Visiting the National Zoo

Malaysia is known internationally to be a multi racial country that is rich in tradition and culture. Last week the country was busy celebrating the Deepavali and Hari Raya festival and I was on a long holiday with my kids. My son love animals, he never misses any shows featured on Animal Planet. He was practically pestering me to take him to the zoo.
So last week I took my two kids to the National zoo located in Kuala Lumpur.

A concrete jungle of building and houses now surrounds the zoo that was once in a virgin jungle. This is because it is only 13km from the heart of Kuala Lumpur, which is one of the busiest cities in Malaysia. The best time to visit would be in the morning, as it could get quite hot during the afternoons. You will not be allowed to bring your own food or water but it should be purchased from the shops that are in the premises of the zoo.

If you want to avoid getting stuck in a traffic jam, as the roads are usually busy you could opt to take a taxi or use the Putra Line (train) that departs every 15 minutes. You will need to purchase the tickets that cost RM 15.00 for adults and RM 6.00 for children aged above 5 years old. Please have a brief look at the bulletin board before you enter the zoo, as it will contain information about the animal shows for that particular day.

The elephant shows will take place in the elephant Amphitheatre at 10.30am and 2.30pm, while the Multi animal show will take place in the Main Amphitheatre at 11.30am and 3.30pm. The elephant show will feature solely on the tricks performed by the elephants based on the commands of their keepers. You could also have a ride on the elephant after the show that will cost RM 3.00 per person. The elephants perform many acts that reveal their strength and intelligence, like standing on their hind legs and many more.

Multi animal show consists of performance by a variety of the zoo animals like the orang utan, seal, parrot, snake and otter. The zookeeper and the animals are sure to keep you entertained with their antics. They encourage the crowd especially the children to participate in the show by clapping hands and cheering the animals.

The snake show only starts at 8.30pm; you will only be able to witness this spectacular show only if you attend the night zoo. It is a show that will pump up your adrenaline, as the trainer will attempt to kiss the cobra on its head several times. You are allowed to touch the python and snap photographs with it. Other poisonous snakes are also featured in the show with the trainer carrying out some dangerous acts like holding it by the tail, staring face to face with it and so on.

Please note that the shows can be cancelled at anytime taking into consideration the animals health, mood and the weather. Rainy weathers may require the trainers to put the animals and themselves in a much greater risk. If it rains, the floor of the Amphitheatre would be slippery, it would be difficult to kiss the cobra exactly on the head and snakes are more active when it rains so the trainers may find it a problem to control the snake.
One minus point here is that the Main Amphitheatre is only covered by layers of transparent net, if it starts to rain you will end up getting wet. The show will be cancelled if it is a heavy rain so checks the weather report before you leave for the zoo and do not forget to pack an umbrella in your bag.

Night zoo gives you an opportunity to study the animal behavior during the night. Although this is a good effort to educate the public further about nature and the animals, the lights provided are not so bright, thus it will be difficult to see the animals clearly.
If you would want to bring your kids along to the night zoo it may not be suitable as insects such as mosquito can easily bite them and they could get lost as it would be very dark. It will also be past their bedtime and children usually get cranky or moody when they want to sleep. You could opt to take a train ride, which is free of charge if you must attend the night zoo, as it will be safer and you get to scan the animals on the premises at one go.

Another new edition to the zoo is the Children Corner. The animals displayed here is the Hedgehogs, Slow Loris, Ponies, goats, Chickens, Owl, parrots, bugs, beetles, Meerkats, monitor lizards and mouse. The children can take a ride on the ponies at 2.45pm only. This section is quite fun and educational for the children.

Other attractions in the zoo are the Tunku Abdul Rahman Aquarium as it consists of over 80 species of marine and freshwater aquatic creatures including invertebrates. The fishes displayed are quite large. There is a separate tank beside the aquarium reserved for the penguins.

The Reptile House exhibits a wide range of snakes from the tiniest to the largest. The famous King Cobra and the python are the most popular snakes sought after by the visitors. Scorpions, Iguana and lizards also fall under the reptiles list. Different types of crocodiles, tortoise and turtles can also be found here.

Savannah walk focuses on the mammals such as the African lion, Giraffes, Emu, Ostrich, Kangaroo, Tigers, Sun bears, Grizzly bear, Panther, Leopard, Puma, deer, Rhinoceros, Hippopotamus, Camels. There are also a variety of primates in the zoo such as the common monkey, Gibbon, Mandrill, Orang Utan and the Bearded Monkey.

Bird lovers will enjoy themselves in the Bird house that displays hundreds of species of birds such as Eagles, Hornbills, Peacock, Cockatoo, Bats, Parrots, Flamingo and the list just keeps going on.

The zoo has kept its level best to maintain a natural environment for the animals to ensure they feel right at home. Some of the animals here are sponsored by big organizations, the tiger is sponsored by May bank Group, while the camel is sponsored by the Am bank Group.

We can also do our part by keeping the zoo clean and educate our children about the animals. I made sure my son read all the information stated on the boards outside the animals cage so he will be able to understand the animals better. We also attended the feeding time and commentary given by the keepers for certain special animals such as the tiger and the deer.

Some useful tips to remember is as stated below;

Always bring along an umbrella and a cap

Explain safety measures to your children, as they could get lost easily in a crowded place.

Wear comfortable shoes, as the zoo is 63 hectares so you would be doing a lot of walking.

Bring along your binoculars so you can see the animals better.

Make sure to visit the zoo during the day so you can see all the animals because day animals or primates cannot be seen after dusk especially the Orang Utan.

If you have a toddler bring along your pram so that you do not have to carry the child the whole day.

Check the details about the shows so that you can plan your time accordingly.

If you are too tired to walk go for a ride on the train, as it is free of charge.

Keep your child busy by making him take down notes about the animals.

The National zoo is an excellent teaching ground about endangered animals but it still needs some improvements to make it a better place.

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