I know a lot of people (especially those bringing children) visit the zoo and complain complain complain… & compare compare compare – no animals, boring, nothing compared to the Singapore Zoo etc etc etc.
But Zoo Negara has its charm, for me & Fat Dragon anyway. I suppose the Zoo holds a place close to our hearts. It is situated in Ulu Klang, near Taman Melawati which was our place of residence from 1992 – 2006. The Zoo was practically our neighbour & some of the free roaming white storks in the zoo actually perch themselves on street lamps in the roads & grazed in a playing field in the Taman Melawati primary school. I kid you not. (Wonder if the birds are amongst the ones in the pic below…. NO… those are pink flamingos!)
The Zoo’s 120 acre tract of land is very close to the spectacular limestone hills of Taman Melawati & a valuable piece of green lung in the middle of the city. That is the reason why there was a controversy some time back about the relocation of the Zoo. I guess some quarters felt that the piece of land is wasted if it wasn’t developed for commercial use. There was a proposition to relocate the zoo to Putrajaya but its a good thing it didn’t come through. The Malaysian Zoological Society runs it and the zoo’s operations are funded purely through ticket sales, donations & private company funding.
Putting sentimental reasons aside, I agree. The Zoo is not perfect. The animal shows are a bit too contrived. Some of the staff seem to lack a genuine passion for animals – as evidenced in the Petting Zoo where the guy in charge was looking really bored & uninterested in educating the visitors. Some of the air conditioned train stops were let’s say… aired but not conditioned! It was blowing hot air only. The venue that housed the KFC restaurant is now abandoned. The maps showed a Mary Brown restaurant but I guess that too went bust. And the so called ‘Bee’ exhibit is a real STING..as in a con job. Don’t go in.. its just a place showcasing ‘dead’ bees & its just a gimmick set up to sell wild honey.
BUT……. I’ve always enjoyed walking in the grounds. I’ve always enjoyed the natural surroundings and although the S’pore zoo (which is where Zoo Negara is always compared with) has a lot more animals, some of the glass enclosures don’t appeal to me. Zoo Negara is more natural. I thought the tiger enclosure was very authentic, green & natural with a ‘moat’ running around it. The Bear complex too housed quite a number of bears i.e. sun bears, honey bears etc. A pair of Brown Bears caught my eye though. They were gigantic. And NO, there are no polar bears in Zoo Negara. Big deal. The puma & black leopard enclosures although natural looked unkempt though. The Safari Walk, a long strip of land housing the giraffes, the zebras, the ostriches was nice. It’s open concept allows the animals to mingle and move freely & that was an appealing sight indeed.
Well, for me, visiting the Zoo is a wonderful experience & I’d like to share some animal sightings & surroundings with you.. I say to you, go with an open mind. Don’t explore with too critical an eye and you just might change your views of the zoo a little bit towards the positive ….
P.S. The entrance fee has gone up to RM15 for adults. Parking is per entry at RM3.
P.P.S. Getting There
- Using Middle Ring Road 2 (MRR2) – from Ampang, u-turn at the Taman Melawati exit and take the first left; from Gombak, take the first left after the Taman Melawati exit flyover.
- Hop on the Metrobus bus 16 from Central Market. This bus will bring you to the zoo entrance.
- Using Kelana Jaya Line LRT, get down at the Wangsa Maju LRT station and take a taxi or the feeder bus to the zoo.
P.P.P.S. here are 16 exhibits in this zoo. They are:
- Reptile Park
- Monkey/Lesser Apes
- Malaysian Elephants
- Lake Birds
- Bird Aviary
- Nocturnal Exhibits
- Children’s World
- Bear Complex
- Savannah Walk
- Nile Hippopotamus
- Mammal Kingdom
- Freshwater Aquaria
- Cat Walk
- Ape Centre
- Amphibian World
Click this link for a map showing the locations of the various exhibits within the grounds of Zoo Negara.
p.p.p.p.s. Last but not least… you homo sapiens better not monkey around with the chimps at the primate exhibit area …. coz they’re smart enough to … well let’s just say the warning sign explains itself –