Hello everyone! Today I’m gonna introduce to you a wildlife park very close to the city of Zürich. If you wanna ask me why not going to the zoo then? It’s even closer. Well, because the wildlife park is free while the zoo charges you 26 CHF! Haha, joking, it’s mainly because in the wildlife park, the animals can be observed in their natural environment. The animals are not forced into small enclosures and instead have plenty of room to roam where they can also retreat or behave as they would in nature. However, do not expect to see every animal you have planned to see because since you don’t pay them, they will appear whenever they feel happy to but not obliged lol. (It’s because their living fields are so large that sometimes maybe they are taking on the other side of the hill, but don’t worry, the keepers do try to lure them to the front of you by placing some food etc. So generally on a sunny day, you won’t be disappointed.)
Wildnispark Zürich is a wilderness park near the city of Zürich in Switzerland. It includes the Sihlwald forest, the largest mixed deciduous and coniferous forest in the Swiss Mittelland, and the Langenberg Wildlife Park (the one I’m taking about in this post), the oldest Swiss wildlife park. Both sites are situated in the Sihl Valley to the south of Zürich, but are separated from each other by the town of Langnau am Albis.
Zürich Wilderness Park
The Zürich Wilderness Park was formed in 2009, by the merger of the Langenberg Wildlife Park and the Sihlwald forest. Today, the park welcomes more than half a million yearly visitors, who are encouraged to barbecue, hike, cycle, and even ride horseback through the park, as well as visit the its museum and attend various outdoor events.
The Zürich Wilderness Park comprises two disconnected sites:
The Sihlwald Forest, largely situated in the municipality of Horgen but also spreading into several adjoining municipalities. The city of Zürich received the Sihl forest, or Sihlwald, as a gift in 1309 from the Hapsburgers and again in 1524 through the dissolution of the Fraumünster convent. Over the following centuries, the forest provided Zürich with timber and firewood. However, the trees have not been felled since the 1990s. This is due to the actions of forest director Andreas Speich, in order to preserve the forest’s unique composition. Sihlwald is situated on both banks of the Sihl river, although mostly on the western slopes rising up to the Albis hills. The forest covers approximately 12 square kilometres and is between 14 km and 21 km south of Zürich. It is the only Swiss peri-urban nature reserve, and consists of mostly beech trees, some of which are up to 250 years old. The majority of the trees are about 120 years old.
The Langenberg Wildlife Park, a zoo situated in the municipality of Langnau am Albis some 12 km south of Zürich. Langenberg is home to a zoo with 16 native or formerly native animals such as bears, beavers, elk, hare, lynxes, wild boar, wolves, European bison and Przewalski’s horse. The wisents and forest horses on display in the park are now extinct in Switzerland – and the Langenberg wildlife park is involved with projects to preserve them and promote their resettlement.
Both sites can be reached via rail service S4 of the Zurich S-Bahn, using Wildpark-Höfli station for the Langenberg Wildlife Park and Sihlwald station for the Sihlwald forest.
Langenberg Wildlife Park
Pictures below were taken on the 7th of May in Langenberg wildlife park.
I didn’t go to the Sihlwald forest but I went to the Langenberg wildlife park twice so here I’ll focus on visiting the wildlife park. To be honest, the Langenberg wildlife park is quite big and if you’re not planning on hiking for 2 or even more hours, I think a hiking in the wildlife park is enough and quite fun. I went there in early May and late August and it feels quite different. In early May, everything is so green and fresh. Like the pictures I show above, new leaves begin to grow and they are so bright green. When I went there again in late August, some leaves have already begun to fall and you can rarely seen the bright green anymore.
Pictures below were taken on the 21st of August in Langenberg wildlife park.
Now I’ll give you some information or tips concerning how to visit this wildlife park.
Opening hours: 24/7 all the year round.
Entry tickets: Free
How to get there: This depends on which entrance you wanna enter the wildlife park. the most convenient way would be to take train S4 from Zürich HB and get off at “Wildpark-Höfli” and then you can enter from the eastern side of the park. If you wanna enter from the southern side of the park, you can take train S2 from Zürich HB to “Thalwil” and transfer to bus No. 140 or No. 240 and get off at stop “Langnau am Albis, Altersheim” or stop “Langnau am Albis, Unteralbis”. If you wanna enter from the northern side of the park, you should take train S4 from Zürich HB and get off at “Sihlau”. This also gives you some idea about taking a round trip in the park if you don’t want to go back taking the same route as you come here.
The Langenberg wildlife park has actually two parts, the western part and the eastern park. The eastern part is bigger with more animals, picnic and barbecue area. However, if you wanna see the little cute fox like in my featured image, you have to go to the western part. You can check the map of the park below and decide whether it’s interesting or worth your time. The two parts are connected by a bridge so don’t risk your life crossing the highway. The map below also show different themed trails and you should have a look before going there.
If you feel you’ve seen too much of the city of Zürich, Üetliberg and here, the Zürich wilderness park, will show you another side of Zürich. I wish you a relaxing day in the nature with the native creatures. 🙂