Copenhagen Zoo VS. Aquarium – which to choose?

There can be several reasons why you must choose one or the other. It could be money or simply time is an issue. In this post you can find all the pros and cons, so you can make your choice on which to visit.

A view of the breathtaking underwater tunnel at the aquarium

Copenhagen Aquarium

The aquarium in Copenhagen is called “Den Blå Planet“, which is “The Blue Planet” in Danish. It’s the largest aquarium in the Northern Europe and opened for the public in 2003.

A visit here will of course give you a fantastic experience, when gazing at the animal from all over the world, but make sure you also spend a few minutes enjoying the beautiful architecture of the building that holds the aquarium. As you can see from the photo below, this structure is a bit out of the ordinary and worth a view.

48 tanks, 7 million liters of water containing thousands of fish and sea creatures will give you plenty to look at during your stay.

Several shows are presented throughout the day and the petting-zoo is very popular among the young ones. Here you can gently touch a starfish and similar creatures in a low basin.

Generally the aquarium is very kid-friendly – you can borrow a stroller, there’s a room just for breastfeeding, fully equipped baby changing facilities, kid-friendly menu in the restaurant and there’s a place where you can enjoy a lunchbox, should you choose to bring one.

Be sure not to rush right through the gift shop on your way out. There are actually some very funny, peculiar, entertaining, educative (insert more adjectives here) to be found and you might just find something to bring home for yourself or your loved-ones.


Pros

  • It’s indoors, so it’s perfect for those rainy and windy days we have sometimes in Denmark
  • Relative compact, so if you have small children, they won’t get tired from walking a lot
  • Free shuttlebus to airport + lockers to store your luggage in

Cons

  • Compared to the zoo, you don’t get as much for your money. You won’t be spending close to a whole day here, more like a few hours, maybe up to 4
  • If you’ve been to a lot of aquariums, this one might not be that impressive both in size and content

You can get really close to some of the animals at the zoo

Copenhagen Zoo

Copenhagen Zoo dates back to 1859 and boasts over 3500 individual animals covering 227 species (report from 2018), so there’s a chance that you will see an animal or two, that you haven’t encountered before. There garden covers 11 hectares (27 acres), which is why you can easily spend the most part of a day here.

At the entrance you will find the 43.5 meters (142.7 ft) high iconic observation tower, made of wood. It was built back in 1905 and is one of the tallest in the world (made of wood).

The zoo is divided into areas like “The North” and “Asia”, so if you’re looking only to cover certain animals, you will know where to go (if you know their natural habitat, that is).

If travelling with kids, be sure to stop by the “children’s zoo”. Here you can pet some goats, there’s a huge playground to get lost in and you can “race” against a handful of animals.

You can find 3 restaurants and around 9 minor food-stalls, should you get hungry during your visit. As with the aquarium, you can bring your own food and enjoy at the designated spots. The zoo also offers places for breastfeeding, heating milk-bottles and diaper changing facilities.


Pros

  • You get a lot for your money. You could almost spend a whole day here
  • Very kid-friendly with playgrounds and activities

Cons

  • If the weather is bad, it’s just no fun running around in the zoo, since most of it is outdoors
  • If you only have a few hours, you won’t be able to cover the whole thing
  • Some of the animals might not be visual the day your visiting, since they may be hiding or it’s too hot to be out in the sun

Some practical information…

Getting to the aquarium

Aquarium – Den Blå Planet
Address: Jacob Fortlingsvej 1, 2770 Kastrup
Opening hours: open all year round. Mondays 10am – 9pm, Tuesday – Sunday 10am – 5pm.
Price: adult: 170DKK, child (age 3 to 11): 95DKK

The aquarium is really easy to get to. From Kongens Nytorv grab the M2 metro-line towards the airport. 6 stops and then get off at Kastrup St., the last stop before the airport. From here you’re only a 5 minutes’ walk away from Den Blå Planet.
It’s possible to park your car just outside the aquarium for a fee.

Getting to the zoo

Copenhagen Zoo
Address: Roskildevej 32, 2000 Frederiksberg
Opening hours: open all year round, but go to www.zoo.dk, to see the hours on the day of your planed visit.

Price: daypass adult: 195DKK, child (age 3 to 11): 105DKK

Copenhagen Zoo is pretty accessible located just outside Central Copenhagen, only 15 minutes from Kongens Nytorv on the metro M3 line and getting off on Frederiksberg Allé St. and then jumping on the 7A bus, which stops just outside. Plan your trip on the excellent site Journey Planner.
Parking is possible on the streets near the zoo and on the spot across the main entrance. This is for a fee, follow the instructions on the signs to buy a parking ticket.

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