Zoo Osnabrück Wasserwelten Opening

8 million euro “Water Worlds” opened at Osnabrück Zoo

New milestone in zoo history – opening weekend for visitors

The new and anticipated “Water Worlds” display at Osnabrück Zoo was opened today in the presence of Dr. Bernd Althusmann, Boris Pistorius, Ministers of Lower Saxony, as well as Katharina Pötter, Lord Mayor of Osnabrück, and 250 invited guests. the 5,000 square meter wildlife area, which costs almost 8 million euros houses Seals, sea lions, penguins and pelicans. A grand opening weekend awaits visitors.

Colorful fishermen’s houses, a pier with a lighthouse, dune landscape, pine trees and colorful buoys – a trip to Osnabrück’s “Water Worlds” is almost like a trip to the coast. With great attention to detail, inspired by the Nordic coasts, the new animal world was created and now offers the animals large, deep pools and for the visitors, an exciting excursion destination with underwater views and a playground. Economics Minister Dr. Bernd Althusmann came to the opening, because the “Water Worlds” was financed with support from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) via the Lower Saxony N-Bank: “The new facilities in Osnabrück Zoo promise to be even more attractive for visitors, but also more attractive regarding animal welfare and environmental protection. The spaces are creative, innovative, and sustainable. I am very pleased that the state of Lower Saxony has helped to continue the success story of the

Osnabrück Zoo.” The Osnabrück Zoo, which finances itself almost exclusively, is dependent on support from subsidies and help from the economy. Boris Pistorius, Lower Saxony’s Minister of the Interior and Sport, who has been with Osnabrück Zoo for a long time, also came to the opening: “As a resident of Osnabrück, as a former mayor and now from afar as a minister, I have always been very interested in the zoo and the innovative concepts admired here. In the last 15 years, the zoo has been almost completely renovated – that’s really a great achievement.”

Construction project on a tight schedule

The zoo had been building the new animal world for a little over a year and was able to meet all its deadlines despite COVID-19 and delivery issues. The design for the “water worlds” came from the architects at the company dan pearlman Erlebnisarchitektur, who have been creating coherent worlds of experience for around 20 years and are responsible as general planners for architecture and landscape planning: “The challenge was the tight schedule due to the funding and we were just limited to one place on the site. However, we managed to use the space efficiently and were able to create a special setting with a lot of flair that takes visitors away from their everyday life and into a holiday atmosphere,” says architect Kieran Stanley happily. The architecture and engineering office pbr Planungsbüro Rohling AG took on the task of tendering and project management for the “Water Worlds”. What has been particularly noteworthy is the innovative filter technology for the huge water basin, which, with fibre balls, means that the water only needs to be changed every one to two years – with around 2.4 million litres of water the exhibit is saving around 10 million litres a year, this is a big plus for both the environment and the zoo budget.

New splendour at the old zoo entrance

Zoo President Dr. E.h. Fritz Brickwedde welcomed the guests on the special day and is very satisfied with the new area: “Here at the old entrance there were previously outdated facilities, a pond, and playgrounds – now this area is unrecognizable and is the new jewel here in the Zoo. The sea lions have been loyal companions to our zoo visitors for many decades and feeding them is the highlight for many children. It’s going to be a special experience here.” However, the animals still must get used to it: “The animals have been in their new enclosures and tanks for a few days and are still a little unsure. Because contrary to what you might expect, a new home for the animals is initially unfamiliar and a little scary. That’s why seals and sea lions may not show up that often and we must slowly introduce them back into training again,” says Andreas Wulftange, zoological director. In any case, he is happy that the animals now have three times as much space and with a pool depth of 3 meters with plenty of room to dive. In the medium term, he plans to bring more seals and sea lions to the “Water Worlds” in Osnabrück.

A special thank you: “Water Worlds Mariasiel”

Luckily, the financing of the “Water Worlds” was already in place before the Corona pandemic, reports zoo managing director Andreas Busemann: “We had a commitment to support ERDF funds via the N-Bank, ultimately amounting to 2.8 million euros – Here I would like to expressly thank Dr. Althusmann. In addition, almost 1.6 million euros of a special inheritance from Maria Ahrens and her family flowed into the new area, which is why we would like to call the ‘Water Worlds’ ‘Mariasiel’ – an idea from our technical manager Thorsten Vaupel.” Busemann expressly thanked the family, without which the “Water Worlds Mariasiel” would not have come to fruition. As technical manager, Vaupel was the interface between the zoo and the construction companies: “The interaction between the various trades worked really well, everyone worked quickly and, in a solution- oriented manner given the tight time frame. When the opening date gets closer, things will of course get hectic again.”

Underwater gallery shows swimming skills of the animals

But now almost everything is finished, a few final works on the paths and the preparation of the old playground with the historic locomotive will still be running parallel to the zoo’s operations. Osnabrück’s Lord Mayor Katharina Pötter is also enthusiastic about the result: “Even before the ‘Water Worlds’, the Osnabrück Zoo was a highlight for the local people and visitors to the region, the new area now makes the zoo even more attractive. I particularly like the panoramic underwater gallery, a room that shows both the seals and the sea lions in their water habitat.” Visitors can now visit the “Water Worlds Mariasiel” and look forward to the opening weekend on the 9th and 10th of July. From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the new animal world, the zoo educators will be there with activity stands, the pirate theater “Bernd Backenbart” will perform with juggling and magic, walking acts in the form of seahorses will be on the zoo paths on Sundays and glitter tattoos will be offered. In addition to the new playground, there is also a bouncy castle in the zoo centre to let off steam.

Text: ©Zoo Osnabrück