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The park of the people of Gothenburg since 1874

For over 100 years, Slottsskogen has been a park where the people of Gothenburg have gone to relax and for exercise and recreation. It has something for everyone – extensive grassed areas for picnics and playing, the only zoo in Sweden that has free admission, jogging tracks and activities for visitors of all ages.

Slottsskogen is open day and night, all year round. It has everything from buildings steeped in history and culture, including the Gothenburg Natural History Museum, to a park, nature and novel outdoor activities.

The area in which Slottsskogen is located has a long history. In the Middle Ages, the land was part of the old Älvsborg Slott mansion estate, which was used for deer hunting, fruit cultivation and grazing land. It was from here that Slottsskogen derived its name. At the beginning of the 18th century, the middle classes of Gothenburg were allowed to use Slottsskogen for outdoor pursuits.

By 1864, the population of Gothenburg had increased substantially. The County Governor, Albert Ehrenswärd, saw the need for a green area available to everyone in the city. The cause was taken up by August Kobb, at the time a member of the city council. Using Nordic nature as a starting point and deriving inspiration from English parks and the Skansen park in Stockholm, Slottsskogen became a park in the true sense in 1874, complete with large grassed areas, winding paths, a zoo, cottages representing building styles in various parts of the country, and a dance pavilion. August Kobb's portrait can be seen today in the rock at the bottom of Säldammsbacken.

Elks. Photo: Jenny BjörkmanThe zoo in Slottsskogen is one of the oldest in Sweden. It is open all year round and admission is free. With a focus on tame and wild Nordic animals, Slottsskogen aims to teach children and adults about the animal life we have around us. You can see everything from elks and deer to sheep, goats, seals, Gotland ponies and Öland geese.

Slottsskogen is working actively to preserve species native to the Nordic region that are under threat. There is also a facility for the Humboldt penguin, which is also under threat of extinction.

Every day you can come along and watch the zookeepers feed the park's seals and penguins, commencing at 2 pm for the seals and 2:30 pm for the penguins.

Children's Zoo
The Children's Zoo is open every day during the light months of the year, and admission is free. You can see different species native to Sweden, such as Gotland sheep, Jämtland goats, Gotland rabbits and Orust hens. Immediately adjacent is a pony riding area where children have the chance to ride a Gotland pony. One ride costs 20 SEK.

There are numerous opportunities to learn about animals and nature in an accessible and enjoyable way – both at the Children's Zoo and in the surrounding area. Follow the 'Gone Astray' path and learn what you should do if you get lost in the forest. You can also follow the Tree Path to learn more about the wide variety of Swedish trees. At Café Bräket, there is a butterfly garden with lots exciting information about butterflies.

The beautiful Azalea Valley blooms from the end of May to the beginning of June. Photo: Jenny Björkman Nature
Slottsskogen is a picturesque park with winding paths leading up to three hills. In the northern part, you can enjoy the view from the highest point in the park. Beside the animal enclosures, you can look at what are known as "jättegrytorna" – giant holes carved out of the rock by inland ice over 12,000 years ago.

A large part of Slottsskogen is made up of normal, natural forest with domestic trees such as linden, beech, oak, and maple. A Chinese sequoia in the Rhododendron Valley and the imposing Serbian spruce trees below Björngårdsvillan are examples of exotic trees that have been planted in the park. Although the Azalea is not native to Sweden, it has been planted in Slottsskogen and has given its name to the popular Azalea Valley.

The contrast between the planned park and the natural forest can be seen in the rich wildlife in Slottsskogen. After visiting the deer and elks in the zoo, you could meet a flock of wild deer in the park. Slottsskogen is also rich in birdlife, including the blackbird, wood pigeon and the odd owl. The ponds attract all kinds of waterbirds and migratory birds, and bullfrogs and salamanders live happily in the many pools in the park.

In Slottsskogen, there are numerous opportunities for activity and relaxation. Games, sports and various events fill the park with life all year round. You can dance at the dance pavilion at Gräfsnäsgården, watch the Puppet Theatre or enjoy music and other performances at the Slottsskogen theatre.

For those who want to exercise, there are paved and unpaved tracks for walking, jogging or skating. In the park, you can play frisbee golf, minigolf and beach volleyball or use the open areas for football and rounders. You can also take part in the popular running races and competitions that are arranged throughout the year in Slottsskogen.

Plikta excursion playground
The large whale is highly popular among Plikta's young visitors. Photo: Jenny BjörkmanPlikta is the largest and most visited playground in Gothenburg. It is also the city's first excursion playground – an exciting and stimulating setting that encourages young and old alike to play and try different activities. There are unique climbing frames, chessboards, an outdoor gym, table tennis tables, access-adapted play equipment, barbecue facilities and a 15 m long whale to play in and climb on.

There are staff on site every day to arrange Plikta park games – games and activities for children aged 6 to 16 years. These take place in the red building at the playground. Here you can do things with your hands, draw and play games. You can also borrow bicycles, balls and toys for the sandpit. Visitors are welcome to heat up their food and use the toilet or baby changing facilities.

Good order
For Slottsskogen to be an enjoyable place for everyone there are a number of simple, yet important rules:
  • Pick things up when you leave, put your rubbish in the waste bin and keep the park clean.
  • You must always keep your dog on a lead. There is an area in the park where you can let your dog off the lead under supervision. You are not allowed to take your dog with you to the playgrounds. Always clean up after your dog.
  • Disposable barbecues must be on a fireproof base (not on grass). Make sure the barbecue has cooled down before you throw it away. There are special containers in Slottsskogen for disposable barbecues.
  • If you want to barbecue over an open fire, this is only permitted at the park barbecue area, which is above Björngårdsvillan. Remember to put out the fire afterwards. It is your responsibility to find out if the Emergency Services have issued a ban on open fires.

In Slottsskogen, you are not permitted to:
  • Drive a car, moped or other motorised vehicles
  • Pick flowers or break off twigs
  • Disturb or harm the animals
  • Enter the animal enclosures
  • Fish in the ponds
  • Camp

Injured animals/animals in danger
You can reach the animal wardens on +46 705-61 23 88. Remember not to touch young wild animals. Slottsskogen does not receive wild animals or birds that have been found.

Contact details
Switchboard: +46 31-365 00 00 (City of Gothenburg)

Foto: Peter Svenson

Updated 2013-03-06