We we planned to take an afternoon train out of Beijing, we knew we needed a good morning excursion. The Beijing Zoo was the perfect solution.
I'm not a big zoo person, even having visited the San Diego Zoo in 2004. I hate thinking how much happier the animals would be in the wild. Containment aside, I really enjoyed the Beijing Zoo. It was a beautiful park with lots of vegetation, lakes, and walkways.
I was not expecting it to be so large either. There were so many different animal exhibits! Here's a sample list of animals that we saw, in case you're really wondering:
monkey. pheasant. porcupine. wolf. panther. lynx. tiger. lion. polar bear. black bear. brown bear. panda. elephant. rhino. hippopotamus. giraffe. kangaroo. emu. zebra.
That's all I can remember off the top of my head, but it's been a couple weeks. Most of those had multiple breeds too (two types of rhinos, two types of elephants).
Did you hear recently on the news about the zoo in China that tried to pass a mastiff as a lion? If not, here's the NPR article. I admit that I was hoping for a dog-to-cat story, but the Beijing Zoo accurately represented all their animals.
The monkey exhibit pictured above was probably my favorite exhibit. There were lots of babies, and they were all jumping, climbing and swinging about. Absolutely adorable and entertaining!
One crazy different thing about the Beijing zoo versus zoos in the states is how close you can get to the animals. The porcupine habitat was open on top, where we could have thrown stuff in there. People were tossing food to the bear in the bear pit, hence the bear staring up at its onlookers. Several people fed the zebras, and Zane and Angela even pet them:
It was a great morning and could have easily been an entire day trip, all for roughly $3.33 per person! Plus, there's an aquarium next door, which we didn't have time to explore.
Travel Tips and Take-aways:
- Wear your walking shoes, because it's big, and there's no tram.
- If you have little ones, bring the stroller. There were some stairs, but it was mostly stroller-friendly.
- If you're western, be ready for people to take pictures of you. There were several times we were photographing animals while other patrons were photographing us. That's just normal for a westerner in China, though.
I don't know about food for lunch, because we ate across the street at a McDonalds, but I know you can get this:
What more could you want?