Discover Germay, Issue 51, June 2017

Page 58

Discover Germany  |  Travel  |  Nature and Wildlife Park Goldau Child with miniature goat.


Ibex with fawn.

Observing animals in their natural habitat:

A great experience for families There are few things children enjoy more than watching wild animals close-up. The nature and wildlife park Goldau, about 40 minutes away from Zurich, was built in 1925 on a debris cone a landslide had left in 1806. It is a magical spot that fulfils all modern standards for keeping wild animals in natural surroundings. TEXT: JESSICA HOLZHAUSEN I PHOTOS: NATURE AND WILDLIFE PARK GOLDAU

“This archaic landscape, shaped by Nagelfluh boulders and large rocks, gives the feeling of walking through a fairy tale countryside,” says director Anna Baumann about the 42-hectare-large wildlife park. All facilities have been built with materials from the region “which allows visitors to observe the animals in their natural surroundings”. People can get very close to their favourite animal or can view the whole park from the newly built, 30metre-high observation tower. Animals living at the Goldau park are all indigenous to Switzerland, or are at least European, and among the 100 different animal types are many endangered species. “We also breed certain animals for repopulation, including bearded vultures, wisents, tree frogs, wild cats and the her58  |  Issue 51  |  June 2017

mit ibis.” The hermit ibis for example, a bird approximately the size of a goose, once nearly became extinct because it was intensely hunted. Today there are many repopulating projects across Switzerland and Europe to bring back various endangered animal species. “We are very proud of our huge joint enclosure for bears and wolves,” says Baumann. Here both animals meet each other while scouring the area and looking for food. Visitors can watch the animals from various spots outside the enclosure and learn about their natural behaviour in the wild. But what children like best is to visit the huge zones where they can walk freely in between the animals and actually get in contact with animals they would nor-

mally never see – or only from a very great distance.“They can be eye to eye with sika deer, mouflon, geese, ducks or chicken. Children can even feed them with animal feed we fabricate especially for this purpose,” says Baumann. “And the children really love the pygmy goats.” If the animals ever become boring, there are three large adventure playgrounds to explore and enjoy. The Goldau nature and wildlife park has a modern restaurant that serves typical Swiss dishes and all over the park one can find picnic spots and barbecues visitors can use. Barbecue area.