ZOOM Erlebniswelt Gelsenkirchen

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ZOOM Erlebniswelt Gelsenkirchen
Date opened1949 as "Ruhr-Zoo"
LocationBleckstr. 64,
45889 Gelsenkirchen
Coordinates51°32′39″N 7°6′39″E / 51.54417°N 7.11083°E / 51.54417; 7.11083Coordinates: 51°32′39″N 7°6′39″E / 51.54417°N 7.11083°E / 51.54417; 7.11083
Land area31 hectares (about 77 acres)
No. of animalsca. 560
No. of species64
Major exhibitsexpedition to Afrika, Alaska and Asia

ZOOM Erlebniswelt Gelsenkirchen, founded on April 14, 1949 as "Ruhr-Zoo", is one of the most modern zoological gardens in Germany. It was founded on a heavily shelled area adjacent to a port on the Rhein-Herne-Kanal. It initially encompassed 15.5 hectares. During its first years, there was a large turnover of animals as they were provided by an animal trader.

Today the park is owned by the City of Gelsenkirchen via GEW – Gesellschaft für Energie und Wirtschaft mbH, (society for energy and business, a holding of municipally owned concerns)

After 2004 the park was enlarged to the present size.

It is especially well known for its panoramas and cultural approach.
The main attractions are big animals, mostly mammals; the zoo has no aquarium house, insectarium or other facilities for smaller animals.

Visitors annually
prior to 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
approx. 250,000 approx. 750,000 approx. 1,000,000 approx. 900,000 approx. 850,000[1] approx. 1,050,000[2] approx. 902,000[3]

The numbers prior to 2005 reflect average visitor numbers for the old Ruhr-Zoo.

Concept and layout[edit]

map of the park

The entrance area resembles the character of a Westphalian farm and is called Grimberger Hof (opened 2004). Its yard offers access to the three separated areas of the park. These are called "safaris" and titled Alaska (opened 2005), Afrika (opened 2006) and Asien (opened 2010).

All Safaris are accessible through gates in a matching style with a shop delivering related paraphernalia.

Grimberger Hof[edit]

The entrance area is designed as a farm and features some rare species of domesticated animals, a restaurant, a playground, a shop for memorabilia and a petting zoo.



It mainly features nearctic ecozone wildlife with the likes of polar bears, mooses, Californian sea lions. It has a tunnel under a water-filled basin and beavers in a landscaped habitat.

The area is decorated with American road signs, a school bus, a cave resembling a gold mine and other touristy features. Additionally, there is another open-air restaurant and a Simulator ride with animated floor gives the illusion of riding an igloo on an ice floe.



This safari features most of the popular big animals from Sub-Saharan Africa. Lions and zebras can be seen within the same panorama. A lake with flamingos, a rocky landscape for monkeys and an area with hippos (which are separated from the visitors by means of invisible underwater fences) can be traversed via a tow boat ride called the African Queen.

Besides wild animals the entrance area displays some domesticated forms like Ankole-Watusi.

This area features another open-air restaurant and a big playground.



Asia features mainly a big hall with tropical climate, home of orangutans, gray langurs, flying foxes, orchids, palm trees and more. It also includes a big indoor playground and a restaurant with Asian kitchen.

Further attractions are a monkey palace, Bactrian camels and (displayed since summer 2013) Siberian tigers.



  • On the 31th March 2020, the hippopotamus Ernie celebrated his 50th birthday. With that age, he is the oldest hippopotamus bull in Germany. Ernie was born in Karlsruhe, but lives in Gelsenkirchen since 1971. With the two female hippos Asita and Susi, he lives in the rainforest hall an in an area at the Africa lake.
  • The hippopotamus Rosi, which had a weight of more than two tons, was the oldest hippopotamus in Germany. She celebrated her 50th in 2008 and lived in ZOOM since 1981. Since then, she gave birth to twelve hippos. On 24th April 2012, Rosi died in the age of 53 years.

External links[edit]