Phuket Zoo, as with any other animal enclosures around Thailand or the world for that matter will almost certainly be subjective to some sort of controversy. But on a personal note, it can well be based on individual feelings or prejudices. You may perceive any animal, especially the wild variety, being caged in cramped conditions, inhuman or perhaps even barbaric. In spite of this, it is an absolute delight for kids who at a young age are unaware of the predicament.
In all fairness, there are far too many zoos to mention around the world that has large animals living in cramped enclosures on bare concrete floors with barely any real room to move. Take for instance that single leopard in solitary confinement, walking up and down all day long. Long after you have gone, he is probably still pacing up and down with nowhere to go. Where’s the democracy in that? Then again who am I to judge. I just hope that I’m not being too overly critical here. By sending me your comments please let me know your views.
And what about the tigers (chained I might add) who just lie there looking ever so sheepish while waiting to have their photo taken with some eager visitor. The only animals who do appear to enjoy their day are the crocodiles, monkeys and elephants… or do they. These animals are the zoos finest performers and put on several shows daily to the applaud of the crowds. It may well be worth the visit.
However, it’s not necessary all doom and gloom at the zoo. There can be some good coming out of the fact that so many of the world’s greatest creatures are confined to a limited space. In some cases, it may be necessary. Not everyone working in zoos wants to see animals in their care being neglected or mistreated.
Having lived in Africa, I had been fortunate to see some of the big five roaming wild and free. The dissimilarity is indescribable. At some stage, you may want to experience that thrill yourself. If not in Africa, see similar animals at Phuket Zoo. Now that I’ve got that off my chest, you cannot deny that Phuket Zoo is really a kids paradise, that being the real reason why you should take them there.
If you cannot manage the African trip then this is the best alternative for any kid to have the opportunity to come up close and personal with animals they otherwise never see in real life. Watching Animal Planet on TV is no substitute.
Kids will absolutely enjoy the monkey shows, the crocodile shows as well as the elephant shows held daily at the zoo but there is no reason why you shouldn’t either. They can be a lot of fun if not extremely entertaining, to say the least.
Monkey Shows start at 9:00 am with a further three shows at 12:00 pm, 14:30 pm and 16:45 pm respectfully. You’ll see mostly short-tailed macaque monkeys riding bicycles, playing basketball, carrying food in baskets on their shoulders among other things such as diving for coins and posing with colourful umbrellas.
You may see the odd orangutan or two doing tricks too. Try not to get annoyed with the hosts as they go through the motions at high speed switching from one language to another language. It’s the same routine time after time and all part of the program. Just sit back and try to relax. Kids, of course, wouldn’t care less.
Crocodile Shows are at 9:45 am, 12:45 pm, 15:15 pm and 17:30 pm. You’ll see how trainers place their heads inside the crocodile’s mouth, a routine they have been doing for years now. You never know if this seemingly brave display will be their last but these handlers are not about to give up their professions just yet.
Elephant Shows are at 10:30 am, 13:30 pm and 16:00 pm. These huge beasts never seem to amaze me as they so effortlessly demonstrate their many skills at balancing acts, playing football or dancing performances. Directly after the shows the kids can feed the elephants bananas and have their photos taken. Also, don’t forget to buy an elephant painted T-Shirt at the souvenir shop here.
Aquarium and Bird Park
The zoo has an aquarium which you enter via a giant man-made crocodile mouth. Once inside you’ll find the air-conditioning a much welcome relief from the tropical heat outside. There are some enormous fish tanks in the main area displaying a variety of both fresh and saltwater species from around the world. The tanks are created to mirror the natural habitat of sea-life including the colourful coral reef.
In the upstairs area, you’ll find tanks displaying smaller fish as well as tanks with turtles, crabs, snakes and lizards. There are also a huge variety of seashells on display as well as various types of fishing equipment used in catching local and fish from around the world. Have something to eat or drink and buy a souvenir.
After that, go to the Bird Park where you’ll see a variety of exotic birds from all over the world including many local species. You are welcome to wonder around the landscaped gardens to the aviary where most of the birds live and breed in surroundings that resemble their natural habitat. In the bird park, you will find toucans, parrots, peacocks, secretary birds, ostrich and a heck of a lot more.
Phuket Zoo is located about a 15-minute drive from Phuket Town and about 10 minutes from Chalong Bay near the southern end of the island. While locals pay only 80 Baht, the entrance fee for tourists is rather steep at 500 Baht for adults and 300 Baht for the kids. This zoo is open daily from 8:00 am until 6:00 pm.
You might like to see these other Zoos in Thailand
|Dusit Zoo and Park located at on Rama V Road in Bangkok is a fantasy playground where the whole family can view a variety of live animal and bird species both international and domestic as well as many life-size reproductions of prehistoric animals from years gone by.|
|Sriracha Tiger Zoo is a wildlife sanctuary located near Pattaya on the east coast of Thailand. The zoo is home to two hundred Bengal Tigers, one hundred thousand crocodiles and a huge variety of both local and international animals and bird species.|
|Robot Zoo located inside the Children’s Discovery Museum in Bangkok is a fantasy playground containing biomechanical replicas that represent life-size animals, reptiles and giant insects designed to illustrate how real animals, reptiles and insects behave in their natural habitat.|