Alpenzoo: provides an insight into the alpine animal world

Alpenzoo Innsbruck is a zoo located in the town Insbruck, in the Austria. It’s one of the highest located zoos in Europe. Founded 22 September 1962 by the Austrian zoologist Hans Psenner, Alpenzoo became famous because of reintroduction of endangered species like bearded vulture, Alpine ibex, and northern bald ibis in the wild.

Alpenzoo Innsbruck

Alpenzoo is the European Endangered Species Programme coordinator of the northern bald ibis, and the only zoo in the world that exhibit the wallcreeper.

Not only does the zoo offer its visitors a spectacular view of Innsbruck and the surrounding mountains it is also home to over 2000 animals (150 species) which are or have been typical for the Alps.

Almost all animals can be observed also in winter, except marmots, which oversleap this season, as well as snakes and amphibians, which spend winter in their winter habitat.

Other animals can be observed, but only if you look really closely, because the snow grouse and mountain for example have got a very good camouflage.

In spring many young animals come out from behind and of course this also attracts a large number of visitors. A special attraction is the walkable ibex compound.

Moreover there are pygmy mouses, terrapins, marine otters, brown bears, chamois and many other alpine animals. And if you are really lucky you can hear the howling wolf when the church bells of Innsbruck are ringing.

the wolf in Alpenzoo

It is the only zoo in the world to devote itself specifically to this topic which is one of the reasons for its success. Our animals are housed in modern enclosures, going through aviaries, exiting outdoor terrariums and a large cold water aquarium.

a large cold water aquarium

The Alpenzoo is a non profit association. Our main source of income is the visitor´s entrance fee. We receive additional financial support from the city of Innsbruck and the government of the Tyrol but also from the society «Freunde des Alpenzoo», sponsors and animal adopters.

We have about 300,000 visitors a year which means that we are one of the largest and most important socio-cultural institutions in the Tyrol. We employ about 30 people.

Quick facts

Where: Alpenzoo Innsbruck-Tirol, Weiherburggasse 37, 6020 Innsbruck — Österreich
Tel.: +43 — (0)512 — 29 23 23
Fax: +43 — (0)512 — 29 30 89
E: office@alpenzoo.at
Peculiarity: one of the highest located zoos in Europe
Opening hours: April — October daily from 9 am — 6 pm, November — March daily from 9 am — 5 pm
Price: children up to 3 years, owners Innsbruck Card free of charge. Full ticket — € 8, student, pension — 6 Euro, children 6−15 years € 4, children 4−5 years — 2 euros.

Learn more at the official website

History of Alpenzoo

The Alpenzoo is located on the sunny slopes above Innsbruck at the foot of the majestic «Nordkette», just a 15 — 20 minute walk from the centre of the town. Near the entrance of the zoo you will see an old castle known as the «Weiherburg».

It was built in 1460 by Christian Tänzl, a prominent citizen of Innsbruck. Emperor Maximilian I was a guest here as was the archduke Ferdinand II who had a small zoological garden errected nearby.

When the Alpenzoo opened on the 22nd of September 1962, its founders endeavoured to capture the atmosphere of that Renaissance garden. The beaver enclosure at the entrance to the zoo is a reminder of the original fish ponds («Weiher») which gave the «Weiherburg» its name.

The beaver enclosure

It soon became one of the main attractions of Innsbruck, its popularity increasing steadily throughout the years. Today we can boast an average of 300.000 visitors a year.

When you visit the zoo to observe and enjoy the Walcreeper, Ibex, Otter or Chough you are probably not aware of the fact that we owe the concept of this zoo and its methods of keeping and breeding alpine species to Prof. Hans Psenner (1912−1995), also lovingly remembered as «The father of the Alpenzoo».

Ibex

Even as a young man and nature lover he fought to establish a zoo devoted specifically to alpine wild-life. It took him years however to fulfill his dream. He was 50 when the zoo finally opened. Prof. Psenner headed the zoo till 1979.

Otter

He was succeeded by Dr. Helmut Pechlaner who left us to take over the Schönbrunn Zoo in Vienna in 1992. Dr. Michael Martys has been the executive and zoological director of the zoo since 1992.

Mission

The Alpenzoo is dedicated to four main tasks:

Education

Education and awareness are essential to conservation. Education can also be fun which is why we at the Alpenzoo offer our visitors a wide range of activities aimed at increasing awareness in a relaxing and fun atmosphere.

Lynx

You can get to know our animals just by watching them. If you want to learn more about them you can take part in our informal education programs or participate in our outdoor «Zoo School». Take your family to the zoo. You may be surprised at how exiting nature can be.

Research

The Alpenzoo maintains its own registered association — The «Forschungs- und Lehrinstitut».

the bear

This association not only supervises diploma projects, it also conducts research on a variety of biological topics including animal behaviour, environmental enrichment and animal health, thereby contributing significantly to the Alpenzoo´s mission of conservation, animal welfare and breeding.

the wolf

The «Forschungs- und Lehrinstitut» also facilitates the collaboration and cooperation with Austrian and international universities.

Conservation

The conservation of wild animals and their natural habitats are fundamental to the mission of the zoo community in a world where intact environment becomes more and more rare.

moose

This mission is maintained by breeding programs, public education and research, animal welfare and the participation in conservation in situ activities.

mountain goat

Furthermore quite a number of Endangered Species Programs (EEP) and European studbooks (ESB) have been built up which help to manage species spread between different zoos as a self-sustaining population.

This is important for species that are very close to extinction in the wild, and provides an «insurance» population.

tiger

Zoos can also supply individuals for well coordinated re-introduction projects in National Parks, protected areas and/or in still intact environment:

  • co-ordinates the Northern Bald Ibis (Geronticus eremita) EEP
  • participates the EEP´s of the Otter (Lutra lutra), the European Bison (Bison bonasus), the Bearded Vulture (Gypaetus barbatus) and the Black Stork (Ciconia nigra)
  • is part of the ESB of the Griffon Vulture (Gyps fulvus), European Lynx (Lynx lynx), European Brown bear (Ursus arctos sp.)
  • takes part in release projects of the Ibex (Capra ibex), European Wildcat (Felis silvestris), Bearded Vulture (Gypaetus barbatus), alpine grouses and owls
  • shelters and cares for injured wild animals

Adventure

A day at the Alpenzoo is a day of adventure and discovery for young and old. Watch the tiny harvest mouse climbing or the colourful alpine fish in the aquarium. Enjoy first hand the playful antics of our diving and swimming expert, the otter.

the otter

You can listen to the «chrup» calls of the Northern Bald Ibis, the sweet song of the nightingale and every time the church bells of Innsbruck ring our wolves start to howl.

wolves

Visit our animals at the show farm and enjoy them at close range. If you want to you can compare your arm span with the wing span of the Bearded Vulture or climb the climbing wall to «Geierwally´s Eagle Nest».

eagle

«Bear Playground» will give your children a chance to wear themselves out, after all it takes a lot of courage to explore the Bear Cave and the wolf´s den.

the bear

We offer a special children´s birthday tour upon enquiry.

Alpenzoo today

The Alpenzoo has changed a lot since the year 2000. The zoo itself has grown and now covers an area of 4.1 ha. With the financial support of the Tyrolean government and the city of Innsbruck we have not only been able to renovate existing enclosures and aviaries but also to construct new ones based on a modern concept of animal keeping.

We have accomplished a great deal in the course of the past decade. A show farm exhibiting endangered breeds of Alpine cattle, sheep, pigs and goats (2000), a large going through aviary for the critically endangered Northern Bald Ibis (2002) and new enclosures for the European Brown Bear and the European Bison (2003). An alluvial forest, a Raven aviary and a large rocky enclosure for the Alpine Ibex were added between 2005 and 2006.

Snow Hare

The «Innergschlöß» — an aviary representing the Alpine zone was opened in 2007. It is home not only to the Bearded Vulture but also to Marmots, Snow Hares, Snow Finches and Rock PartidIn 2012 we could finish a large Alpine Lake cold water aquarium and our indoor event centre which will be opened soon on the site of what used to be the terrace.

Animals

The Alps are not just high mountains but you will also find deep gorges, cultivated valleys and gently rolling hills. Some areas are exceedingly remote, others densely populated. There are lakes, rivers with wetlands, thermally favoured spots, bogs and swamps, deciduous and coniferous forests, alpine meadows and glaciers.

Alpenzoo

In other words the Alps are a highly diversified area on a very small scale and that not only in regard to habitat and environment but also in regard to climate, soil and geological structure. The resulting biodiversity is amazing: at least 30 000 different animal species (mostly insects) are estimated to inhabit the region and about 4500 plant species grow in the area.

The Alpenzoo can only offer you a glimpse of alpine flora and fauna. We accommodate about 2000 animals in all, mainly vertebrates: 20 of the 80 alpine mammal species, 60 bird, 11 reptile and 6 amphibian species as well as nearly all alpine fish species.

Visitors ' comments

  1. Great zoo. Not the biggest one I have been too and there aren’t a large amount of animals but the natural habitats and the views are amazing! Not to mention, all of the animals were out and about, not hiding. If you go, I suggest going early if you take the cable car because those cars begin to fill up fast as the day goes on!
  2. The highest zoo in Europe. Perched on a hillside just across the Inn river from Innsbruck. Easy to reach by the Bergbahn at Congress and a special ticket covers the zoo and tram. My kids enjoyed the unique animals, especially the big, white snow rabbits.
  3. Because the zoo is located on the side of the mountain you get a nice view over Innsbruck. Lots of animals and big enough to spend at least 1,5 hours.
  4. We saw almost all the animals, if they were not in winter hibernation (because it was February). Stroller-friendly but it does go up and down hills, as it is on the side of the mountain. Dress warmly for the weather. We spent about 2 hours seeing all of the exhibits.
  5. The alpenzoo is unique and very pretty.
    But there is not the largest selection of animals.
    Its worth seeing though, as its a zoo in the mountains!

Watch a video about Alpenzoo:

Suggested accommodations

Hotel Seppl: Idyllic and yet central.

Get an amazing panoramic view of the Inn Valley and you are still just 5 km away from the cultural city of Innsbruck. Tradition and modernity bond harmoniously in a 4-star hotel. Unwind in our spacious SPA area and enjoy the culinary seductions from our kitchen, ranging from an organic breakfast to a 5-course meal.

Landgasthof and Hotel Bogner: Central. Intimate. Comfortable accommodation.

Intimate hotel with 32 rooms looks back on a long tradition. This Tyrolean ancestral estate has been family-owned since 1722. The parental home of the local Tyrolean poet Walburga Schindl was considered to be the meeting venue for Tyrolean writers. The central location in the vicinity of Innsbruck and Hall is perfect for holidays as a couple, with the family and also for sales representatives and commercial travellers.

MONDI-HOLIDAY Alpinhotel Schlösslhof is a small charming holiday hotel in dreamlike surroundings, the only 4 stars hotel in Axams.

Hotel Charlotte: Forget about everyday life and let yourself relax into pure holiday pleasure. Our family-run hotel, already in the third generation, is notable for its welcoming atmosphere and comfortable surroundings that help you feel instantly at home away from home.

Hotel Seefelderhof is a family run hotel situated amidst stunning mountain scenery. The beautifully cared-for hotel with it’s cosy atmosphere is the perfect setting for your dream getaway.

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Comments: 3
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