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Pakawi Park, Olmen

3.1
#3 of 6 in Zoos & Aquariums in Antwerp Province
Zoo · Zoo / Aquarium
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Pakawi Park is a zoo in the Belgian village Olmen which is part of the town of Balen. Until 22 June 2019 it was named "Olmense Zoo".
The zoo was opened in 1976 by Louis Roothooft, a former captain. He used to live near Antwerp where he had a private collection of foreign animals. He bought some land in Olmen and moved his animals to the new location. The Olmen Zoo was founded. As Roothooft loved the circus a big circus tent was soon placed. Each day the animal carers did performance acts with the animals. Roothooft died mid 1990s and the park was sold to the family Verheyen in 1995.

The new owners also had a private collection of animals which were now transported to Olmen. The park was in a bad condition due to mismanagement of Roothooft, cages were not adapted to the animal needs and the number of customers was too low to make sufficient profits. That's why the park was renovated. The investments did succeed: the number of visitors raised from 9,000 to 200,000 in the first year. The circus tent was removed and no more acts were given.

On 11 October 2017, the zoo lost its license and was closed due to animal welfare breaches. On 18 November 2017, the zoo reopened with a new license, after fixing most problems and making a new masterplan.
The zoo is now specialized in felidae: African lions, white tigers, black leopards, Eurasian lynx, Servals, and cougars. The zoo has more than 200 different birds such as parrots, owls, eagles, flamingos, gruiformes and threskiornithidae.. The zoo has of course other animals such as simian, rodents, small mammals, deers, snakes and bears.
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Pakawi Park reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating
TripAdvisor traveler rating 3.5
308 reviews
Google
4.1
TripAdvisor
  • A very bad experience. If you told me the zoo had been deserted two years ago I would have believed you. The whole zoo is very poorly maintained, with glass windows so covered that you can hardly see....  more
    A very bad experience. If you told me the zoo had been deserted two years ago I would have believed you. The whole zoo is very poorly maintained, with glass windows so covered that you can hardly see....  more »
  • We first visited Olmense Zoo in May 2015 and fell in love with the place due to the large big cat variety and informal feel. We returned specifically this year with the reopening/rebranding into... 
    We first visited Olmense Zoo in May 2015 and fell in love with the place due to the large big cat variety and informal feel. We returned specifically this year with the reopening/rebranding into...  more »
Google
  • Super underrated! I feel like barely anyone knows this zoo exists, but it's a super fun place. Clean park, good variety of animals, not too busy and the animals are walking around and seem to be having a cozy time!
  • Pawaki park is a fun park to go to with your kids. Lots to see. The savannah and the jungle dome are the best parts. I do recommend bringing your own food, because the restaurant was incredibly crowded during lunch hour.

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