Whenever we go away we do try to get to a Zoo. Its always good entertainment value for the whole family and its something the boys ask to do. When I was researching the best things to do in Brussels with kids. Planckendael Zoo popped up. Its on the outskirts of Brussels around a thirty minute drive towards Antwerp. As we had the car this wasn’t a problem for us. If you are visiting without a car then I think its possible to get there by bus. We visited on the way back towards the Eurotunnel thinking we wouldn’t need all day. However we ended up leaving mid afternoon a little sad that we hadn’t managed to get round the whole zoo.

Its split into five main areas – Asia, Oceania, America, Africa and Europe. We headed straight into Asia aiming for the elephants. The first thing that the boys saw was a rope bridge that went high up into the trees. Of course instinctively they wanted to climb it, which they did to great amusement. I thought it was a one off but as we walked round the zoo I realised that all over the zoo there was lots to keep the boys entertained. With things to climb on at every turn. It worked really well as it broke up walking between the enclosures.

On our way to the elephants we ended up walking through a huge greenhouse which included some animals I had not seen before. It was a great place to explore with brightly coloured bird cages all around to keep within the Asia theme. The boys enjoyed running around all the different paths before finding the exit. Which just magically opened up in front of you, a little like Aladdin’s Cave.

From the greenhouse we continued our search for the elephants via the lions. Around the lions there was an old train which had been decorated to keep with the Asia theme. Its the little things which really makes this zoo appeal. Of course both boys wanted to get inside the train…

When we finally got to the elephants the enclosure was amazing. We found a family tree picture which explained all the elephants in the pack. This was a lovely touch as there were a number of younger elephants which we tried to name and spot. I particularly liked this one who had a mop of hair…

Realising that it had taken us the best part of two hours to get to this point. Purely because of the amount of things for the boys to do. We tried to hurry up a little as there was two other animals we really wanted to see while visiting. The  koalas and the giraffes. I have never seen koalas in real life. Despite being lucky enough to visit a large number of zoos. I guess the climate in the UK is probably not very good for koalas. When we arrived at their enclosure all three were sleeping. But they looked exactly how I imaged all soft and cuddly. I cold have stayed and watched them for ages, but the boys were more intent on finding play equipment. But how cute is this?

Our next step was to head over to the giraffes as they also had a number of younger ones too. The viewing platform is actually elevated which means that you can get a lot closer to the giraffes. There are a number of feeding boxes suspended around the outside which encourages them to come towards you.

After this we had to head back to the car and the two hour drive back to Calais. We quite often travel around Europe by car for one reason or another. Now I know that this place exists I will be making sure we visit again if we are heading into Belgium again. There was still about half of the zoo which we didn’t get to and I know the boys would have liked to spend more time on the play equipment. If you ever find yourself near Brussels then I would definitely recommend adding Planckendael Zoo to your list of must see places.

Have you ever been to a zoo abroad that really surprised you? I would love to read about it in the comments below.

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We were invited to stay at Made in Louise by Visit Brussels who paid for our stay and a Brussels card for both myself and my husband.


  1. This zoo looks great fun and I love the colourful birdcaes in the greenhouse!

  2. Rachael Sexey Reply

    This zoo looks amazing. We love to visit the zoo 🍒

  3. Maxine Lewis-Enright Reply

    Oh wow that looks amazing. I haven’t but everytime I look at planning trips abroad, I do think about going to their zoo’s xx

  4. I went to a zoo in Taiwan, which was surprisely huge. Also really surprised as got the cable car (only operates one day a week) to see the Pandas. When we finally got to the top to see the Panda we were really surprised to find out that the Panda centre on the same day that the cable car operates. There is no other way to get there either!

    • Missed out the word CLOSES in my comment. The huge award winning Panda centre was CLOSED!

  5. Fab photos. I had never heard of this zoo. Good to know you can get there by bus. Thanks for the post.

  6. Jeanette Leighton Reply

    Looks like a fantastic day out I love visiting zoos with my children

  7. Danielle Sedgebeer Reply

    Fantastic photos! This zoo looks so much fun:)) Our family also likes to visit the zoo, my daughter loves all the animals x

  8. Adrian Price Reply

    this zoo looks great-id love to take my nephew max there

  9. Fiona jk42 Reply

    Plankendael sounds like a really nice zoo, well thought out both for visitors and animals.

    One zoo I can recommend is in Zurich. It’s not very large but is in a lovely location at the top of a hill so the ride up in the tram gives you good views of the city and lake below as well as mountains beyond. One of the things my children especially enjoyed is that some of the animals are not in enclosures but are free to wander around the zoo! That enabled us to get really close to several golden tamarin monkeys, which was fun. They are very small monkeys, so if they had been in a cage we might not have seen them very well, but they were close enough to touch, although of course the zoo has a “no touching” policy.

  10. Alice Colling Reply

    This looks a fabulous zoo to visit, I will definitely go if in the area.

  11. Lindsey Stuart Reply

    This zoo post has made my day! How cute is the little koalas bear? Awwwwww!!! I really want to visit after seeing this post.
    The play area looks fantastic! I imagine your trip there passed so quickly with so many animals to explore.

  12. Margaret Gallagher Reply

    Amazing experience – will be going next time I’m there

  13. Danielle Wolter Reply

    what amazing photos! it looks like you had a lot of fun and saw so many animals!

  14. I love going to the zoo and this one looks so much fun! The zoo is such an educational place to take the kids for sure.

  15. This zoo looks astonishing. is long I visited the zoo, being motivated to do that soon. thanks for sharing

  16. Helen Craigs Reply

    It looks like your boys have had such an adventure here, I’m exhausted just reading it!

  17. this looks like such a nice zoo! i’m glad you enjoyed it haha

  18. I’ve visited Brussels but nit the zoo. It looms like such a fun place to visit! I’m always looking to add family activities on my travels.

  19. I would definitely visit this place with my family! this is a must because of its view.

  20. We don’t usually go to zoo’s, but I would love to take the kids to a nature reserve or a rescue farm at some point:) It looks like you guys had such a fun day!

  21. alexandra cook Reply

    This place is a must! this will surely be added on my bucket list. thankyou for sharing this

  22. Zoos were one of our favourite placed to take the kids when they were little. This zoo has an amazing backdrop, it would a wonderful place to visit.

  23. Zoos are so much fun. Can’t wait to take my daughter to the zoo next week. Loving your pictures. Your kids looked like they had a fun time.

  24. What a fun zoo! So many exotic animals and beautiful scenery!

  25. Mum Mum MA Reply

    Awe!! Zoos are so much fun and I can see you guys had a great day. Beautiful pictures.

  26. SUNITA VERMA Reply

    Now that is quite amazing zoo…often when iv gone abroad i dont bother with zoos…i really should, thanks for sharing xx

  27. Carol Thomas Reply

    It’s not a place I have been. Brussels has never appealed to me. The name may not help! Ha. Can’t stand sprouts.

    However I must revise this and dig more deeply on Brussels after reading this

  28. Jamie - Ironmongery Experts Reply

    This is fantastic! The zoo is a great family day out wherever you are. I made fond memories at the zoo during my childhood and I bet your kids have too. I have never been to a zoo abroad it’s definitely something I’ll be looking into. Take care, Jamie.

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