It all started back in 1795 with a park of waterfalls, fountains and a grotto. 133 years later, animal lover Bruno Schulz opened the first enclosure for native animals together with the leased café next to the waterfalls and turned this into a popular attraction. His lifework was destroyed in 1945 by fleeing units of the Waffen-SS. From 1957 onwards, his son Günter Schulz established an animal park for native animals, the later animal park Eberswalde, and brought his father’s work back to life.
His successor, Dr. Bernd Hensch, who in 1989 was appointed director of the Eberswalde zoological garden, introduced new tasks: Environmental education, nature and species protection and biological scientific research, good views for visitors into open-air enclosures, animal enclosures designed in harmony with nature, attractive recreational facilities, barrier-free enclosures and most of all, fascinating species from five continents. In 2000, an international jury assessed Eberswalde Zoo as a „first rate“ facility – this rating also expresses our commitment for the future.
Brief history and more…
Waterfall and game park Eberswalde Zoo originated from a landscaped park with waterfalls that was created in 1795 by David Schickler to the west of Zainhammer. The forested area with bridges, waterfalls, fountains, gazebos and a grotto was a popular destination right from the start. From 1842 onwards, the newly opened railway line also allowed easy access to the waterfall park for Berliners. Franz Mücke, who later became a musical director, chose the waterfall area as the setting for the big singing contest of the Mark Brandenburg district in 1847, which started a long tradition that was to last many years. A memorial to the late musical director, the „Mücke memorial“, was ceremoniously unveiled in 1863.
From 1929 on animal lover Bruno Schulz held the lease for the restaurant next to the waterfall and built the first animal enclosure. His plan was to establish a spacious and sophisticated destination for day trips with a small adjoining game park. At first the game park was home to around 20 native animals. In the following years Eurasian eagle owls, common coots, white storks, red foxes, martens, raccoons, red and fallow deer, together with an excellent restaurant, attracted large numbers of visitors.
Destruction and reconstruction
On 24 April 1945, Bruno Schulz’s lifework was entirely destroyed. Fleeing units of the Waffen-SS made sure that only smouldering ruins remained of the game park and the restaurant. The reconstruction of the waterfall park was part of the second five-year plan of the former German Democratic Republic until 1960.
Bruno Schulz’s son Günter Schulz planned and later also designed Eberswalde game park in 1957. It took only one year to complete the first animal enclosures, a fence surrounding the park, a small ticket office cabin and a house for the director on the grounds of the animal park.
Post-war period and reunification
Under the direction of Günter Schulz, the park developed into an animal park of high standard. The park had now also become home to lions, tigers, cougars, leopards, bears and later also to monkeys, which was the reason for the change in name to „Eberswalde Animal Park“.
In April 1989, Dr. Bernd Hensch was appointed director of Eberswalde Zoological Garden. After graduating in Biology at Humboldt University Berlin, Hensch began work in the garden in 1981 as research assistant and from 1983 onwards as deputy director. The main focus till then had been on the breeding and keeping of wild and domestic animals. Now, new tasks like environmental education, the protection of nature and species and biological research were added. Natural stone, wood from oaks and from robinias were used as building material. Metal fences, rendered facades and fair-faced concrete were replaced by open-air enclosures, which provided visitors with good views. The aim was to design an animal park modelled on nature that included high quality details, and to create a home for fascinating animals originating from five continents.
Zoo and educational park
Transforming the Eberswalde zoological garden into an educational park, like a „school set in nature“, not only increased the number of visitors, but also the number of animals born in the park. From 160,000 visitors in 1990, the number rose to around 250,000 visitors in 2009.
Today the zoo is also a partner of international programmes like the EEP (European Endangered Species Programme). Comparable to a miniature Noah’s arch, a bigger number of endangered species of wild and domestic animals are being kept and successfully bred.
1958 Re-opening of the park for native animals.
1961 Construction of an open-air enclosure for leopards.
1963 Opening of the lion’s house with a first adjoining small open-air enclosure; construction of a playground.
1964 Enclosure for Shetland ponies, construction of a small restaurant in the park grounds.
1965 Kitchen for animal fodder and building for food storage – open-air enclosure for donkeys, sheep and goats and a warm house for pata monkeys – construction of an enclosure for fallow deer.
1966 Aviaries for tawny owls and common barn owls – construction of a first wooden bridge across the pond.
1967 Enclosures for ferrets and raccoons and for European mouflons and llamas.
1969 Opening of the animal park restaurant to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the former German Democratic Republic.
1973 Enclosure complex for Royal Bengal tigers.
1976 Aviary for Eurasian eagle owls.
1980 Small enclosure for Siberian tigers.
1981 Enclosure for yaks and wapitis.
1982 Re-structuring of the park’s administration begins.
1984 Big aviary for golden eagles.
1985 Grotto for coatis – renovation of the enclosures for pine and beech martens.
1986 Enclosures for red and Arctic foxes.
1987 Aviary for European wildcats and enclosure for European lynxes.
1989 Dr. Hensch appointed director of the zoo.
1990 Verein der Freunde und Förderer des Tierparks Eberswalde e.V. founded.
1991 Reconstruction of the pond (start of a three-year refurbishment period) – footpaths made accessible for disabled visitors.
1992 Reconstruction of an enclosure for Bactrican camels and yaks – first group of monkeys (Common marmoset) living entirely free on the zoo grounds introduced – new bridge crossing the pond, dovecot and new enclosure for pot-bellied pigs – construction of a large playground.
1993 Construction of enclosures for llamas and zebras – aviary for snowy owls – three enclosures for white-faced sakis, cottontop tamarins and ring-tailed lemurs built in co-operation with the Berlin Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research – new design of the wild boar enclosure – reconstruction of the historic singer memorial – enclosure for golden lion tamarins, aviary for Eurasian eagle owl and enclosure for nilgais.
1994 Enclosure for beech martens, new house for European bison, new enclosure for porcupines, cheetah enclosure – flamingo house with open-air enclosure – first enlargement and refurbishment of the tiger enclosure – reconstruction of pond completed, two fountains and islands additionally added – second group of monkeys (white-fronted lemurs) living entirely free on the grounds of the zoo.
1995 New enclosure for domestic animals, new complex for ring-tailed lemurs, aviary for griffon vultures – reopening of the refurbished „Brown bear“ restaurant – „Tierparkhäusl“ animal park cabin reconstructed.
1996 Construction of a penguin enclosure – conversion of the red deer house to house antelopes and zebras – construction of an enclosure for black leopards – open-air enclosure for prairie dogs – construction of new sanitary facilities – aviary for steppe eagles.
1997 Director Dr. Hensch accepted as member of the Association of German Zoo Directors (VDZ) – new enclosure for red ruffed lemurs.
1998 Environmental award of the Federal Republic of Germany for innovative energy savings / jungle house using a decentralised heating system for all animal houses and service buildings – opening of the jungle house – adventure playground featuring steep slides and the first “suspension bridge” in Eberswalde – “Bock auf Zoo” (“Into the zoo”) workshop for children, youths and “VIPs” (now an annual tradition) – shared enclosure for brown bears and wolves – five new pavilions for environmental education – start of conversion of the zoo into an educational institution.
1999 Opening of the “Fairytale castle”, a school in the zoo – construction of the world’s “most exciting” lion enclosure – conversion into a barrier-free zoo completed – construction of a kangaroo enclosure with access for visitors and an enclosure for binturons – big aviary for American bald eagles.
2000 Eberswalde Zoo ranked “first class” by international jury and receives the highest marks of all zoos in Germany – registry office opens in the “Fairytale castle” – enclosure for oriental small-clawed otters and aviary for great grey owls – a wolf living in the wild called „three-legs“ is caught and is now a permanent guest of the zoo – opening of the zoo museum – opening of a house for nilgai, blackbucks and common cranes – gibbon house and enclosure renovated, additional bridge across the pond and suspension bridge.
2001 Enclosure for squirrel monkeys and open-air enclosure for reindeer – inauguration of a species’ cemetery – pathways are paved (all enclosures and houses are accessible for visitors with disabilities and for push chairs).
2002 „1st Long Night at the Zoo” with open-air cinema – conservatory added to the coati enclosure.
2003 Opening of Zoo Street – construction of the South America enclosure with accessible conservatory.
2004 Angela Merkel christens a penguin in the zoo – refurbishment und new design of the bridge across the zoo’s pond – construction of a traditional oven for baking bread that burns natural solid fuel – new viewing platform next to the gibbon enclosure – construction of a new house for llamas, coatis, rheas and capybaras – third group of monkeys (ring-tailed lemurs) living freely in the grounds of the zoo.
2005 „1st African Night at the Zoo” is a huge success and starts an annual tradition – guided tours from zoo to zoo are introduced, € 30,000 in donations collected on the first tour starting from Eberswalde Zoo and after 320 km ending at Rostock zoo – refurbishment of the employee’s building made possible by a legacy to the zoo.
2006 25th anniversary of zoo director Dr. Hensch – Zoo-TV can be received in hospitals and live online – Eberswalde Zoo presented with the “Service Quality Germany“ award for tourism businesses at the International Tourism Fair (ITB) in Berlin.
2007 Inauguration of a bronze bust of Günter Schulz, former zoo director and honorary citizen of the city of Eberswalde – new enclosure for snakes and turtles in the jungle house.
2008 80th birthday of Eberswalde Zoo celebrated with a big zoo festival – “1st cycling tour for Eberswalde Zoo”, leading through the district of Barnim, yields € 40,000 in donations – opening of the glacial landscape with open-air enclosure for Amur tigers with glacier and climate playground – refurbishment of the cheetah enclosure.
2009 Construction of enclosures for snakes and turtles in the jungle house. Contract regarding the permanent co-financing of Eberswalde Zoo by the district of Barnim signed by Bodo Ihrke, head of the Barnim district authority, and Friedhelm Boginski, major of the city of Eberswalde.
Remarkable first-time breeding
successes since reunification
1991 Scarlet macaw, common marmoset, African lion
1994 Brown bear, rhea, Bactrican camel, kangaroo, blue-and-yellow macaw
1995 Cottontop tamarin, white-fronted lemur
1996 Prairie dog
1997 Springbok, black leopard, steppe eagle
1998 Humboldt penguin, gray wolf
1999 Goeldi’s marmoset
2001 Plains zebra, megabats, white stork, white-faced saki
2002 American bald eagle, reindeer, Asian rock python
2003 Yellow-cheeked gibbon
2004 Chinese water dragon, ring-tailed lemur
2005 Squirrel monkey, black crowned crane
2006 Green winged macaw, white-lipped tamarin
2007 Vietnamese pond turtle, Chinese three-keeled pond turtle
2008 Black-and-white ruffled lemur, Western indigo snake
2009 Prairie dog, Patagonian mara, rainbow lorikeet, serval cat
2010 Alpine marmots, China Leopard