Animal enclosures at the Lusen National Park Centre
Under the thick canopy of central Europe’s deciduous and coniferous forests only very little energy rich food can grow as sunlight is scarce – too little to sustain a large and varied animal kingdom. In addition wild animals are difficult to observe in our natural forests with their rich vegetation.
As a result a 200 hectare animal park with large landscaped enclosures and aviaries was established. Forty five native animal species are presented, enabling their activity and ecological significance in the mountain forest to be observed.
Keeping wild animals in enclosures is not a direct nature conservation task of the national park. However as part of the decision to establish the first German national park it was agreed that large enclosures enabling the presentation of important animal species in mountain forests should be established as a visitor attraction.
You should allow 3 – 4 hours for the 7km long circular trail. There are two possible short cuts that reduce the distance to 3km and the time needed to about 1½ hours.
All paths are suitable for wheelchair users and are ploughed and gritted in winter.
What is there to see?
Nestling in a varied forest landscape on the edge of the national park between Neuschönau and Altschönau 16 large enclosures and aviaries were constructed on an area of some 250 hectares and together these now make up the area of animal enclosures at the Lusen National Park Centre. Thirty six different bird and mammal species of the native wildlife currently live here. In the spacious landscaped enclosures (total space of the enclosed areas is 40 hectares) with their near natural habitats the resident animals can live according to their species’ daily rhythm – running, climbing, bathing, sleeping, and also hiding away.
How do I plan my visit?
Before you commence your walk through the animal enclosures, we recommend that you get the latest information from the Hans-Eisenmann-Haus visitor centre. Our trained personnel will offer you recommendations on guided tours as well as individually tailored advice on how you can optimally plan your visit.
The main entrance is situated close to Neuschönau at the P1 car park (Kreuzstraße) near the Hans-Eisenmann-Haus visitor centre. Further entrances are located at the car parks in Altschönau and at Böhmstraße. Entry to the animal enclosures is free but there is a charge for using the car park.
You can get to the car parks and animal enclosure entrances by car, by bus during the holiday season from 15th May to 4th November (Igel bus network in the national park region), by bike or by foot from neighbouring villages.
Car park charges
Car: €1.00 per hour / max €5.00 per day
Coaches: €3.00 per hour / max €10.00 per day
Charges are made from 08:00 to 19:00.
Parking is possible until 22:00
Overnight stays on the car parks are not allowed.
The animal enclosures are open all year round and are always accessible (day and night). In winter the paths are ploughed and gritted. The visitor trails are very well signposted and also suitable for prams and wheelchairs.
There are refreshments available at the visitor centre car park. There are also guesthouses in the village of Altschönau, about 300 metres away from the Altschönau car park.
Toilets, Changing facilities
These can be found at the visitor centre car park. Basic toilets are available at the Altschönau car park and on the trail.