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 the HendlHouse in Böblingen…

Before today’s trip to Panzer, a nice walk in the woods…  the weather was perfect!  Not hot at all.

My favorite part of the trail.

Zane’s favorite part of the walk is a field we have to walk through.  It never fails to get him in a playful mood.  Today was no exception.

A little film I made from footage from our walk.


Right after I took this film, we were confronted by about nine people on horseback.  Fortunately, I saw and heard them before the dogs did.  We went into the woods and waited for them to pass.  I should have filmed them cantering past.  The dogs, of course, went absolutely nuts and didn’t settle down until we got home.  That was probably twenty minutes later.  I think the family walking their dogs ahead of us were happy when we turned in a different direction.

Bill and I were hoping to have some fun today in Nagold at the Keltenfest.  I had been planning to go, owing to my Celtic heritage.  Unfortunately, we needed to go to Panzer for some Frontline for our dogs.  Then we got hungry.  I didn’t want to visit our usual Sunday haunts because I wanted to try something different.  We decided to visit the HendlHouse in Böblingen, even though we knew parking could be a challenge.  There’s some kind of fest going on there today.

As luck had it, there was a spot open in HendlHouse’s tiny parking lot.  We pulled in, thanking heavens we brought my little Mini, which fit nicely in the small spot.

The outside of the HendlHouse, a “fast food” joint specializing in chicken. (ETA: This restaurant is now called HendlBurg)


As soon as we walked into the HendlHouse, I had a flashback to the fall of 2007, when Bill and I had just moved to Germany the first time.  We ate in this restaurant.  Only then, it was a Wienerwald.  Like HendlHouse, Wienerwald is a chain restaurant specializing in chicken.  Bill and I really enjoyed the meal we had there in 2007, but when we ate at one in Vienna back in April, we were less impressed.  Böblingen still has a Wienerwald, but it looks like it’s moved to a bigger building.

We sat down at a small table and a very kind German lady waited on us.  I ordered a helles beer, while Bill had a pils.  And, of course, we both had chicken.  HendlHouse is billed as “fast food”, but I’d say it’s more like a casual dining place.  They have a salad bar, a kid’s menu, and besides chicken, there is ostrich, duck, and schnitzel offered.  You can even get a burger there, though I can’t imagine ordering a burger over chicken at the HendlHouse.  They do chicken right…  as KFC used to claim.

I had barbecue chicken.  This was surprisingly good.  The sauce was a bit sweet and tasted a little of orange, but it was also tangy and spicy.  The chicken was juicy and flavorful.  I finished about half of this.  The rest is lunch tomorrow.

Bill loved the garlic chicken.  I was tempted by this dish, but decided Bill should get it because he loves garlic, which tends to repeat on me.  

Our bill was 24,90 euros.  Bill spoke German to our waitress.  I tried to speak a little German, too.  It came out Armenian.  I really need to practice.  As we were about to leave, I noticed a guy double parked in the tiny parking lot.  He was quick to grab our spot just as we left the restaurant.  I liked the devil’s horns, tail, and pitchfork he had around the VW logo on his van.

We were thinking of going to Wurmlinger Chapel with the dogs today, but I realized it closes at 4:00pm.  I’m sure we could walk up there anyway, but why go up there if the chapel is closed?  So maybe next weekend.  I’d still like to go have some fun today, but I think we may be in for the night.