As a lover of both animals and boats, I've often imagined myself traveling 3,000 or so years back in history to Noah's Ark, where I could spend my days feeding and watching all sorts of animals aboard that enormous floating zoo for China vacation deals. Now, I live in Beijing which is no boater's paradise, but it has an awesome zoo where, if I don't mind paying a little extra, I can even feed some of the animals.
After my family returned home from this week's zoo visit, I decided to surf around and see what people on the net were saying about the Beijing zoo. There were positive comments about some animals and?the park-like environment, but I was surprised to see so much criticism. Let me reiterate, I'm an avid lover of animals and I loathe any kind of abuse. I cringe when I see live chickens in the market stuffed into tiny cages. But what I see in the Beijing Zoo is anything but abusive.
Frankly, the animals in the zoo are better fed than many people in the world. My kids were amazed to see plates of fresh cut fruit and vegetables being carried to the monkeys and birds. Pelicans wade through more fresh fish than they could ever eat in a day.? The extra fee to enter the “kids' zoo” area includes a handful of fresh greens to feed the geese and peacocks (pictured at left).? Ponies weren't even interested in the wad of lettuce in my daughter's hand because their feeder was already filled with hay. I don't know which gives me the most delight for my best tours of China; seeing the smile on my kids' faces when they feed their little friends, or watching the animals enjoy the feast.
Some of the more favorable online comments applauded the zoo for its environment as a beautiful park. I agree. We used to live within walking distance of the zoo. In those days we always bought annual passes. Taking our kids there just like taking them to any park in town. Although kids never tire of watching animals, we made some of our most precious memories just relaxing and playing in the remote wooded areas of the zoo. With our pass, the zoo was no longer a novelty, but more of a back yard to enjoy as often as we liked. We no longer live in the neighborhood of the zoo, so we don't have the annual pass, but the entrance fee is about the same as some public parks, so even if we weren't animal lovers it would be worth the visit.
The zoo also makes a great photo studio. There are lots of great backgrounds for family, couple or individual photos, like the picture on the right of my kids in front of a waterfall.
Beijing Zoo – A Family Favorite