Skip to Content

Why Visit Planckendael – One of The Best Animal Parks in Belgium

Why Visit Planckendael – One of The Best Animal Parks in Belgium

What child doesn’t like theme parks, zoos, or playgrounds… Our kids are no exception. And while we hardly ever visit zoos or theme parks when we travel, here in Belgium we know almost all of them. We often take our kids to Planckendael, one of the best animal parks in Belgium.

We always love it so much that I decided to share one of our experiences in Planckendael in this short review.

We have been to Planckendael many times before, but the park changes so much with something new every time we visit.

You can find practical info for your visit below, but first some inspiration for your visit – what you can expect to see and do in Planckendael.

READ ALSO: Antwerp with Kids

Koala in Planckendael animal park
Koalas must be the cutest animals in Planckendael!

Why Visit Planckendael

Planckendael is one of the best animal parks in Belgium. It’s a big place with a great variety of animals from all continents and some really nice play areas for children.

It’s not like a regular zoo, but rather a big forest with big enclosures for animals. There are so many baby animals in the park that I take it as a good sign that they feel good here.

Lemurs in Planckendael
Lemurs in Planckendael

Here are some of the things you can expect to see and do in Planckendael:

See animals from all continents

Planckendael has an incredible variety of animals from all over the world. Together with its sister park Antwerp Zoo, Planckendael houses over 7,000 animals of more than 950 species.

The park is divided into 5 continents: Asia, Oceania, Africa, America, and Europe. The well marked paths allow you to see everything without having to look at the map all the time.

However, it’s a big park and you should count at least 5-6 hours in order to see all the animals at a somewhat relaxed pace. Count extra time for lunch, feeding shows, and of course for the playgrounds. We spent 8 hours in Planckendael and didn’t get bored for a minute.

Elephants in Planckendael
Asian Elephant
Cheetah in Planckendael
Giant anteater in Planckendael
Giant anteater
Giraffes in Planckendael

Animal feedings and shows

There are several animal feedings and birds-of-prey shows that you can attend during the day. You can walk among penguins or monkeys and stand at eye level with the giraffes…

Attending animal feedings is always our favorite part of the visit to Planckendael! You can find the complete schedule of all the feedings and shows at the entrance of the park or on their website.

Birds of prey in Planckendael
Our oldest was super excited to be able to participate at the birds of prey show on one of our visits

Walk among penguins

One of the best experiences in Planckendael is the penguin enclosure. If you happen to be there just before feeding time, penguins are extremely active.

On one of our visits, they were walking on the path among people, waddling in that funny penguin way and making everyone smile. I think there were hundreds of them… Of course we decided to stay for the feeding!

Apart from our South Africa trip with kids, this is the closest we have ever been to so many penguins. Our kids were over the moon!

Several children are allowed to come and feed the penguins as well, but ours were too far in the long queue. A bit disappointed, they still unanimously said that being amongst the penguins was the best experience ever! Now they all want a penguin for their birthday…

Walk among penguins in Planckendael animal park in Belgium
Don’t miss the penguin feeding!

Playgrounds and more

There are so many different playgrounds in Planckendael where your kids can play and explore.

In addition to ‘regular’ playgrounds, you can do a treetop trail, cross a river on a raft or a canoe, and test your skills at the floating play harbor and the aboriginal rope trail, rotating trunks and loops. Just watch out or you may end up with wet feet, as one of my boys did (not that it stopped him from looking for even more challenges).

I would lie if I said that it’s fun for kids only. Adults enjoy it just as much!

Fun day in Planckendeal animal park in Belgium
Cross the water on a raft
Planckendeal tree top walk is fun for all ages
Planckendeal tree top trail is fun for all ages
You might have to share the playground with storks at Planckendael
You might have to share the playground with storks
Planckendael is great fun for kids
Cross the river in a canoe
Cheetah runs this track in 1 second - how fast are you
Cheetah runs this track in 1 second – how fast are you?

Special events

In addition to seeing a huge variety of animals, there is usually more going on in Planckendael in summer. One year, they had an amazing temporary Art With Lego Bricks exhibition.

Our kids were so inspired by the colorful plants and animals made of Lego bricks, that they started building their own collection of Lego animals at home.

Take a look at these incredible LEGO creations at Planckendael!

Art With Lego Bricks - Lion in Planckendeal animal park Belgium
Art with Lego bricks American bison in Planckendael animal park
Lego snow leopard in Planckendael
Planckendeal - Art with Lego Bricks - White Bear
Planckendeal Art With Lego colorful frog

Practical information for visiting Planckendael

  • Planckendael is located next to Mechelen, halfway between Brussels and Antwerp (see map).
  • Planckendael can easily be reached by public transport. If you are coming by train, you can buy a ticket that includes a train, shuttle bus, and access to the park. More info here.
  • The park is open 365 days a year.
  • It’s a great park for any age, but families with kids age 4 to 12 will probably enjoy it the most.
  • Annual pass offers great value for bigger families. On top of that, it includes free admission to Antwerp Zoo and several other parks. We often get a family pass – it’s great value if you live in Belgium.
Walking among monkeys in Planckendeal zoo is great fun for kids
Walking among monkeys is another great experience in Planckendael

If you are looking for a really nice animal park to visit in Belgium, Planckendael near Mechelen is definitely one of the best choices.

I strongly recommend spending the whole day in the park and trying to attend at least one animal feeding. If you live nearby, I would also strongly consider an annual pass as there is so much to see and do in the park.

READ ALSO: Best Theme Parks in Belgium

If you are visiting more of Belgium, check out these guides:

If you enjoyed reading this post, please share it. Are you on Pinterest? Pin this image!

There are so many reasons to visit Planckendael animal park in Belgium. Find out!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Wednesday 1st of August 2018

This all sounds great! Thank you!


Wednesday 1st of August 2018

What a great blog and sweet motivator! I am so grateful to have found it today! We will be in Belgium in early December. Have you ever visited Planckendael in the winter? Think it’s wortn the trip, or should we stick to the Christmas markets and ice sculptures this time? My husband and I have been to Belgium several times, but this is our first time with kids in tow. Thanks, Jurga!


Wednesday 1st of August 2018

Hi Ashley, we used to live near Planckendael and have been there in all seasons. Winter is very different, but can still be very nice. There are less people around and some animals are inside, but you can still see most of them. So yes, it can be a nice day out with kids if the weather is dry. I wouldn't go there if it's really rainy and windy, but otherwise - why not. I'd also recommend checking the Zoo of Antwerp where they had a beautiful China Light festival for the last two winters. If I understand it right, they'll have it again this year - it's so nice to visit with kids, especially in the evening (just maybe reserve the tickets a week or two in advance and avoid weekends). You can combine it with a visit to Antwerp Christmas market. Also, in Brussels, you can find some really nice museums that can be interesting for kids. One of my favourites is the Music Instruments Museum. There are always many events around the end of the year, so I'm sure you'll find plenty to do in Belgium, also with kids.


Wednesday 20th of September 2017

These LEGO animals look so epic! I bet the children were over the moon!


Wednesday 26th of July 2017

I can't believe you can get so close to the monkeys - the kids would love that! (Oh, OK, and me!)


Wednesday 26th of July 2017

Haha, Alex. I think I'm just excited about being close to the animals as my kids too :)


Monday 24th of July 2017

awwww how fun is this?!!? Sounds like a great animal park to take your kids to!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.