2007, so it was thrilling to watch one so young. They had a camera set up so the bonding pair had their needed privacy, but still it was hard to take your eyes off them.

We did not know they were there, just happened to go to the zoo because it seemed like a good idea after we went to Schonbrunn Palace since its on the grounds there. What a delightful surprise, as it is the prettiest Zoo I have ever seen and had better exhibits than I expected.

The Tiegarden Schonbrunn Zoo Vienna is the oldest zoo in the world!  On their website ( it seems to trace its history all the way back to 1442, although it appears to really come into its own with the Hapsburgs, Empress Maria Theresia and her husband Franz Stephan of Lorraine. They commissioned an architect to design a menagerie in the park at their summer palace. The octagonal pavilion, from that time period, remains the zoo's historical centerpiece and today it is a restaurant. If the baby and mama panda touch you, one can read more on their website with notes and pictures of the baby growing. I already feel a attached to the little bugger and will watch him grow!

We were kind of spoiled by being not-too-far-away from the famous San Diego Zoo which we usually visited once a year, but we also liked a little zoo in SanJose, the San Francisco’s Zoo and LA’s Zoo although the last three are nothing spectacular by great zoo standards. Actually, I don’t think I ever met a zoo that I did not like. I even liked looking at the rather shabby (when I lived there) Central Park Zoo in NYC, often going out of my way to cycle, roller skate or walk by, to say hello to the animals.

I was just really taken by how pretty this zoo was and I am sorry that my pictures can not really convey that. It was late in the day on a fall day, so the shadows make it all look much darker in photos than it looked in person. If you have a child, this is a “must see” for Vienna and even for adults its a charming addition. Late on a week day in October, it was invigorating and enchanting with the backdrop of this formal park dressed in bright fall colors on well trimmed trees.

Mozart led the way and we flittered from flamingoes balancing on a leg, to leopards stalking, to hippos wallowing in the mud and giraffes and panda's eating grass. There were the usual monkeys and crocodiles, birds, fish, turtles, anteaters, zebras and more.

Mozart just had to have a little panda, a dolphin cup and a notebook at the zoo gift shop. She carried the panda around with her everywhere for weeks afterwards, but that has subsided now.













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I saw the baby Panda in 2008 - still a baby - but not such a small offspring.

Schonsbrunn Zoo it's a lovely place - I simply loved walking hours and hours there! Lovely post - just now discovered :)

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