What could be better than a photo trip to the Vienna Zoo on a rainy day? No, I am not crazy. That´s just what I did a couple of weeks ago, on a mission to capture people interacting with nature – even if captive nature. And I did not even get wet. 😉
As a matter of fact, Schönbrunn Zoo has a number of indoor spaces where you can stay war and dry on a cold and wet day. I had an idea for a photo series involving tropical forest, water, and desert landscapes, and so I headed for the aquarium and terrarium house and for the desert house. I could have added to that the rainforest house and even the palm house.
My aim was to show how humans and ecosystems are linked, and how despite this human activities are progressively destroying these ecosystems. The zoo also has many informative billboards and tours that inform visitors about the threats to wildlife and their habitats.
This was actually the first time that I went out to photograph something with a thought-out concept in mind. After selection the photos I wanted for the series I looked for suitable quotes and texts for captions. You can see the photos here. If you care to read the accompanying texts, I invite you to check them out on my Instagram “street” account @in_publico.
More about the zoo
The “Tiergarten Schönbrunn” is the oldest zoo in the world. It was founded in 1752 by Emperor Francis I Stephen of Lorraine, the husband of the Habsburg empress Maria Theresia, and is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Schönbrunn. In addition to visitor awareness programmes and tours, it has had globally known endangered wildlife breeding successes, such as the breeding of the Batagur river turtle and the Winker frogs.
The zoo has an interesting past as a Baroque menagerie, which is still evident in the lovely pavillons all over the premises, but today is one of the most modern zoos in the world. The imperial flair gives it a special charm. This was not always so. When I was a child, tigers, lions and bears (and elephants) languished in horrible small concrete enclosures. Furtunately the zoo has come a long way toward creating better (if not perfect) habitats for its captive wildlife.
Covering an area of 17 hectares, the zoo provides a habitat for more than 700 species, some of them highly endangered.
If you like to go to the zoo and live in Vienna, getting an annual pass may be worth it, because the single tickets are rather expensive. By the way, the zoo also offers special “experiences“, which may be fun to look into.
On a nice day, of course, the Schönbrunn gardens outside are also lovely to amble about in, with castle and palm house views you cannot beat (except, perhaps, at the Belvedere gardens). Sadly, you cannot bring a dog in, so I do not go very often (because then Alfonso has to stay home).