The Pistoia Zoo or Zoological Garden, is located about 4 kilometers from the center of the city of Pistoia, Tuscany.
The Pistoia Zoo is in effect a park which occupies an area of 70,000 m2 and contains 250 botanical species and more than 550 animals belonging to endangered species. In fact, the park’s mission is to follow projects in different parts of the world to protect the habitats of endangered animal species.
The animals do not come from the wild: they are either born in the park or transferred from other zoos through collaborative zoo programs.
The Zoo is supported only by visitors’ entrance fees: it’s good to know that going to the park, in addition to spending an enjoyable day with your family, means actively contributing to safeguarding endangered animals and advancing research activities!
Below you will find all the information you need to best organize your visit to the Pistoia Zoo.
Family trip to the Pistoia Zoo: what to do
A map is provided at the entrance with directions of the route to follow. It is not an obligatory route but, by following it, one can better orient oneself among the various sections.
We followed the signs and then, before leaving the park, went to see the tiger, lions and bear again (which unfortunately did not show up the second time either).
A calendar of the day is also provided at the entrance, indicating the educational activities, especially dedicated to children, and also the times when the various animals are fed.
During the summer, other initiatives are organized such as night tours of the facility (for adults and children from 5 years of age) and summer centers, and alternative birthday parties can also be organized at the Pistoia Zoo.
For all information you can visit the official website of the Pistoia Zoo.
Animals at the Pistoia Zoo
The Pistoia Zoo is immense: each animal lives in the habitat recreated for it in a space designed for its well-being so, especially in the case of wolves and bears, unfortunately (or fortunately) it is very likely that you will not be able to see them.
Along the trail you can find pelicans, ducks and cormorants swimming in a large pond; bears, wolves and lions hiding in the trees. In addition, a tiger of the venerable age of 22 years (in the wild, tigers have an average life span of 8-10 years and in captivity 15-20 years); markhor or goats of Afghan origin; and again meerkats, lemurs, peacocks. Continuing on, we find pink flamingos in a pond with waterfall and African penguins busy diving in the large pool.
In the central area of the zoo is the area dedicated to farm animals: chickens, goats but also alpacas and guinea pigs.
We also find the reptile house where you can observe alligators, spiders, snakes and frogs.
Baboons, elephants, giraffes, zebras, tiger and lions are, of course, in fenced areas to ensure the safety of visitors.
Near the areas with the animals, there are signs identifying the different specimens and indicating where they come from, what they eat, and the dangers they face from pollution and globalization.
What to do with kids at the Pistoia Zoo
At the Pistoia Zoological Garden, in addition to observing animals, you can find a huge play area consisting of swings, slides and many other games for children of all ages.
I really liked the fact that the whole park is organized in such a way as to intrigue the child and bring him closer to the animal world through the various signs that can be found along the way and then giant puzzles, wooden constructions, tiny tunnels where only children can squeeze in to go and see the animals more closely, Tibetan bridges with slides and many other curious attractions.
If that’s not enough, they also hand out a flyer at the entrance where you can write down the answers to the 10 riddles on some of the signs placed along the route: if you manage to guess them all, you are given animal stickers as a prize!
Pistoia Zoo hours and ticket prices
The Pistoia Zoo is open year-round from 09:30 to 18:00 (until 19:00 on weekends). We visited in April, and the temperature was perfect for walking around and having lunch at the outdoor tables. Since the park is very shady, it could also be a good destination for an outing on a hot summer day.
The admission price for a full-price ticket at open date is 19.00 euros, at fixed date is 17.00 euros;
Reduced ticket for children from 3 to 10 years old at free date costs 15.00 euros, at fixed date 13.00 euros;
Children up to 3 years of age get in free.
We purchased the tickets online on the Zoo’s official website so that we have the entrance booked and no queues, but if you wish, tickets can be purchased the same morning at the ticket office (at the park entrance) for the same price as the online ticket.
Pistoia Zoo with children and pets: useful information
The Pistoia Zoo can be accessed with strollers. Only some spots are a bit tricky (in the bear sighting section for example) where the road is an uphill dirt path.
Dogs are also allowed but kept on a leash.
Toilets are provided throughout the park and equipped with diaper changing facilities.
Family trip to the Pistoia Zoo: where to eat
Numerous picnic areas can be found within the park where picnic lunches can be taken, some of which have a fountain that dispenses drinking water.
Near the entrance, on the other hand, are the bar and restaurant. If you are pleased to have lunch inside the restaurant, it is best to make reservations the day before your visit because when we went, they had no place.
We therefore had lunch at the café consuming a frankfurter sandwich and fries (nothing exceptional).
Pistoia Zoo: where to park and how long to stay
Near the entrance, there is ample free parking where you can leave your car. A visit to the Zoo cannot last less than 3 hours. If you decide to participate in some workshops, you can easily spend the whole day inside.
Where to sleep around Pistoia
❒ Dimora Storica Palazzo Puccini – Charming palace a stone’s throw from the historic center. Possibility of family rooms and excellent breakfast included in the price. Book here.
▶ You might also be interested in The Pinocchio Park in Collodi.