Korkeasaari, Helsinki, Finland | CruiseBe
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Natural sights
island, zoo, nature

Korkeasaari (Swedish: Högholmen) is an island in Helsinki, Finland where the country's biggest zoo is situated. The English name of the zoo is Helsinki Zoo.

The zoo is located on a 22-hectare (54-acre) rocky island, connected to the mainland via a bridge to the Helsinki district of Mustikkamaa, where there is access to the zoo all year round. A ferry and water buses take visitors to the island summertime from the Kauppatori and Hakaniemi.

Korkeasaari is one of the most popular places among visitors in Helsinki. The animals on display are divided geographically to Amazonia, Africasia and Borealia. There are about two hundred Animal species, and about a thousand plant species.


Korkeasaari has been a recreational park for Helsinki people long before the zoo was founded, since 1569. It was first used as pasture and for fishing. In the 19th century, it was used for storing timber. During the Crimean war, the island was a military area. Helsinki city gained access to it again in 1864 and then the recreational use really started: steam boat traffic was established, and a restaurant together with facilities for dancing, bowling, and picnics were provided.

The zoo was started 1889.


The main collection comprises mammals and birds, but even reptiles, fish and invertebrates are on display. (The Amazonia building has an aquarium department.) No big mammals (elephants, giraffes, hippopotamus) are on display, as all warm climate animals must be indoors for wintertime. There is a large collection of big cats, and the snow leopards born in Korkeasaari are famous.

Two or three times a year the zoo organizes night walks, when visitors can see the big cats and other nocturnal animals in their natural waking hours.

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