I make it a point to visit the major zoo in every country that I visit. Last year when I was in New Zealand, we wanted to visit the zoo there but was dissuade by our host who told us that no zoo can compare with our Singapore Zoo. But still I wanted to go not to compare the zoos but to see some of the species that are not available in the Singapore Zoo.
So this recent trip to Beijing, we dutifully made a trip to the Beijing Zoo. The hope was to see some more unique animals like the Siberian Tiger and hopefully some other. The zoo had no website or at least one that I can find and the reviews on Trip Advisor was rather bad and so I went with quite a low expectation. It didn’t help that it was drizzling and yet the place was packed. Admission price was rather cheap at only RMB20 which also include admission to the Panda House.
With the rain pouring down, it was a miserable day for not just the visitors but also the animals. Here a poor fox huddled in one corner of its glass enclosure.
To avoid the rain, we skipped most of the open exhibits and walked only at those that had some shelters but these were mainly the smaller cage housing birds and small mammals and most of which were hiding indoor.
We then decided to head straight to the aquarium since that has to be indoor and away from the rain. We got a shock when we realize upon reaching the aquarium that there was a separate admission charge and at RMB150 – almost 10 times the admission price of the zoo! And yet it was crowded. We beat a hasty retreat and settle for a lousy lunch but it was still raining after lunch. The rest of the group decided to skip the aquarium but M & me decided to go in since we were there already.
There wasn’t anything much to see. The first part of the aquarium remind me of our old Van Kleef Aquarium with its small tank display of freshwater fish. The usual “giant” fish tank with all the sea water fish such as sharks, rays and bigger ocean going fish were not really that big and spectacular. But the aquarium boast of having Belugas and dolphins, of which the former was something I have never see even on tv.
But sadly the 2 Beluga looks very stressed and pitiful. Throughout the time we were looking at it, they were almost always in an upright position. The aquarium also had 2 dolphins, housed separately in 2 teeny weeny little square tanks. One dolphin was swimming violently round and round and the other was just stationery in an upright position. The other “highlight” was the Chinese Sturgeon. Other than that, there was the usual fish and many many jelly fish.
Back out at the zoo, it was still raining and so we did a quick walk through. Unique animals spotted was the Snub Nosed Monkey,
And of course the Panda.
Overall, the place was a big disappointment. Not only were the animals housed in small enclosures despite the big sprawling site, the enclosures were badly maintained and mostly barren. And information provided were misleading. At the elephant enclosure, the display picture was of an African elephant but all the elephants were actually Asiatic elephants. And because of the rain, we didn’t manage to see the Bison, the Gorilla and Siberian Tiger. The only tiger on display was the more common White Indo China Tiger.
The saving grace for the trip was some beautiful birds in fairly large enclosures and there was a mini walk in shore bird aviary.
Would I go there again? Definitely not. Would I recommend it as a place to visit when in Beijing? I think there are better place to go than this unless one really has nothing else left to do.