Behind Villa Borghese, a stone’s throw from Piazza del Popolo, is the Biopark of Rome, one of the oldest structures for animals in Italy. Inaugurated in 1911 and fallen into decay during the Second World War, it has enjoyed new momentum since 1983. If you are in Rome with your family, you can’t miss a visit.
An unforgettable day. We took advantage of one of the (many) visits to Rome to return to a place I had loved as a child but hadn’t visited for years: the zoo in Rome, or rather the Biopark of Rome. luck wanted us to say goodbye to our visit and we found a sunny but cool day, ideal for walking for hours among the hundreds of animal species hosted. Not only: we were only a few days away from Halloween so we also found many initiatives that the children appreciated and still remember with happiness.
Zoo Roma Come visitarlo
The choice is good to make children do it: there is a lot to walk and having one of the animals most loved by children as a target helps them to walk without too many stories. With so many animals present (more than 200 species) it is convenient, especially for those with children, to focus on the map and decide on itineraries. While walking, it is always worth keeping an eye on the map, which is handed in at the ticket office at the entrance: often you will notice that a hearty or particular animal is just a few metres from the chosen route and you only need to make a small diversion to meet it.
In that case it is better to abandon the route and make an alternative stop to see the animal on the road, rather than being forced, later, to go back to admire the specimens that had jumped.
What to see absolutely at Bioparco in Rome
Surely each of us has our own preferences in terms of animals. I, for example, love reptiles, primates and felines. And I can’t stand zebras (here also the football faith comes into play, I admit).
The only visit to the Reptiliary is worth the cost of the ticket: incredible
But whatever your favourite animals the reptile zoo in the biopark of Rome is a must see. I have seen many reptile and amphibian cases. At Pistoia, for example, or in Ravenna and even in Perugia. But the one in Rome has no equal.
Once you enter the reptilian habitat of the biopark of Rome, in fact, it seems to be in the natural environment of crocodiles and frogs: a covered area of 4000 square meters divided into three levels with a rainforest climate, lush vegetation, humidity so high that you can feel it on your skin and lungs.
Biopark of Rome animals
A concrete and practical way for children to understand the environment in which these animals live in the wild. And a not inconsiderable educational objective: 98% of the animals present in the facility come from kidnapping and confiscation by the police. The educational path that winds its way inside has been realized thanks to the contribution of the Ministry of the Environment and Protection of Land and Sea.
Zoo Rome, animals not to be missed
Not to be missed in the zoo in Rome also the area dedicated to monkeys and chimpanzees in particular. There, with my sons Diego and Flavia, we were lucky enough to find monkeys just a few months old. It was fun to see them playing and climbing, not only for the children.
The Scarlet Ibis is also wonderful. Just as fascinating for adults and children were the hyenas, the vultures, the nice long-eared Fennec, the lemurs and orangutans.
The services of the zoological garden of Rome
Like all zoos a visit is recommended in spring or autumn.
The structure of the Bioparco di Roma is very well equipped. There is a well-stocked bar, a restaurant and several picnic spots as well as toilets. There is also a small train that runs through the entire area of the zoo: after half a day of walking, we gave up. The whole zoo is child-friendly: there are information sheets and tactile panels with which children interact and learn. And there are many activities dedicated to them. During the Halloween period, we found both a theme party and zoological guards explaining to children the secrets of ‘scary animals’: spiders and snakes that the little ones could hold in their hands and caress. A beautiful experience that impressed Diego (Flavia, not even two years old, did not trust them…).
There are also games areas for children. Lots of small areas equipped with benches to relax while the little ones have fun with slides and swings.
The prices of the Biopark of Rome
The price is in line with other zoos in Italy. But the offer inside has no equal. Never was money better spent, to be clear. Anyway for an adult the ticket costs 16 euro, 13 euro for children (but under the metro they enter for free). Of course there are other reductions and discounts: here are the details.
Getting to the Biopark in Rome
Getting to the zoo in Rome is not difficult. It is located just behind Villa Borghese, an area perfectly covered by public transport. Nearby passes the tram (number 19), several buses (3, 52, 53, 926, 217, 360, 910), the metro (red line, Flaminio station or Spagna). On the site of the Atac, the Roman public transport company, you can calculate the easiest route. We have chosen the car: just take the Salaria del Gra exit. In front of the Bioparco there are many free parking spaces.
The architecture of the Zoological Garden of Rome
Already from the entrance of the zoological garden Rome you realize that you are not in front of a simple zoo. The entrance is in fact monumental: a large marble arch, with enormous statues of animals above the structure. The first master plan of the BioPark dates back to 1911: it was designed by Hagenbeck with Lehmann and Eggenschwiller who designed the architecture. Today, the guidelines of the urban layout, which have remained almost unchanged, and the architecture still remain. The other buildings in the biopark, on the other hand, date back to 1933 and are in perfect harmony with the previous ones.
Animals of the Biopark of Rome
The first animals you meet at the entrance to the Villa Borghese zoo are already two rarities. The snowy owl with its white feathers, and the very nice armadillo, which immediately attracts the attention of children.
Over 200 species including mammals, reptiles, amphibians and birds
Inside the zoo there are over 200 different species of animals, including mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians from the five continents. In alphabetical order there are: Addax, Common Agama, Chinese Alligator, Yellow Anaconda, Green Anaconda, Fronted Ara, Ararauna, Hairy Armadillo, Pope Vulture, Banteng, Madagascar Arboricolous Boa, Boa constrictor, Solomon Islands Boa, Madagascar Soil Boa, Abyssinian Bucorvo, Moluccan Cocatua, Schneider’s dwarf caiman, Panther chameleon, Camel, Bennet’s kangaroo, Capybara, Montecristo’s goat, Caracara aligrandi, Casuario, Cercocebo dal collar, red coati, Nile crocodile, African dwarf crocodile, Chrysoon, Dendrobatids, Komodo’s Dragon, Asian Elephant.
And also Eloderma orrido, Emu, Pink Flamingo, Fennec, Grey Seal, Gazelle dama, Reticulated Giraffe, Standing Day Gecko, Rüppell’s Griffin, Guanaco, Snow Owl and Eagle Owl. Hermit Ibis, Scarlet Ibis, Philippine Hydrosaurus, Utila Iguana, Madagascar Spiny Iguana, Cuba Land Iguana, Amphibious Hippopotamus, Pygmy Hippopotamus, Kulan, Lechwe of the Nile, Lemure catta, Lemure macaque, Asian Lion, Caucasian Leopard, Lycaon, Euro-Asian Lynx, Blue Thorny Lizard, Wolf, Japanese Macaque, Mandril, Marabou, Mouflon, Nandu, Orango, Brown Bear, Short Python.
The park is home to a rich and important botanical collection whose original layout, mainly composed of Mediterranean species, dates back to the birth of the Zoological Garden (1911): since that date the park has been enriched with hundreds of exotic species.
Whatever the season, one cannot fail to notice during a visit to the Biopark, the vegetation rich in attractive and unusual species that forms the backdrop for visiting animal species.
The list of species of animals present seems endless: Seba python, Carpet python, Potamocero, Frog tomato, Common chimpanzee, Pink spatula, Ostrich, Suricate, Oedipus tamarine, Emperor tamarine, South American tapir, Yellow head tortoise, Red-legged tortoise, Alligator tortoise, Giant moss tortoise, Aldabra tortoise, Egyptian tortoise, African Focaccia Tortoise, Vietnam Leaf Tortoise, Radiated Tortoise, Spider Tortoise, Malaysian Box Tortoise, Himalayan Thar, Sumatran Tiger, Blue-tongue Tiliqua, Grant’s Zebra, Pygmy Marmoset, Ornate Marmoset, Thorny-tailed Varanus, Red Variety, Vigogna, Horned Viper and Grevy’s Zebra. If you count to spend 2 minutes for each animal, you can count how much you need to visit the entire biopark…
A internal section of the Biopark website is dedicated to the animals hosted, with photos and description of each guest.