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Published: June 28th 2017
Dvur Kralove Zoo is situated just outside the small town of Dvur Kralove nad Labem in Northern Czech Republic. I stayed in the hotel that is in the zoo which I would recommend since it allows free access to the zoo after opening times. This was helpful for seeing some of the more elusive animals (though even with multiple visits, I missed the African Civet, seen it before in the wild anyway) though the indoor areas couldn’t be accessed after closing time. The main reason I visited the zoo was to see one of the last Northern White Rhinos. This is I’m sure the main thing that this zoo is famous for and I really had no idea what else there was, but there is a lot more nice stuff besides the rhinos.
- The zoo has lots of nice large paddocks along with a couple of possibly small ones (some of the rhino paddocks, elephant, dromedaries etc. were on the small side). There were many natural looking areas that I saw signed for animals where at my visit - which was before the start of the summer season - the animals were kept in smaller paddocks.
- I personally found the African theming very over the top. It was quite nicely done but it was everywhere with African music in all the buildings, and especially the ‘Lemur Restaurant’ was extremely African themed. I found this quite weird sitting in the Czech Republic, surrounded by cold, leafless trees. I suppose if you visited for an ‘African Experience’ then it’s exactly what you want but it just seemed a bit fake to me.
- Most of the buildings had no indoor viewing. I found this to be really quite annoying actually because often, the animals weren’t out. This was mainly the hoofstock that had no indoor viewing for their sheds and I suppose if it was a lovely, warm, summer’s day and all of the animals were outside then this wouldn’t be a problem but there were a lot of species that I failed to see.
- The signage. I found the signage around the zoo incredibly annoying; actually, what I mean is I found the lack of signage extremely annoying. There were so many unsigned things it is just ridiculous. In the walkthrough multi-species bird aviaries, only about half of the species I saw were signed and the same was true with all of the bird exhibits around the zoo – only around half were signed. This wasn’t just birds either; lots of other things were unsigned.
- Something that I noted that I thought was slightly unusual – dogs were permitted all around the outdoor areas of the zoo.
- There was a lot of repairing and refurbishing going on all around the zoo - fixing paths, re-thatching roofs etc. probably in preparation for the summer.
- There was quite nice natural scenery around the zoo including a small woodland area with a small stream. There were also a lot of birds and I saw: greater spotted and middle spotted woodpecker, marsh, long-tailed, great and blue tits, yellowhammers, nuthatch, treecreeper, blackbirds, woodpigeons, bullfinches, grey wagtails, white storks etc. There was also some sort of tree-climbing adventure thing in the woodlands that was being repaired when I was there. The only downside of these large natural areas meant some fairly large walking distances whilst seeing no captive animals. (Though I believe during the summer, some of the empty fields I was walking past would have animals in them)
- There bird collection was very impressive. This was divided between an outdoor bird aviary with lots of ducks and other water birds and a bird house that had some outdoor aviaries attached with an indoor bit divided into a large free-flying mixed-species area and an area with a number of smaller aviaries and the room for chicks with a glass window going into it. (Note: the bird house was also home to orangutans and Javan langurs). There were also a couple of birds in other places such as a flamingo pool and some lovebirds in the reptile house and aquarium (which was also a very nice area).
Overall, I think that Dvur Kralove is a good zoo. It isn’t fantastic in my opinion in terms of exhibit designs visitor facilities etc. but it is all acceptable but with some good bits. On the other hand, the collection of species was brilliant; of course the Northern White rhinos but also a few rarer hoofstock species and some gems in terms of birds, herps and the smaller mammals.
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