Incredible wildlife:The Falkenstein Zoo in Vogtland is a real eye-catcher

With lovingly designed enclosures, and many opportunities for children to play, stroke and solve puzzles, the approximately two and a half hectare facility is the ideal family zoo. There are 45 species and around 165 individual animals to see.

The Tiergarten borders directly on the Stadtpark. When it was founded in 1953, the park was still part of the Tierpark area, after which part of the site was given up. « The beginnings are in Auerbach. At that time it was a kind of school zoo, » says zoo boss Michael Gottschalk.

A few meters behind the entrance, common marmosets greet visitors. Adjacent to this is the tropical house – a real highlight for the small zoo. « There used to be an aquarium, » says Gottschalk.

Dozens of reptiles such as iguanas, Burmese pythons, chameleons, and turtles cavort in the tropical house when the temperatures are pleasantly warm. More enclosures will soon be built in the storage rooms, which have already been expanded to look like rock.

Michael Gottschalk points to the bulletproof glass window: « We got that from the savings bank. » Events are also coming into focus. Next to the tropical house, an old trailer is being pimped up.

« Here a zoo educator should create offers for children and young people in the future. » Other formats are conceivable. The entrance area will be rebuilt by 2023. Checkout and snack bar should be connected. « At certain times, a machine takes the entrance fees. »

In the middle of the zoo, a « high stand » invites you to linger and at the same time offers a great overview – this project was also only recently implemented. Kids especially love the old barn, which houses « pets » like sheep and rabbits.

The walk-in petting zoo is no less popular. The pot-bellied pigs are currently also attracting the attention of adults. About a month ago there were eight offspring! The largest zoo animals are camels. « We even bred them and gained a stallion, » says Gottschalk.

Around 40,000 visitors enjoy the animals every year. Including kindergarten visits, there are even 50,000. Björn and Martin (both 3), two American black bears, are the pride of the Falkensteiner Tiergarten.

After the death of the brown bears, the two only moved in last November. In the meantime, they have settled in well. If you are very lucky, you can see her dancing. The two black bears are still a bit shy.

No wonder, nine months ago they were still living with their mother in the Netherlands. « Since our old bears died, we wanted new ones to bring the beautiful enclosure back to life, » says zoo director Michael Gottschalk.

They feed on plant foods such as fruits, nuts, or grass. The brothers are also crazy about pastries and ice cream in summer. Animal keeper Catherina Heckel also gives me a melon: « They get it out of the water and sometimes dance when they have it in their hands. »

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