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Zoo al Maglio – An Honest Review

Last Updated on May 21, 2024 by Darla

Zoo al Maglio in Magliaso, Ticino, is a charming little zoo that not many people know about, so it’s never too crowded. It’s a perfect spot for a relaxed day out. Here, you’ll find an array of adorable creatures like wallabies, guinea pigs, dwarf goats, rabbits, mini-pigs, monkeys, birds, raccoons, and even more furry and feathered animals.

Image of the Snow Leopard, Zoo al Maglio by TouringSwitzerland.com

The following is an overview and my honest review of the zoo, trying to be as objective as possible. 

Overview of Zoo al Maglio

Image of a Wallaby, Zoo al Maglio by TouringSwitzerland.com

Zoo al Maglio has a humble history dating back to 1974 when it first opened its doors as a cozy haven for animals. Founded by Roly Fehr, it began as a humble venture that has since blossomed into the delightful sanctuary it is today. Over the years, it has steadily expanded, and now it’s home to a diverse array of around 100 animals.

Today, it’s lovingly managed by Sabina Fehr, carrying on the legacy with care and dedication. The zoo still boasts a team of dedicated staff members who pour their hearts into caring for the animals, along with visitors who arrive with excitement and curiosity, eager to explore and connect with the creatures that call the zoo home.

Zoo al Maglio stands as the only zoo within the picturesque Canton of Ticino, offering a one-of-a-kind experience for anyone seeking animal encounters in the region.


Zoo al Maglio Highlights

Feeding the Zoo Animals

Image of the Zoo Sign that shows which food bag to use, Zoo al Maglio by TouringSwitzerland.com

One of the things I truly love about this zoo is the opportunity to interact with the animals by feeding them. Each enclosure has a sign indicating whether you should use the yellow bag or the green bag for feeding. You can purchase the yellow bag at the entrance, while the pellets for the green bag can be obtained from a coin-operated machine nearby (it was CHF 1 when we visited).

The rabbits and guinea pigs, located side by side, would often approach to be fed by hand. However, they seemed either shy or simply not very hungry, as they would wander off to rest before returning for more food eventually.

On the other hand, the goats and mini-pigs were always eager and delighted to be fed, eagerly welcoming any treats offered to them.

African Lions with a Commanding Presence

Image of the Alpha Lion, Zoo al Maglio by TouringSwitzerland.com

Zoo al Maglio is home to four majestic African lions, each boasting a striking mane and commanding presence. Their resonant roars truly stand out as one of the highlights of this zoo experience. During our visit, we were fortunate enough to witness their feeding time, where we observed the intricate social structure within the pride, with a clear hierarchy determining who gets to eat the chicken first.

I also noticed how lions devote a considerable amount of time to resting, conserving their energy for moments of activity. Since there were no lion cubs present during our visit, we missed out on witnessing their playful antics. Nevertheless, it was fascinating to witness firsthand the power of their roar and how the hierarchy remains evident even within the confines of a zoo setting.

The Sleek and Nimble Snow Leopard

Image of the Snow Leopard, Zoo al Maglio by TouringSwitzerland.com

We had the chance to observe the zookeeper feeding the snow leopard, which proved to be quite captivating, even though we couldn’t fully understand her since we don’t speak Italian.

The snow leopard demonstrated remarkable intelligence, effortlessly maneuvering to obtain its meal through jumps, climbs, and strategic movements. Despite its silent and elusive nature, we couldn’t help but admire its stunning appearance, with its white fur adorned with striking spots and that graceful, long tail.

While the snow leopard may be far from resembling a cuddly house cat, its beauty left a lasting impression on us.

Colorful Birds in the Aviary

Image of the Smart Bird called Pippi, Zoo al Maglio by TouringSwitzerland.com

Throughout the zoo, we discovered an array of birds housed in various cages, each with its unique charm. However, our absolute favorite was Pippi, a vibrant yellow bird bursting with personality. Pippi proved to be quite the character, displaying remarkable intelligence as it eagerly sought out popcorn treats. It was amusing to see how Pippi would become visibly annoyed if we paused in feeding it, making for some delightful and humorous moments during our visit.

Tufted Capuchins and Japanese Macaques

Image of a Monkey Enclosure, Zoo al Maglio by TouringSwitzerland.com

As soon as we stepped into the zoo, we were greeted by the capuchins. Initially, it seemed like they were all eager for a snack, eagerly reaching out for food. However, after we came back to their cage one hour later, it appeared they had their fill and already lost interest in being fed.

The capuchins at Zoo al Maglio were especially lively, enjoying their time climbing and chasing each other around. On the other hand, the macaques in another cage exhibited more assertive behaviors. Their gestures, vocalizations, and occasional confrontations were more aggressive, an intriguing contrast to the capuchins’ playful demeanor.

Nevertheless, observing these two monkeys was truly fascinating. We were captivated by their intricate social interactions, vocalizations, and playful antics.

Adorable Raccoons

Image of the Raccoon that wanted food, Zoo al Maglio by TouringSwitzerland.com

The raccoon encounter was a highlight of our visit, filled with laughter and adorable moments. We spotted two of them lounging atop a tree, seemingly enjoying a leisurely afternoon. When we offered them some snacks, one raccoon made a half-hearted attempt to retrieve the food before deciding it wasn’t worth the effort, casually turning its back on us to resume its tree-top relaxation.

The second raccoon, however, had different ideas and eagerly descended the tree to investigate. To our surprise, it showed a particular fondness for bananas, rejecting all other offerings. Our kids had a blast feeding these charming creatures, finding their antics utterly delightful.


Zoo al Maglio Information

Opening Hours– Daily 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM,
– November to March: 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Ticket Prices– Adults – CHF 14
– Kids – CHF 7
– Discounts for schools and groups

Our Experience – An Honest Review

Image of the Guinea Pigs, Zoo al Maglio by TouringSwitzerland.com

While Zoo al Maglio isn’t as big or fancy as zoos in Zurich or Basel, we spent a good four hours here. The highlight was being able to feed almost all the animals. We’d finish our bags and then buy more food from the entrance desk to keep going.

We truly liked the zoo. It’s not widely known and seems to mostly attract locals and a few Swiss visitors from the German-speaking side. It’s easy to walk around and feed the animals on your own. Even though we visited on a Saturday afternoon, it wasn’t crowded compared to other Swiss zoos.

The cages and animals were well taken care of. We saw the zookeepers feeding the animals and cleaning up while we were there. It’s not as big as other zoos, but it’s clear the zoo management works hard to keep the animals happy.

Despite its size, we’ve always enjoyed our trips to the zoo. Whether you have a map or not, it’s easy to get around. It’s not too big, so even young kids won’t feel overwhelmed.

In my opinion, for the price you pay, Zoo al Maglio offers a simple, clean, and well-maintained experience, which is more than reasonable. The only drawback I noticed is the lack of a proper restaurant. So, it’s best to plan your visit either before or after lunch, or you can bring your picnic to enjoy during your time at the zoo.


How to Get to Zoo al Maglio

Image of the Zoo al Maglio Entrance by TouringSwitzerland.com

Traveling By Car

There are parking lots directly in front of the zoo. The address is:

Neggio, Via ai Mulini 14

6983 Magliaso

Traveling By Train

The zoo is a short 10-minute walk away from the Magliaso train station.


Final Thoughts: Zoo al Maglio

There were several aspects of this zoo that I truly appreciated, especially the opportunity to interact with almost all the animals. From playful monkeys to clever raccoons, friendly goats, adorable guinea pigs, and vibrant birds, there was no shortage of delightful encounters. The ease of navigation and the peaceful atmosphere, with few other visitors around, made our visit calm and enjoyable.

However, the absence of a proper restaurant was a downside. We had to make do with cookies and chips instead of a heartier meal. Next time, we’ll plan ahead and bring our own picnic bag for a more satisfying dining experience. Don’t forget to pick up a brochure for English translations since the signs are all in Italian. But honestly, most of them are pretty easy to figure out and understand.

Overall, considering the price, I believe the experience was well worth it. Expect a small yet well-maintained zoo, and you won’t be disappointed.


Resources

  • Fehr, Sabina. Vorfreude auf 50 Jahre wilder Abenteuer: Zoo al Maglio Jubiläumsfeier ab 1.1.2024. Zoo al Maglio.
  • Zoo al Maglio. https://www.zooalmaglio.ch/.

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Darla is the owner of TouringSwitzerland.com. Her home is in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. Having lived almost 20 years in Switzerland, she's traveled extensively all over the country. Darla's favorite regions to visit in Switzerland include Engadin, Lake Geneva, Bernese Oberland, Ticino, and Valais. She loves spending time with her family, hiking, visiting museums, and reading books.

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