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Lions, Spiders, and Monkeys, Oh My! The Berlin Zoo

- William

It was twenty minutes before the ticket offices opened, and already busses filled with students were pulling up. From outside the elaborately decorated Elephant Gate, topped with the two large metal elephants from which it derives its name, only glimpses of a couple animals could be seen. The ticket office signs flipped from ‘Closed’ to ‘Open’, and Dad secured our tickets as the guards with the keys started walking towards the gate.

The Berlin Zoo is massive, with many hundreds of animals. It is large enough for several day’s worth of exploration, with new creatures to see around every corner. The Aquarium/Insectarium is huge, with the first level devoted to ocean-dwellers of all sizes and shapes, and the top floor for insects and reptiles. There were many fish I had never seen before, along with incredible jellyfish, spider crabs, and an electric eel. Upstairs, there are many lizards, newts, salamanders, snakes, and frogs.

There is also the insect area, with many creepy creatures including tarantulas, scorpions, ants, and bees. The ants in particular stand out because there are tubes hanging from the ceiling through which the ants travel from their hive. You can see this through a window and the glass case where their food is placed.

The rest of the zoo is just as neat, with many different large animals. The Lion house is impressive, and echoes loudly when the lion roars.

Beneath it is the dark Nocturnal animal’s exhibit, with strange and bizarre animals. One of them is Mario, the Aye-Aye. Aye-Ayes are like black skinny raccoons, with white spots around their yellow eyes and long tails. He was bouncing around his cage without stopping. You could see into the nest of Mole-Rats, surprisingly cute little animals that live underground.

Outside, there were many other animals, including elephants, giraffes, bison, rhinoceros, hippopotamus, penguins, polar bears, and pandas.

My favorite exhibit was the monkey house. This house includes Orangutans, Gorillas, Gibbons, and Chimpanzees. The creatures are so funny, you could just sit and watch them for hours.

There were also many birds in the zoo, ranging from finches and chickens to parrots and tropical waterfowl. There was a gigantic playground adjacent to the restaurant and gift shop.

Getting there early is very important, with massive crowds arriving later in the day.

This is a must for anyone visiting Berlin. Get out there and keep traveling!

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