Most zoos forbid any kind of contact due to safety reasons. Even your average sheep-and-pony petting zoo allows little more than a pat on the head.
But the Kontaktní Zoopark drops you right into the pens of pumas, leopard, and even lions, as seen in Facebook photos of visitors cuddling with wild cats.
The new Zoo in Prague-West has been operating since April. As the name implies, the Zoo lets visitors make contact with its animal residents.
“The main idea and reason behind our project is to bring people closer to animals in their natural behaviour,” founder Filip Valášek recently told Blesk.
“We hope we can change people’s ideas about them, primarily concerning their protection and needs.”
Currently, the zoo features six pumas, a leopard, one lion, and about 120 reptiles, among other animals, that visitors can make full contact with. And the founders have plans to expand.
Admission to the zoo is voluntary: patrons can choose to pay what they wish to support the project and feed the animals.
The Kontaktní Zoopark is located in the village of Zvole, Prague-West. Prague buses 331 and 333 service the village. Opening hours: daily from 10:00 – 17:00.
Most of the exposures are outdoors, so it’s not recommended to visit if inclement weather is expected.
More info about the project can be found via their Facebook page.