Talk about out of place, were the flamingos in the snow today at the Tierpark Hellabrunn Munich Zoo. Although you expected to see the flamingos in some tropical paradise, they didn’t seem phased by the cold, snowy weather in Munich. In fact, they were one of the liveliest animal groups at the zoo, as attendance seemed to be at a crawling pace. The Munich Zoo, which sits on the banks of the Isar river, has its roots all the way back to 1770 as the Bavarian dukes set up parks in Nympenburg with exotic animals. Despite several false starts, the parks were generally for the aristocrats and eventually failed with little public support. It wasn’t until 1911, at the grand opening of the Hellabrunn zoo, that Munich citizens finally adopted the zoo as their own. The zoo found international success as the first geo-based zoo in the world, clustering animals based upon which continent they lived. That mapping still applies today, although it was a bit difficult to see that as we got lost with the map. The zoo survived WWI and reopened under Heinz Heck, who was known for breeding animals in captivity; but the zoo came under fire when in the 30s it cross bred several species to bring animals back from extinction. WWII put an end to just about everything in Munich including the zoo, and it finally opened for the third and last time in 1945. Today, the zoo is still known worldwide as a center for breeding in captivity, and more than 1 million visitors come to the zoo every year. And on a warmer afternoon, it’s a wonderful place to wonder and explore.