Written by Shirley T
Saturday, 28 April 2012 00:00
Review of Taiping Zoo For family with young kids that live in Penang and the northern states of Peninsular Malaysia, Taiping Zoo is one of the best places for an outing. With north-south highway, these northern townies are connected to Taiping conveniently, within reach in merely a couple hours.
Nestled on the ground of former mining ponds or popularly known as Taiping Lake Gardens, Taiping Zoo is truly unique and charming. Recent upgraded of Taiping Zoo brought to us a few major improvement includes Night Safari and the ride of train that is inclusive in the admission fee (RM10 for an adult with myKad).
Taiping Zoo will serve better if...If you had visited both Zoo Negara and Singapore Zoo, Taiping Zoo is neither closed speaking of size nor the facilities, activities and animal shows inside the zoo. If you're looking for a full day outing inside a zoo, Singapore Zoo is perhaps a better choice while Zoo Negara may keep your children occupied for at least 4-5 hours or longer. Compare to the former two zoos, the following describes the limitation of Zoo Taiping or rooms for improvement:
Food - Aside from the stores with light refreshments and ice-creams, do not expect a decent restaurant to unwind inside the zoo. Yes, they do have better options outside but there is no animals!! Thus, most people only spend 2-3 hours averagely inside the zoo particularly those who take their children along.
Bathrooms/Toilets - Without much options, they do not offer decent toilet at your convenience along the loop. The 'best' is located at the central recreational area near children's playground. Perhaps they don't expect you to excrete that much since you'd be sweating while walking under blazing hot sun .
Pit-stops - there are a handful of small huts or 'train' stops for visitors to take a breath but they are shabby, or better describes as 'passionless maintenance'.
Map of Taiping Zoo - they expect you to print out from their official website. With an increased of admission fee, we were hoping at least a piece of hard copy map is distributed for each family. For eco-friendly sake, we can return the map to the ticketing booth during checking out. Alas neither it is given to visitors nor any 'map' or illustrated image of the site is planted on the ground to assist our wilderness adventures. Yes, they do have 'arrows' with signposts but those are not good enough to elaborate the zoo as a whole. With a map, the visitors may quickly find out the animals of their interest rather than spending hours hunting!
Mini train/tram - sad but true, the trains are not eco-friendly. Fueled on gas or diesel, most trains are passing thick and stinky smoke when they are moving. Since these trains run on the same tracks or paved loop where the pedestrian walks, the zoo should consider better alternatives such as electric operated train like what the mini trains at Penang Botanical Garden.
Putting aside the downside, Taiping Zoo is still a great park to introduce animals to children instead of flashing pictures or screening images on TV. Nothing beats seeing through your own eyes! Reasonably sized, the zoo is compact with all kind of animal friends from birds, reptiles, fish to mammals includes deer, pig, lions, zebra, giraffe, tiger, bear, orang utan, chimpanzee, monkey and elephant. Perfect for a few hours outing on a weekend if that's what you are looking for!
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