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Situated at the southern end of Borisova Gradina public park, Sofia Zoo was founded in 1888 and is the oldest zoological garden on the Balkan Peninsula. Its prime location puts it close to many three- and four-star hotels but you can also find other cheaper accommodation nearby.
The 36-hectare Sofia Zoo is home to almost 2,000 animals, including 76 species of mammal and 70 bird species, as well as a variety of reptiles, amphibians, fish and invertebrates. Some of the most popular inhabitants include the ring-tailed lemurs, the African lions, the Asian elephants and the red kangaroos.
Every year in June and July there are five-day summer school programmes for kids with an interest in zoology and ecology. Sofia Zoo is open every day, all year round, and you can reach it easily by public transport.
There are several big-name chain hotels near Sofia Zoo; all of these provide smart, modern guest rooms and facilities such as business centres, fitness suites and restaurants. There’s also a good range of independent hotels just to the east between Sofia Zoo and Sofia Technical University, or near Tokuda Hospital and James Boucher metro station to the north.
Sofia Zoo’s location puts it within easy reach of Borisova Gradina’s other highlights, which include a children’s playground, a seasonal open-air swimming pool, an artificial boating lake and miles of tree-lined avenues. The park is also home to a tennis club, a cycling track, the Bulgarian Army Stadium and the Sofia University Observatory, as well as Vasil Levski National Stadium – home ground of the Bulgarian national football team.
Head back towards the city centre and you’ll find a broader range of religious and historic attractions, including Sofia’s best-known symbol, the Alexander Nevski Cathedral. Explore a cultural treasure trove of Roman ruins, theatres and museums, such as the National Art Gallery, the Ivan Vazov National Theatre, and the exceptional 4th-century Church of St George with its frescoes and redbrick rotund – all walking distance from Sofia Zoo.