Madrid’s zoo, in the Casa de Campo , is a fairly standard European city zoo and is home to about 3000 animals. Exhibits range from white Siberian tigers to mambas, Atlas lions, zebras, giraffes, rhinoceroses, flamingos, koalas and a pair of celebrity pandas. There’s also a fine aquarium and you can watch dolphins and sea lions get up to their tricks. Shows are held at least a couple of times a day.
The 3000 sq metre Aviario (aviary) contains some 60 species of eagle, condor and vulture. Spend long enough here, however, and the Disneyfication of the zoo and their penchant for charging for everything (including the map!) will start to grate.
Arriving by bus is the best option as it leaves you right at the door; if you take the metro to Casa de Campo, you’ve a 15-minute walk from the station, or you can take bus 37 from the station for one stop.
Weekends can be busy, so try and visit during the week, although check the opening hours online before setting out. It might also be worth checking online the programme for the day (there are dolphin shows and the like) and planning your visit accordingly.