Den Lille Dyrehage is a perfect stop for tourists who are visiting southern Norway with young children, and are looking for a small zoo to spend a few hours. This park has the biggest tropical rain forest in all of Norway, thanks to a huge greenhouse that hosts snakes, monkeys, huge fish, lemurs, turtles and more.
You can get very close to most of the animals in Den Lille Dyrehage, and it’s a great stop for children who want to learn more about animals. It’s just two minutes away from E18, so it’s very easy to stop by for a few hours while traveling from the south of Norway towards Oslo.
If you type Den Lille Dyrehage into Google Translate, you will quickly realize that its named “The Small Zoo”, which is absolutely true. This is not a huge zoo where you can spend several days before you can see everything, but instead a smaller zoo right next to the highway where you can stop and enjoy yourself for a few hours before heading towards your next destination.
Read more: The best zoos in Norway.
Animals you can see in Den Lille Dyrehage
The main attraction in Den Lille Dyrehage is their huge, tropical rain forest in the greenhouse. This indoor area has free-ranging animals that can use the space as they see fit, and you can walk along the boardwalk to look at the different parts of the rain forest.
The rain forest area has free-ranging monkeys, lemurs, reptiles, turtles, bats and more, as well as enclosures with more reptiles, amphibians, venomous snakes and a crocodile. A certain part of the greenhouse houses free-ranging snakes, but you are free to choose if you want to enter that part or not. These snakes are not dangerous, but you are advised not to touch, since they can bite you.
The outside area has a big meerkat exhibition that you can look at, an area with farm animals that you can enter and interact with the farm animals, as well as a kangaroo enclosure that you can enter to get a good look at the animals.
You will be able to walk along a trail in the kangaroo exhibition, and the kangaroos will get pretty close to you, but you will not be able to pet or interact with them. There are also emus and wallabies in the kangaroo enclosure.
Den Lille Dyrehage does not have the biggest variety of animals, and most of the fun is located inside the huge greenhouse, so don’t expect an enormous park with mammals from all over the world. You will not see any large predators like lions, tigers, wolves or anything like that in Den Lille Dyrehage.
What makes Den Lille Dyrehage worth a visit
I find visiting Den Lille Dyrehage with children to be a very enjoyable experience. It’s not too big, so you don’t ever need to rush to get around, and it’s usually not too crowded. You can sit back and relax while the children are enjoying the play area, or talk a walk together in the big greenhouse to see all the cool animals that are living there.
The animals are fed in front of the audience, so you can choose to watch the feeding time. This comes with some information about the animals as well, so you get to learn something new. Many of the animals can be interacted with during the feeding time, and there’s even times where children can pet some of the animals such as the snakes.
There’s also a pretty nice play area for children, with one part suited for smaller children (left side of the photo below), and one part that is better suited for 4 – 8 year old children.
If you want to have a relaxed time, then this is a great stop. If you prefer to maximize how much to experience in the shortest amount of time, then you might feel like this zoo is a bit too small for your taste.
Getting to Den Lille Dyrehage
Den Lille Dyrehage is located in an area called Brokelandsheia, a small shopping area mainly targeting tourists. The good thing about this is that it’s just two minutes away from the main highway E18, so it’s very easy to get there.
The travel time from Oslo is about 3 hours in total, but it’s just about 1 hours away from Kristiansand. The easiest way to get there is by car (just drive on the E18, head south if you are coming from Oslo), but you can also take a bus to get there. All buses that drive on the E18 tend to have a stop in Brokelandsheia.
You can take the train to Den Lille Dyrehage as well, but that is not advised. The train stops at Gjerstad stasjon, a 10 minute drive away from Den Lille Dyrehage. It’s a bit too long to walk, and it’s a bit of a hassle to first take the train, then the bus, and another bus before getting on the train when you are done.
When is Den Lille Dyrehage open?
Den Lille Dyrehage is open every day during the summer months, but only in the weekends during the rest of the year. You should check their website to see the current opening times (since these change too often for us to keep track of).
Keep in mind that there will be some limitations if you decide to visit during the winter. You will not be able to see the kangaroos, farm animals or use the big slides in the play area, so you will have a somewhat limited experience.
Tickets to enter are around 350 NOK per person, so it’s on the cheap side compared to most other zoos in Norway. It’s a bit cheaper during the winter and autumn season, and expect to pay around 220 NOK for adults, and around 200 NOK for children during the off-season.
Nicklas is the owner and editor of The Norway Guide, and is responsible for most of the content on the website.
He lives in Skien, Norway with his wife and two children. Nicklas is specialized in Norwegian ecology (including Norway’s geology, wildlife and flora) from his degree in Ecology And Nature Management at University of South-Eastern Norway, but has a particular interest in tourism and content creation.
His biggest hobbies are fishkeeping, going on hikes with his dog, and rooting for the local football team.