Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Stuttgart Wilhelma (Zoo)




King William I of Wuerttemberg had the Wilhelma built between 1837 and 1864 and initially it was a private ostentatious landscaped Moorish Garden with greenhouses, a covered walk way, an assembly room, and a theatre. After the King s death, the Wilhelma was opened to the public and when the Wuerttemberg Court was closed in 1919 it became state property and the first animals were came to live there. 


Everyone had told us about the Stuttgart Wilhelma when we moved here, but it was the dead of winter with sub-zero temps, so I decided to wait until the weather warmed up.  Everyone also said that it was definitely worth the money to get an annual pass, even if we were only going to be here for six months.  Towards the end of March, the weather improved greatly, so I took Brady to the Wilhelma for the first time and got our annual pass.  We've been every week since then, sometimes by ourselves and sometimes with friends, and it's already paid for itself (four visits covered the cost of the annual pass).  It's nice on days where it's nice out and we have nothing else planned, because I get to walk, and Brady has something to look at while I'm pushing him around.


Sea lions



Twice a day, they have a show featuring the sea lions and we've seen it a few times.  The trainer only speaks in German, but it's still cool to watch them do tricks for fish.



Alligators









These fish were kinda freaky since you could see their brains.



The peacocks are free to roam the grounds and on several occasions, we've seen them show off their feathers (although I don't have any pictures of that).



Kangaroos


This guy was like a combination between a zebra and a giraffe.



Hippos



Probably the animal that's the mascot of Pittsburgh : penguins!!!



It's so cool that they're not even behind glass.



Leopards sunning themselves on a very warm spring day.



A black jaguar



Up close and personal with a tiger.



The giraffes just lounging around.






This next set of pics deals with Brady's favorite animal : monkeys! This shouldn't come to a surprise to many since he's practically part monkey himself.  Above is their new baby chimp.















This one looks so pensive.






I love this one!  You can see the elusive Brady monkey staring back from the reflection!


















Brady and his buddy, Gordon, scoping out the monkeys.



These ones remind me the most of Brady.



I find it so odd that they keep these monkeys in the same enclosure as these mountain goats.  I've seen the trainers throwing apples to those monkeys and they literally tear them apart in three bites.  They looks so cute, but boy could they be dangerous.






Polar bears



There is also a petting zoo towards the back of the Wilhelma.  It's interesting how it's set up, because there are holes in the fences for the animals to come through when they want.  Of course, my son saw this as an opportunity to hang with the animals and almost went through one of those holes into the enclosure.  That would've been tough to explain.









They are currently building a brand new elephant habitat, so the poor elephants are stuck in these indoor stalls until it's completed.  It doesn't look anywhere near done, so they're going to be in here for quite a while.






Another cool thing about the Stuttgart Wilhelma is that King William I, who built it, also had redwoods transplanted from California.  I've never been to the Redwood Forest (though I plan to in the future), so it was cool to see them here in Germany.  They're not nearly as tall as the ones in California, as they're much younger, but they're still quite impressive.

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