Monday, 3 November 2014

Taipei Zoo

I can't believe I've never posted about Taipei Zoo. Maybe it's because it's already famous; maybe it's because we see it from our living room every day; maybe it's because the idea of a zoo is becoming more and more morally ambiguous. Who knows? At the very end of the brown MRT line, Taipei Zoo is just one stop over the river for us. This page lists the many other transportation options for getting there.

Despite having reservations about zoos in general, I have to admit we've visited Taipei Zoo several times. While some of the enclosures aren't animal-friendly, the zoo is progressive compared to many in the region, and it's becoming more so over time. The site is huge, and it took use five or six visits before we managed to see everything.

Like so many attractions in Taiwan, the entrance fee at Taipei Zoo is very low - about NT$60 for adults and less for children. Local school children pay nothing. This alone makes the zoo a huge draw on weekends and in the holidays, but it's so big you can escape the crowds if you're prepared to walk a little further than everyone else.

Our most recent visit was on a Saturday, and the queues for tickets were huge. This was was surprising because if you have an Easycard you don't need to buy a ticket - you just swipe your card to enter. 

There's rarely a queue at the Easycard gate. 
It was close to Halloween, and it was inevitable that there would be some kind of acknowledgement of the holiday. A couple of years ago, we attended a Halloween evening, which was great fun. Currently, there's a Zoolloween exhibition running. A friend recommended it, but we were too tired to go in the end. However, we did see this interesting amalgamation of Halloween/Christmas themes. 
Two new areas had opened since we last visited: a beautiful pond area planted with giant waterlilies, which had quickly been colonised by local wildlife; and a large outdoor aviary, where tropical birds flew and roamed in comparative freedom.

Personally, I love the flowers at the zoo. There's always something blooming, no matter what time of year you visit. Every autumn and spring, the bushes are heavy with flowers. 

There's a 7-11 near the entrance, and one or two cafes. After that there are one or two more cafes along the busiest routes, but generally the zoo isn't heavy on squeezing money from visitors in the way some are. The toys in the gift shop at the top of the panda center are good quality and fairly cheap, so I often pop over to the zoo just to buy Christmas and birthday presents. 

The new baby panda is a huge attraction, and when you enter the zoo you're given a ticket showing the time you can go to see it. After the excitement of the new aviary and the heat of the day, we didn't want to hang around for our 5 o'clock panda appointment. As we were leaving we noticed a performance going on. But aching legs forced us home.


Sussikutty said...

I still didn't dare to visit the zoo as I didn't want to see sad looking animals. But as it sounds like it is quite ok I should maybe go and check it out next time I'm in Taipei. Especially if there is flowers around! :)

Jenny Green said...

Hi Sussikutty
Some of the enclosures are still depressing, such as some of the small wild cat pens, and the gorilla definitely looked sad, but I'd still say Taipei Zoo is ahead of the curve compared to many in the region. There's also a whole new section currently being built, and hopefully the zoo will continue to improve their facilities.