Tierpark Nymphaea and an onion fest in Esslingen!

Everybody’s got a hungry goat…

Bill and I decided not to do anything yesterday because I was entertaining everyone’s favorite aunt.  Said aunt has mostly vacated today and we had absolutely beautiful weather, so we decided to do something we hadn’t done before– visit the Tierpark Nymphaea outside of Esslingen.  Although I don’t have children and this is a very kid friendly activity, I do love to visit animals.  I had heard from many of the mommies in the Stuttgart area that the Tierpark Nymphaea was a very nice park and I could see from their official Web site that they had plenty of animals, some of whom could be fed or petted by visitors.

I do love visiting animals, but I also like to do new things so I can keep my blog posts fresh.  So, even though Esslingen is a good distance away from where we live, we decided to make the journey.  Fortunately, the weather was lovely today.  There was nothing but sunshine and agreeable temperatures with a very pleasant breeze.  It was the perfect day to visit the park.  I know this for certain because a shitload of other people had the same idea we did.

Lesson learned…  Don’t assume the lot by the front door is full.

Information about the park and its restaurant.

And yes, there is a Biergarten for the adults.

And a playground for the wee ones.

Here’s one thing to know about the Tierpark Nymphaea.  Parking is kind of limited.  There are a couple of small lots that were mostly full when we got there at a little after noon.  Many people were parked on the side of a narrow road.  Fortunately, we drove my Mini Cooper, so parking wasn’t too bad for us.  Also, it turned out that a lot of people had parked before they reached the lot closest to the entrance.  There were several spots open there, though they were claimed when we left about an hour later.

So… anyway… the Tierpark Nymphaea was well-attended today.  There were lots of mommies and daddies there with their little ones, many of whom rode in strollers.  We purchased two adult tickets at four euros each and a bucket of popcorn for 1,70, which can be used to feed some of the animals.  The ones that aren’t allowed to be fed have big signs on their enclosures.  The lucky ones that can be fed will beg for your popcorn and follow you like a hungry dog along the fencelines of their pens.  Below are some pictures I took of some of the animals.  I was hoping to visit with the pony, but s/he was in a stall and didn’t want to come out.  Ditto for some of the other animals.  I did have a good visit with the goats, ducks, donkeys, and deer, though.

Bill grabs the popcorn.  It was plenty for the loop around the park.  We had enough to go back for another visit with the goats.

A duck pond which opens into a small lake, where lots of other fowl and fish live in harmony.

A colorful golden pheasant.  It comes from a small part of Asia.

This male donkey was wearing Hosen on his front legs.

Other ducks were cavorting among the masses.  Delighted children were tossing popcorn to the happy birds.

The goats were popular and friendly.  A couple of them were happy to be petted while they munched popcorn.  I liked that the fence was low so that it was easy for kids to pet them.

The lake was pretty.  I spotted one person with their dog, who was well-behaved and on a leash.  You can bring yours, too, as long as he or she doesn’t try to eat the ducks like mine would.

Brave man!

An impressive honeybee exhibit.  They sell honey at the cashier’s booth, too.  

Colorful birds.

And the turtles… we happened to get there just in time for them to be fed.  The attendant walked into their enclosure and started tossing the food into the water.  The turtles went for it like a pack of hungry dogs.

Guinea pigs from Chile, where they are a delicacy.

There were also snakes.  I didn’t take pictures of them because they were all hiding.  I did take note of this sign, though, since the snake is from California, but the map indicates the southeastern USA.

We spent some time with the deer, since we had plenty of popcorn and they were eager to have it.  That buck was especially assertive about begging for popcorn.  He followed me as far as he could, pleading for more.

It wasn’t as easy to visit with the deer.  Obviously, if they had a lower fence, it would be easy for them to peace out of the park.  But they did seem to be a happy and well fed lot.

A female donkey sans Hosen.  She wasn’t social.

A plucky goat begs for food.

The goats were a real hoot.

Once we ran out of popcorn, we headed to the gastatte, where there are toilets as well as a small aquarium.  A terrarium is in the process of being constructed.

I liked the aquarium.

Our visit to Nymphaea took less than an hour, but it was an hour well spent.  I enjoyed hanging out with the animals.  Last year, we visited a different Tierpark located in Göppingen, a city on the way to Ulm.  It was interesting to compare Nymphaea with the Little Tierpark in Göppingen.  Göppingen’s park is much smaller than Nymphaea, but offers many more exotic animals.  They have camels and monkeys, for instance, while Nymphaea has chickens.  You can read about my experience there by searching the blog.  I think Nymphaea is overall a nicer park, but Göppingen has a wider variety of animals.

Here’s a view of the parking situation as we were leaving.  A man stopped me as Bill was backing out of our spot.  He wanted to claim it.  If you come on a day like today, I recommend getting there early. I have heard there is a garage nearby, but I didn’t actually see it.


Rather than eating at the crowded park, we decided to go into Esslingen.  It’s always a pleasure to visit this beautiful city, but we don’t get there often because we live pretty far away.  Today happened to be one of the days of the annual Esslinger Zwiebelfest, too.  You know the word Zwiebel, right?  It means onion.  That’s right.  The Germans will have a fest dedicated to onions.  The Germans will party for any reason at all!

A couple of shots of the pretty main square.  Esslingen was pretty chill this morning, despite the onion party.

The entrance to the onion fest.

And the church.

The onion fest appeared to be mainly about eating German food and swilling beer.  I wasn’t in the mood for traditional German food, though.

We ended up at HendlBurg, which I guess is the new name of what used to be called HendlHouse.  HendlBurg is a chain restaurant that specializes in roasted chicken, although there are also other choices available for those who would rather eat something else.  


We both had Hefeweizens.  Bill had the half garlic chicken, which is a rotisserie chicken smothered in garlic and served with fries.  He loved it.  I tried it and liked it, too.

I had the barbecue half chicken.  This came with a sweet and spicy sauce that tasted of oranges and attracted bees, wasps, and flies.  It tasted good, although next time I think I’ll get a plain chicken or maybe the garlic chicken.  The sauce was a little too spicy for me.  If you’re a fan of spicy, you’d probably love this.  I’m afraid my roots are a little too Celtic for that stuff.  

The fries came with a side of ketchup.  Notice the container it’s in– basically the bottom of an ice cream cone.  I guess they do that for environmental reasons.

Lunch was very economical.  It came to just 26 euros.  The restrooms were clean, although if you want to use it and aren’t a customer, they ask you to pay fifty cents.  I was a customer, so I didn’t pay.  I wonder how many people boldly go in there, pee, and don’t bother with the fifty cents.

After lunch, we wandered through the very small onion fest so we could say we were there.  Then we headed home.  It was a perfect day to enjoy my convertible on the Autobahn.

Yeah, the Zwiebelfest was the place to be today, if onions are your thing.  I noticed a couple of familiar food trucks who will surely be at the upcoming annual Weindorf that will be going on in downtown Stuttgart in a couple of weeks.  If you are curious about the Esslinger onion fest, I believe tomorrow is the last day.  

A Frauenplatz in the parking garage.  How civilized!  No, we didn’t use it.

That about does it for today’s blog post.  I will end with one last thought.  I think as animal related outings go, my favorite is the Wildpark Pforzheim.  I like it even more than the Wilhelma Zoo, although I will admit it’s been about ten years since my last visit to the zoo.  Maybe we’re due for another visit to either place.  We’ll see what happens next weekend.


A visit to Der Kleine Tierpark Göppingen and Alte Statione in Rechburghausen

Continuing the animal theme Bill and I started yesterday when we visited Wildpark Pforzheim, today we visited Der Kleine Tierpark in Göppingen.  When Bill and I lived near Fort Bragg, I had a German friend from Göppingen.  She had married a guy from the tiny rural county (Mathews) next to where I grew up in Virginia (Gloucester County).  I have since lost touch with my German friend and I have a sneaking suspicion that she and my former “neighbor” have split up, though I do have her to thank for helping me acquire my dog, Arran, from Triangle Beagle Rescue.  Anyway, long story short, I had been curious about where my friend was from and, when I heard Göppingen had a Tierpark, decided I wanted to see it.

Göppingen is not that close to where Bill and I live.  While Pforzheim is a bit northwest of us, Göppingen is east… well past Esslingen and a bit on the way to Bavaria.  It took about an hour to get there from Unterjettingen.  If you’re on the other side of Stuttgart, it will no doubt be much more convenient for you to get there than it is me.  I knew going into this trip that the tierpark in Göppingen was not going to be as large or impressive as the Wildpark Pforzheim is.  Having now seen the park, I can now say that I found Der Kleine Tierpark Göppingen a little bit depressing in comparison.  I see similar comments on their Facebook page.

Entrance to the Tierpark.

We arrived at the park just before one o’clock.  A lot of people were there with their small kids.  We parked on a rather poorly maintained access road and walked to the entrance, stopping to say hello to some ponies on the way there.  Parking is free at the park, but there is an entrance fee.  It was 3,50 euros per adult.  Bill also sprang for a box of food for the animals that were allowed to be fed.  As soon as we walked into the park, we were immediately met by a couple of eager goats.  Seriously, they were like dogs!  They saw us coming and were there to greet us with demands for food.  The goats were housed in an enclosure with a pig or two.

I quickly realized that this park, while it did allow for feeding and petting some of the animals, was more of a zoo.  It houses monkeys, exotic cats, snakes, kangaroos, a couple of camels, as well as a few more pedestrian animals like rabbits, guinea pigs, alpacas, llamas, and goats.  It’s also working on a smaller budget.  The park itself is compact and rather cramped.  It’s built on a hill and not particularly stroller friendly.  The walkways are a bit narrow and the pavement is not that even.  There are also some steps.

Cute ponies/mini horses on the way in.  I stopped to say goodbye on the way out.


A *very small* play area that looked to be somewhat poorly maintained.

This friendly billy goat was the first to greet us.

This one was also clamoring for food.  I obliged them, but then went searching for the bathroom.  There is a small one in the park’s very petite gasthof, which has a small selection of snacks and drinks.  That’s also where the snakes and fish are kept.  I can’t comment on the food or beverages at the park, because we didn’t try them.

Dogs are allowed, as long as they are on lead.

I checked out the fish on the way out of the tiny bathroom.

They also have a corn snake who wasn’t feeling very social during our visit.

Lop eared rabbits.


These information signs, along with signs informing whether or not the animals can be fed, are on the enclosures.

There was a bit of a crowd around one of the more active primates, so I got pictures of the ones who were not as popular.  The one in the picture above appears to be multitasking…

Colorful birds.

A couple of cute bunnies.

I was pretty charmed by the camels…  They were surprisingly friendly.

Like the Highland cow I met yesterday, these two figured out how to be fed…  The bigger one just opened his mouth and waited for me to throw food in it.

They shared a pen with a couple of Jacob sheep.

This one followed me to an area with a lower fence and really laid on the charm.  I got several photos.


I think this picture may be my favorite.  She was totally posing for me and, at this vantage point, I didn’t have to toss food into her mouth.  I offered some from my palm and she took it gently.

More birds…

More monkeys…  these guys were pretty active.

Clipped wings.  

I got a huge kick out of this donkey…  I could have visited all day.

The white donkey was a bit crankier and greedier.  She kept bullying the other animals.

Spotted kitties…  😉

A pig.

The ponies/mini horses were happy.

The whole tour took about 40 minutes and that was only because we were going slowly.  It was a little hard to get around the park, since there isn’t much room.  We were held up for a few minutes by a family that was enchanted by one of the monkeys.  And when we did get past them, they didn’t necessarily give us a chance to check out the animal ourselves.

I don’t think I would necessarily recommend making a special trip from Stuttgart to see this park.  Moreover, although I got the sense that some of the animals did not stay in their enclosures 24/7, the pens did seem a bit small to me.  On the positive side, the animals did all appear to be healthy, well fed, and mostly contented.

The tierpark itself looks like it’s outgrown its environment.  There are a lot of different animals packed into what seems to be a rather small place.  I did see some attempts at teaching, with small signs informing visitors in German what they were looking at and including information where the animals come from.  I know this park relies on donations, but if I’m honest, I found it a little sad… especially compared to the Wildpark Pforzheim, which has a lot more room for their animals to move around.  It does appear to be a popular spot for young kids, though, and if you happen to be in the area, it may not be a bad place to stop.

After we visited the animals, Bill and I went into the adjoining town of Rechburghausen and had lunch at the Alte Statione Pizzeria and Restaurant.  It has a nice terrace, as well as a pleasant indoor area.

Bill decides on lunch…

We had a couple of beers that appeared to be special at the restaurant.

I had tagliatelle with rose sauce and smoked salmon.  This was very good, but filling.  I brought half of it home.

Bill had the paprika schnitzel with chips.  This was the “small” portion, which was plenty!  I noticed the pizzas coming out looked and smelled great.  Service was good and prices were very reasonable.  Parking was also easy, since there’s a big grocery store across the street.  I noticed people parked there to take walks or bike rides on the nearby nature trail.  

Good lunch stop.

All in all, it was a pleasant enough afternoon, but I would definitely recommend the Wildpark Pforzheim over Der Kleine Tierpark Göppingen.  On the other hand, I did enjoy interacting with the animals and feeding them… even if I did get a little bit closer to the camels’ teeth than I wanted to be!