Following Our private tour of Budapest, me and my small travel group visited the Budapest zoo. The great number of animals was clearly not enough for us and we went to visits the biggest tropicarium of middle Europe located in Budapest the next day. That’s where one of the most bizarre experiences of my life happened. I got to pet rays.
Budapest zoo is famous not only for its size but the conventional location right in the town center. We were already parked near the Heroe’s square where we started our private tour.
By the time we were finished with the tour, it was already 3 o’clock. After a quick lunch, we headed to the zoo according to our plan.
Zoo closes at 5, and if you think you can make it in 2 hours as we did, you are mistaken.
I would totally recommend getting in much earlier than we did. We got to see like half of the zoo in those 2 hours and we went on at a really quick pace.
We choose a very bad day for the zoo.
The weather was unbearable that day. So freaking hot. We and most of the animals felt like these polar bears in the picture.
By around 4, most of the animals were already done with the tourists and went back to their “houses” and were no longer visible in their usual exhibition. If you wanted to follow them you could enter the buildings and watch them through the cage or window. Not the same experience though. I felt kind of guilty sneaking up on them when they clearly wanted to be left alone. We got to see this way giraffes, monkeys, gorillas, elephants or rhinos. Most of the others were still showing off till closing time.
Budapest zoo offers an interactive experience as well. You can walk through a garden with tons of beautiful butterflies. Just be careful and don’t let anyone of them out.
The same goes for the dark tropical room we entered without checking out what’s waiting for us on the inside. It was full of bats flying around and several other 4 legged animals I couldn’t even identify. The whole place was so dark and I was too afraid of the unknown animals to observe them more. They were so calm and clearly not bothered with people freaking out by their presence.
If you’re lucky you might even catch the feeding time or I’d recommend to prepare ahead and find out individual feeding times online. Also different animal shows like sea dogs one. We only noticed it because of the huge group of people suddenly leaving their tank.
The animals were so used to people it was unbelievable.
My favorite moment was with the 2 big ass hippopotamuses. There was this random guy who was tearing nearby grass and throwing it to hippos open mouths, They were both patiently waiting for more and it was ridiculous. It was hard to remind myself that I’m staring at one of the deadliest animals on the planet acting super cute.
Also, it’s not allowed to feed the animals with random stuff so don’t do that.
Expect for the animals you could find different types of attractions there, like this giant rock we thought would be a shortcut through the park, we found out to be a dead end so we had to climb back down. Different food stands or cooling steam which was priceless on such a hot day.
It was so easy to maneuver through the park. With your entry ticket which cost like 3300Huf for adults, you also got a map of the zoo. Every animal was drawn on it so all you had to do was just look up and see the animal in front of you and you’d know where you are on the map.
It’s a shame we didn’t get to see most of the zoo. I would say it takes around 4-5 hours to truly appreciate everything in Budapest zoo.
A couple of minutes before closing time they would announce the closing so the visitors could start to leave one by one. As we were leaving the zoo I noticed the turtle running for it to the main entrance. No idea how that happened or if her run out was successful as she was so fast I lost her in the distance. Hope she’s ok.
The other day we went to visit Budapest’s tropicarium.
The most bizarre fact is that the biggest tropicarium in middle Europe is situated in a shopping center. You literally walk past the supermarket and shoe shops to see the sharks.
It was around 2700Huf per adult to get in. Firstly we went through the tropical forest part of the tour. Lovely koi ponds with exotic statues, lizards, and snakes. They even simulated tropical rain with noises, rain, and everything. They had so many different snakes and I even witnessed Harry Potter and Philosopher stone snake scene first handed.
Just like this:
Then we moved to aquarium parts, most famously the aquarium walkthrough. Budapest’s tropicarium contains several types of sharks, rays, and many more sea animals all listed HERE. Their official website is very nicely made so check that out for more information.
Every time I get to visit such a place it is almost impossible to take nice pictures because of so many people just standing there enjoying the view. This time I managed though. We came in very early and the place was almost empty so that’s another of my recommendations.
You move along to the different smaller aquariums all full of different types of fishes. Great to look at but that’s it.
You move along the tour and you find yourself in front of a huge tank with an open top that is in the height of your ribs. There’s a lot of splashing and soft noises going around and the whole place is quite wet. You’re free to bend over and dip your hand into the water tank. It’s lukewarm and nothing much is happening.
But then you’ll see the splashing smudge approaching you.
The tank is full of different types, sizes, and colors of rays and they honestly behave like puppies. They come to you from a distance and swim all the way from the bottom and it looks like they are begging you to pet them. Several ones were just swimming at the top of the tank, going around and letting every tourist there pet them.
I did too. To be fair I was super nervous to touch them and the first time I did I pulled my hand out so fast I didn’t even notice the feeling of the ray.
It’s just so weird. Like wet velvet and a bit slimy as well. Once I got used to it it was impossible to get me out of there.
Trust me, it’s so hard to take a video with one hand while trying to pet ray with the other. I managed only this short one:
It was an experience like no other.
If you have the chance just do it it’s awesome. I totally recommend Budapest one.
We had a great time getting to know the animal kingdom of Budapest but it definitely takes more time than 2 hours.