Last weekend, to celebrate our Little B turning the Big 2, we decided to have a family adventure and take them to a zoo. Not just any zoo, though. It’s a zoo that they’ve been dying to go to since we first moved to Hamburg and saw its adverts plastered all over a million buses. To be honest, The Boy and I have been a little reluctant because it’s always tough to get this crew motivated and out the door in the morning. It’s almost impossible when there’s a cool new HUGE Lego Duplo playset in the house. And this zoo is way out there. Best case scenario, it’s 30 minutes on a train and then 30 minutes on a bus. Unless you miss the connecting bus and have to wait an entire hour for the next one. I figured that a birthday was special enough to warrant all the slings and arrows that come with traveling with excited and impatient and eventually hungry and tired kiddos, though. So, billing this whole trip as a surprise birthday adventure, we set off not telling them where we were headed.
Of course we missed our bus by 5 minutes because we got lost in the station. There was whinging. The kids got hungry and we needed to find a snack. The weather was cold and totally manic – bright and sunny one minute, snow/hailing the next. Oh, and the birthday boy fell asleep because nothing comes between that kid and a nap. But when we stepped off that bus in front of the entrance and they realized where we were…magic. I swear our oldest, B., half floated half hopped all the way to the gate.
Guys, this park is well worth the time it takes to get there. It’s set in a little forrest in the middle of rolling pastures and farm land just south of the city and was so so pretty that we completely forgot about how bonkers the weather was. In fact, it even added somehow to the adventure.
The entrance with its little bubbling brook and gorgeous cherry tree is full bloom framing the adorable ticket office/gift shop/restaurant ticket house had me just dying to sing “The Hills are Alive!” I didn’t, but I should have because my kids are too young to be embarrassed by that sort of thing just yet and since I plan to grow old eccentrically they might as well get used to it.
Highland cows are my fav. I would seriously consider moving to Scotland to be a Highland cow herder. Especially if said herd came with a cool Scottish cottage or super awesome old castle.
Most of the animals were native to Europe – no lions or tigers – and we were able to wander through a few idyllic enclosures and feed some of the inhabitants.
There were, however, bears. My dear sweet husband pushed 45 lbs of stroller + 50 lbs of babies to the top of a very steep hill to see this guy ’cause he’s the best.
There was silliness with elk antlers.
And Baby Girl insisted on taking a little detour through this extremely dense bamboo forest.
We enjoyed the glorious sun on this bridge for a few minutes as the kiddos had to run across it 10 times. There were nutra rats, too, or as I like to think of them ROUS’s.
And then five minutes later this happened. It looks like snow, but it’s really tiny pea size hail.
That’s the storm that had just passed as we were leaving. Pretty amazing, right? It’s true what the Swedes say: There’s no such thing as bad weather. Just bad clothing. Words to live by if you every want to leave the house in this part of the world. That and “Always take an umbrella”.
If you’re ever in Hamburg and looking to take a beautiful walk through the woods complete with guaranteed wildlife, then I can highly recommend Wildpark Schwarze Berge. Just make sure you hit the bus connection right and wear the proper clothing.
Wildpark Schwarze Berge
Am Wildpark 1