Blijdorp Zoo Rotterdam, The Netherlands


For Mother’s Day yesterday, I was taken on a surprise trip to the zoo.  We had a really lovely family day out.  Since I was young, I’ve always felt a little sad for animals being kept in captivity, but can also see the benefit for the planet in general for people to have close contact with and a better understanding of the amazing creatures we share this earth with.  I also think many of the zoos today are beautifully designed and animals have a decent life.

Blijdorp is located in Rotterdam, the Netherlands and I’d been once before, many years ago before I had children.  Our girls are a good age to take now – at almost 8 and 10 years old, they are old enough to handle a full day trip without getting too tired and whiney.  We took a few snacks and drinks and bought hot chips for lunch.  They maintained a high level of excitement the whole day and we mostly let them set the route and pace.  My husband was clever to plan ahead and do the outdoor stuff in the morning, while the sun was shining, and the indoor aquarium in the afternoon when a small storm hit.

My girls just loved getting up close and personal with these creatures (groundhogs?).

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One of my favourites was the baby rhino, born earlier this year.

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I also was fascinated by the seahorses.

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We bought a small souvenir for only a few euros to support the Friends of the Zoo.

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During the day, this funny clip kept coming to mind and we had fun making up our own voices for the animals.

The only thing that really bothered me during the day was the second hand smoke we couldn’t avoid inhaling.  Coming from Australia where smoking in many outdoor areas (particularly where children are present) is actually illegal in many states, I was stunned and disappointed to have people lighting up right next to their own children and mine at the playground and outdoor eating areas, or getting unexpected lungfuls of smoke as we walked around the park.  It’s only in the last few months that smoking has now become “banned” in queues at children’s theme parks in the Netherlands (which I write in inverted commas as there is not necessarily much enforcement).  Let’s hope legislation and social control and consideration continues to catch up in the Netherlands so families can enjoy a smoke-free day out.

Overall though, a beautifully maintained zoo, with plenty to see and do.  Though I do often feel for animals in small cages at zoos, here it seems the animals are well cared for and have sufficient space at least.

We used some Jumbo Dagje Uit discount vouchers and it cost just over 60 euros for the day, which was reasonable value.  I was kept happy taking literally hundreds of photos – I have a Canon SLR and was experimenting with my 80-200mm lens, which can minimise the cage if you get the focus right, giving me some great shots.My photo album for the day is here:

Have you had a family trip to a zoo lately?  Which one?  Any thoughts on the role that zoos play in culture?  Comments most welcome below!

More information about Blijdorp here:


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