Skansen in Stockholm is the world’s biggest open-air museum and brings together some 160 historical buildings from all over Sweden, smack bang in the middle of Stockholm. As an idea and place to visit Skansen is a charm offensive par excellence. What about the zoo though? Also authentic, with Nordic wildlife such as the brown bears, elk, wolves, lynx, snowy owls and the wolverine in outdoor enclosures. Skansen also has domestic Swedish breeds of cows, ponies, chickens and other critters. For exotic animals (hey, they’re indoors) visit the ‘Our Africa’ part of the zoo and for total cuteness visit the ‘Children’s Zoo’ where petting is encouraged. Skansen is open every day of the year.
Kolmården is Scandinavia’s biggest and wildest wildlife park. It lies close to the town of Norrköping and local airports Norrköping and Skavsta. So what can you and the kids do here?
Kolmården splits into various zones; the Marine World, with dolphin show and ‘Dolphin Express’, ‘Tiger World’, ‘Safari’, with world-first and very cool cable-car that sweeps you across the savannah and gives you a bird’s eye view of the lions, giraffes and other animals. The park is also home to popular gorilla brothers Enzo and Echo, ‘Children’s Kolmården’, ‘Wild Encounters’ and ‘Bamses World’, a world of fun and activities based on the famous-in-Sweden Bamse bear cartoon character. Kolmården wildlife park is worth a couple of days of your time and you will score major brownie points with your kids if you stay over at the Vildmarkshotellet in the park. The park is open from end April to the beginning of October.
Borås Zoo in south-west Sweden is set in bright and attractive Borås town centre and is one of Sweden’s biggest wildlife parks with some 80 species. At Borås Zoo the settings for the animals are as natural as you can make them in Sweden. So what have we got here? A savannah with big African predators such as lions and the rare African wild dog, native Nordic wildlife including brown bears, wolves, lynx and elk, as well as a monkey house and ‘Monkey Island’. For activities look out for the feeding times (always fun and messy), pony rides and childrens’ favourite ‘Train Safari’. There are nearby camping, youth hostel, chalet and hotel accommodation options.
There is a lot for you and kids to enjoy at Parken Zoo in Eskilstuna. The animals are divided into the countries and continents of origin; Australia, Africa, Asia (very large Komodo Dragon is star attraction) and South America. As well as attractions; World of Knowledge, an amusement park, aqua park and children’s zoo. There is accommodation available within the zoo ground.
Orsa Grönklitt Bear Park
The Orsa Grönklitt Bear Park in Orsa in central Sweden is Europe’s largest bear park. The main attractions here are ‘Polar World’ (world’s biggest polar bear facility), ‘Leopard Center’ and ‘Tiger World’. The animals here include the big four Nordic predators; the brown bear, wolverine, wolves and lynx, as well as polar bears (no, they are not native to Sweden), snow leopard, Persian leopard and several other endangered species. Other brilliant stuff here includes meeting the caretakers of the animals, the bear fishing activities and guided tours of the park.
Ölands Zoo and Fun Park
Ölands Zoo and Fun Park is set in the beautiful island of Öland in the Baltic Sea, off Sweden’s south-east coast. Here you can see and experience tropical and endangered animals from around the world. Öland Zoo and Fun Park also home to “Pirate Island”, a 15,000 square metre watery paradise.
Do check the attractions web sites for season and opening times.