Last month, I had weekend seminars in Manila that kept me away from the kids for two weeks in a row. While on the bus, I found that our venue was near Manila Zoo so I thought that taking them with me the next Sunday would be hitting two birds with one stone.
I caught up with my family in the afternoon and they had already gone around the zoo but since it was quite a hot and humid afternoon, they were resting on some playground benches with some picnickers. On that Sunday, the Manila Zoo was packed but we didn’t have any trouble finding parking space and it was only Php30. My husband talked to the parking attendant when he left to pick me up and buy food so he didn’t have to pay again when he re-entered.
When you go inside, the first thing you need to do is buy your tickets. Since we were not Manila Residents, we paid an affordable Php100 each. My two year old got in for free and tickets for kids were only Php60. Residents of Manila have a 50% off on the rates but you need to present identification that contains your address like your Driver’s license or SSS ID card.
One of the first things you see inside the Zoo is this Kinder Zoo where you can pay an additional Php250 to Zip line, go wall climbing, explore a hanging bridge, or take photos with animals up close. Since my kids were too young, we opted out but I guess it would be fun for grade-schoolers to experience.
Outside the KinderZoo, there are booths where you can buy different kinds of toy animals and souvenirs, One of them, a snake booth where you can take a photo with a snake wrapped around you ala-Britney Spears. There are photo booths also for a small crocodile and colorful birds that you could take a photo with as a souvenir for Php100-200. My son was just happy stroking the snake’s body and I would lose consciousness if I had to touch any kind of reptile so we passed up the opportunity on the snake booth.
It can get quite tiring walking around in the heat since the Zoo is spacious so I suggest bringing hats or a small umbrella. It could also be handy when the birds that are freely wandering in the trees across the garden take a quick bathroom break on the branches. I was almost hit by bird poop while watching the elephant so take my word for it.
It was already 2pm in the afternoon and the animals had just eaten and were having their siesta so most of them were asleep in their cages or hidden out in their caves like the lions so we spent some time waiting for them to come out.
I was a bit disappointed that there was no giraffe or zebra but it was interesting that they had a Hebra which is a hybrid of a Zebra and a Horse which is found native in Africa. That was some new information.
This part of the zoo was refreshing and some intuitive parents were able to bring crackers to feed the koi and turtles so we were able to observe.
Earlier in the day, they waited for this Pink Hippopotamus to come out of its watering hole and we were lucky enough to catch it during feeding time.
Of course I named the reindeer Rudolph, and told my son they were resting for Christmas. No, seriously, I did.
The zoo has a number of crocodiles and alligators that are kept in with cement barriers and this one was very still but looked very alert.
This next photo looks like a snake cave, which is the best way to describe this area of the zoo. The cobra was hiding that time so we didn’t see it in action but we saw a snake that had just changed its skin.
Past the snake cave were the ostriches and this feisty one almost clucked out a lady that was trying to take a selfie with it. It’s not visible here but there was a crowd at the area in front of the Ostrich cages because it was opposite the famous Mali the Elephant that had come out of resting to bathe in his limelight.
Mali was the superstar and even extended his trunk a few times, did a few acrobatics with his foot on the ledge.
This tiger pup was trying to cool off with a quick bath and then went back to gnawing on a big chunk of bone. The two tigers were very playful in their cage and were wresting with each other and trying to be territorial with their tub. Some of us let out an ‘Aww’ when the other one gave in and let his brother have a dip and cool off as well.
This Japanese Macaque was so cute asking for junk food and was really quick in grabbing the food that was handed to him. The cages have signs that say, do not feed the animals so even though he enjoyed it, it would probably be a good idea not to feed him.
To cap the zoo visit off, we went back to the area beside Kinder zoo where there was a horse riding area. My daughter had been asking me to go horseback riding for months and I thought a quick road trip to Tagaytay would be in order for the holidays. Turns out we don’t need to travel to Tagaytay for horseback riding. For a fee of Php100, they have a mini track where you can ride the horse and go around twice- cowboy hats free of charge.
Before heading home, my daughter repeatedly told me how happy she was that we were able to be together at the zoo. It just goes to show, you don’t need much to make your kids happy. Your presence and some new experiences with nature will go a long way to making lasting memories.