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19.06.2017 - Ausgabe: 3/2017

More visitors and fun in the Berlin Zoo


Double fun factor for children: During the 2016 summer holidays the Berlin Zoo introduced two new highlights for its youngest visitors. On 4 August the old water playground was reopened after extensive restructuring measures and the new fairy tale forest next to the Patagona Restaurant boasts many new and exciting adventures for the children.

Bathing fun with historical tradition: Due to its typical architecture of the 1950s, the old playground next to the pets corner is a listed monument. Thus, the modernisation process demanded intuition and sensitivity. In 1994, however, the new security regulations put an end to the bathing fun. The former swimming pool was transformed into a ducks pond. For more than two decades it was only for the pets to take a bath in it. But now, the animal park's water area is celebrating a great comeback. The new modern water playground for children of between 3 and 6 years of age, which reflects the former beach idea and interprets it in a modern contemporary way, was designed under the motto "One day at the sea-side."

Bring on the water! Whereas in former times, only ducks were splashing around, today floor-embedded water-jet nozzles guarantee top entertainment and lots of fun for children. Over an area of more than 4,000 sqm. various maritime components remind adults and children of a relaxing holiday at the Baltic Sea.


The fairy tale forest

However, this is not the end of the adventure. While the adults have a rest in the shade of large trees and enjoy a cup of South American coffee on the terrace of the recently opened Patagona Restaurant, the children are heading towards the next action-packed adventure. The mystic fairy tale forest which is just next door and occupies an area of 4,500 sqm attracts the small guests to discover unexplored territories. Here, they will find an alphabetical puzzle in a soft sandy area right next to the terrace of the new restaurant, like something out of the fairy-tale book. While children are playing in the front yard of Dr Linde, a researcher of mythical creatures, their parents can always have an eye on them.

This part of the playground tells the story of Dr Linde, a scientist who has dedicated his life to investigating mythical creatures and who has established his research station on this site. Of course, Dr Linde is a fictional person.

The playground is subdivided into four different areas. Dr Linde's front yard, the stone landscape, the climbing course and the Madman's lodge.

During the construction phase of this scenery the research station was painted onto the wall of the building. The "lost letters" in the shape of playground devices, which have fallen out of his book - the encyclopaedia of mythical creatures - can be found in Dr Linde's front yard. That is how this special area for small children was created from the letters "C", "S", "K" and the upright but half-submerged letter "O".

The inner pages of the open book show Dr Linde's observations. Mythical creatures, such as river or mountain goblins are presented in detail. There is a separate chapter about the Madman, a coarse creature, and about a small-boned character called the "Spinneratz". The respective letterings have been made by hand in a very time-consuming process to gain a realistic image.

The journey leads down to a river valley and passes through a boulder track where goblins can be seen petrified into climbing rocks. Around each corner of this magical landscape many adventures are waiting to be discovered. Hiding, climbing, balancing - here children can act out all their urge to move.

A beautiful stone sculpture which serves as a climbing course, shows the mythical creatures in their natural rock environment. A haunted path leads the visitors to an impressing climbing rope course and from there on to the Madman's lodge. Even from far away the Madman calls the visitors' attention to himself by making strange noises - produced by sensors -  just like those an angry madman would make. This coarse creature is extremely angry and uproots trees and throws them to the ground where they get stuck. The sprawling huge roots of the big tree trunks are pointing upwards. Full of rage the madman mistreated the tree trunks with his big sharp claws and teeth. "All these particular features are reflected in this area and make the Madman's lodge a very special play area.

"However, it takes a great deal of courage to enter the labyrinth of the marshy forest where the dangerous Madman is hiding", says Uli Paulig, the Managing Director of Ulrich Paulig & Co. merry go round TM OHG and initiator of this playground.



This event architecture provides special places and insights and lets the visitors delve into a very special fantasy world. Individual playground devices may particularly underline the effect of this special atmosphere. In any case, the Berlin Zoo is a very successful example.

Both playgrounds were financed with 1.6 million euros out of the 5 million euros package approved by the Senate Commission in 2014. “This fund has evidently been used in the best possible way, says Dr Matthias Kollatz-Ahnen, Senator for Finances of the Federal State of Berlin while praising the good results of the restructuring measures. The renewal of the entrance area next to the window from which the bears can be observed is another good example to show that even short-term measures can raise the attractiveness of the Berlin Zoo and should continue to have a positive effect on the number of visitors." The architects from the company skp.berlin Gebäude und Landschaften GmbH and the engineering offices Genius and Obermayer were responsible for the design of the restructuring measures. The implementation period took place between March and August 2016.Frank Bruckmann who is the chairman of the board of the Berlin Zoo AG (public limited company) is enthusiastic and says: "This second playground was a great enrichment for Europe's biggest zoo and indeed a long overdue measure. I am very happy that the Berlin Zoo has again increased in quality and thus remains a popular destination for family excursions." Zoo Director Dr Andreas Knieriem is also pleased with the new offerings for the young visitors. "We have created a fantastic play area for big and small kids which awakes their spirit for adventure. And of course it is the greatest reward for our work to see the gratitude in the eyes of the children!"



Photo: Ulrich Paulig & Co. merry go round TM OHG

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