After almost three years of reconstruction works, the Stara Zagora Zoo has recently re-opened its doors introducing lots of new inhabitants: a pair of kangaroos, a newborn deer, and a monkey. Add the spot to your best places to visit in Bulgaria! On halfway between Burgas and Sofia, Stara Zagora Zoo can be easily reached from either city by any type of transport.

Best Places to Visit in Bulgaria: Renovated Stara Zagora Zoo with 400 Animals
Stara Zagora with 400+ animals is one of the best places to visit in Bulgaria. © Tatyana Garkavaya


The 7-hectare Stara Zagora zoo has been an emblematic place in the city for 65 years. The number of its inhabitants is constantly increasing: now, the zoo is home to 400 animals that reside in 50 houses along picturesque alleys. An adult ticket is just 2 levs (1 euro).

Noisy parrots are the first hosts that meet visitors. Different species live in the same cage, and each showcases its singing and visual capacities.

Original colorful collections of doves and pheasants make up the largest part of the bird species of the zoo.

Pairs of griffon vultures and ostriches are the biggest and most exotic birds in the Stara Zagora zoo. While the former live in a separate house, the latter share the area with bison, donkeys, and sheep.

Iconic for Bulgaria storks, share a nice place near an artificial lake with black swans.

Best Places to Visit in Bulgaria: Renovated Stara Zagora Zoo with 400 Animals
Storks live all year round in the Stara Zagora Zoo. © Tatyana Garkavaya


Bears are the most iconic inhabitants of the zoo. In 1957, the species started today’s zoo. Now, bear animals with babies and those child-free ones live in different houses.

Best Places to Visit in Bulgaria: Renovated Stara Zagora Zoo with 400 Animals
There are two large bear families in the Stara Zagora Zoo. © Tatyana Garkavaya

Among the new animals are a couple of kangaroos, a white male specimen of the wallaby species, and a brown female specimen. Both were gifts of Burgas Zoo; it boasts a successful kangaroo breeding program: 25 babies have been born there.

Deer are the noisiest animals. One can hear them from any angle of the zoo. They produce different sounds for greeting approaching visitors and interacting with fellow deer.

Another unforgettable stop is the aviary of a lion. The lone animal ignores curious visitors spending a lot of time in the same pose without any movement.

stara zagora zoo
The lion prefers solitude. © Tatyana Garkavaya

In contrast to the lion, a monkey family represents an interactive show – the animals inquisitively come up to new guests and observe their actions. The youngest monkey is just one month old; she lives in a glass house with her mother.

The most curious discovery during my visit was a cute brown squirrel gracefully jumping on the trees under the aviaries of different animals.

More encounters with birds

In addition to visits to the zoo, guests of the city can enrich their emotions by visiting another place in Stara Zagora devoted to birds and animals – the Wildlife Rescue Centre. Among the most exciting activities are visits to the wild birds’ section, participation in bird releases, and adoption of wild birds.

This season, I participated in two bird releases of storks in April and owls in September. The birds were freed after several months of treatment. All of them were delivered to the center by people who had found them injured in different regions of Bulgaria.

While bird releases are seasonal events – from April to October, visits to the center and adoptions of the birds can take place all year round. 

Find more details about my experience of adopting four wild birds in another blog post.