People come to Krakow for various reasons. A lot of tourists visit it because Krakow is a good starting point to go on a tour to Auschwitz or to the Wieliczka salt mines, both UNESCO world heritage sites. As we started to plan our holiday in 2017 we realized that visiting Auschwitz or the mines with a three-year-old who can never sit still would not be the best idea. Therefore I searched the internet to find some other things to do and to see with our daughter.
To get to Krakow Zoo.
On the day my husband was going on an extended tour to the Auschwitz I and II concentration camps Eryn and I had a mother-daughter day. It started by taking the bus to the Krakow Zoo. Long live the internet! And long live the European Union that forced my provider to extend my dataplan to other countries within the EU! Even though my Polish is a bit rusty it was easy to find a route planner on the internet and subsequently find the busses.
With a endearing child people tend to offer help, also when you don’t ask. One kind lady on the bus continued explaining things in Polish even though she clearly saw I didn’t understand a word of it. It was a warm day and the bus had no good ventilation system. As we were approaching the zoo more and more people entered the bus and it became hotter and hotter, so we were relieved we could finally exit.
The bus stopped right in front of the zoo and the first thing I noticed next to the entrance was a snackbar where they sold the usual fried food. In virtually all zoos I had been to so far there had been restaurants to buy food. Some were basic, some even had delicious Asian food. But usually a cheese sandwich or some French fries were available. So I assumed that a zoo with a snackbar at the entrance would have at least one restaurant inside to buy some lunch. We entered the zoo and started walking around, enjoying the nice weather and the many animals that were to be seen.
Information about the Zoo.
The Krakow Zoo is situated in the Wolski forest, where it opened its doors in 1929. During WO II the zoo was under German administration. However, in 1963 the Head of the zoo established an independent company and started expanding and restructuring the zoo. Walking around in it, we immediately noticed the amount of space most animals had. For young children it is a great place to stretch their legs. The location is well chosen with lots of trees. The animals as well as the visitors have plenty of shade. However, it still is a place with – amongst others – wild animals. Parents still need to be alert that the children do not put fingers through bars etc. The signs are quite basic and not all in English.
There are currently about 1.400 animals in the zoo, consisting of about 270 species. Many are endangered. Like many other zoos, this zoo takes part in several education and breeding programs. I had mixed feelings seeing animals like a snow leopard, an Amur tiger and an Andean condor. It was good to see they had a nice place to live, but sad to know they are almost extinct. Eryn’s favorite animal, the zebra, had plenty of space to run around and so did my daughter. We also spend a lot of time in the petting zoo. The animals had just been fed and Eryn picked up some of the food and soon they were eating out of her hand.
Eating in the Zoo.
After a few hours in the zoo we got hungry, but the only thing I had seen so far was a tiny table with some souvenirs and snacks on it. I kindly asked where I could find a restaurant and was pointed in the direction of a wooden kiosk with a small playground and some tables and chairs outside. At first I thought I must have heard it wrong and that the restaurant would be somewhere behind the playground. But then I had a look at the map and saw nothing. I asked at the kiosk where would could get something to eat. I was shocked to hear they had coffee and tea, but absolutely nothing when it came to food.
Maybe it was because it was off-season, maybe I did not understand them properly. Either way: I can advise you to bring some food when visiting a zoo no matter where. It usually is cheaper and you don’t have to ask around, running the risk of not finding things to eat.
When Eryn was just born I was a mother who always made sure her child ate proper food. I always changed her on a clean changing pad at a toilet. Also as soon as her outfit became too dirty I put on a different outfit. But I gave up on that as soon as we started travelling with her. So I changed her diaper at a bench near the playground. After some playing time we went back to the table with the souvenirs, bought some Polish pretzel sticks and ate those for lunch. It was not healthy nor very filling, but they were actually quite tasty.
As soon as we left the zoo we finished our mother-daughter day with some French fries at the snackbar near the entrance followed by a ride on a helicopter machine that went up and down with Eryn in it. An enjoyable day!
Also on Travelharts.com.
We also have a photo site. On it we have a beautiful album about Paris.
Paris. You heard about it and know where it is. City of love and the Eiffel Tower. A place where you keep on taking great photos. A place everyone must see!
If you like to know what else you can do in Krakow when you have a child, check out my story Kids in Krakow.
There is a lot to do for kids in Krakow: Rynek Glowny, the Zoo, Wawel Hill with its dragon and handprints of celebs, playgrounds and E. Wedel chocolates.