It's a safari park in Puncak. The animals are well treated and you are able to get close up to the Indonesian wildlife. It's a very good place to take children - mine are seven and five and it's a good day out.
You can have mixed feelings about zoos but I thought its animal welfare was similar to western zoos. I suggest you buy the bananas and carrots before you get to the park from the street vendors and maybe take the free safari bus.
Only 15 minutes away by car from the lovely seaside town of Granville in Normandy, the Champrépus zoo will keep you busy for at least half a day. I used to visit the park often as a child and went back last month while on a trip back home. Well, my last visit was probably 15 years ago and how surprised I was! If the zoo used to be a bit shabby, and the animals sad-looking, it has now become such a beautiful park with great gardens and hundreds of playful creatures. The giraffes are a must-see and the young ones will love the cute lemurs and the farm animals as you can get very close to them. The information boards are fun and translated in English and they even have an affordable restaurant with great local food such as delicious salted caramel desserts! I would definitely recommend the zoo if you are in the area, even if you don't have children and, like me, want to practise your photography skills!
Central Park in Manhattan and Prospect Park in Brooklyn both have small zoos, but the real NYC zoo in wayyy uptown in the Bronx. (And no, you won't get mugged if you visit.) The Bronx Zoo is the largest urban zoo in the U.S. with some 265 sprawling acres. Go on a sunny day when you can take in all the different indoor and outdoor exhibits. If you're up for it, you can ride a camel. There's also a monorail through the park if you're tired of walking. General admission is normally $16 for adults and $12 for children. But if you go on Wednesday, you can pay what you wish. The Bronx Zoo is open weekdays from 10-5 and until 5:30 on weekends. To get there, take the 2 or 5 trains to East Tremont Ave/West Farms Square. Rowr!
2300 Southern Blvd, Bronx, NY, United States
+1 718 220 5103
Google map: bit.ly/ojJNMD
* Amanda is our Been there local for New York. You can check out her page here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/articles/new-york-local-amanda-green.jsp and her own NYC blog here: www.noisiestpassenger.com/
The Toronto Islands are a chain of small islands, located a mere 15-minutes ferry ride from the city centre.
I love taking the ferry over on a hot summer day; the wind blowing in my face; the gentle rocking motion of the waves, the sounds of the birds, and the view of the islands in the distance, all offer a wonderful respite form the city. The islands are a great getaway.
The main island is home to the Centreville Amusement Park and a petting zoo. With over 600 acres of parkland, there are various rides and attractions for families with children. Also on Centre Island is the Franklin Children’s Garden, based on stories by Franklin the Turtle, it is an interactive garden where kids can participate in gardening and storytelling.
I like to head over to Ward’s and Algonquin Islands, where there are about 250 residential homes, all very different from each other. From the Victorian to the eclectic, with sizes ranging from estates to toolsheds, some of the homes are conservative, while others boast pink shutters with purple trim, brightly coloured doors, one even has flowers sprouting out of a toilet bowl on the front lawn.
And there’s Hanlan’s Point Beach, well-known to nudists in Toronto, where clothing is optional.
All of these islands are connected to the mainland by several ferry services.
Once on the islands, you can rent a bicycle or a canoe, take a leisurely walk through the
gardens, or even have a picnic.
This is a good all round family experience. They have lots of animals from around the world and tonnes of experiences to engage in.
Chester is a great place for any family to spend a day, or even a few days. It is easy to reach and there are many family activities in and around the city.
Chester Zoo is just five minutes drive from the city centre and makes for a great day out. It is one of the best zoo's I’ve visited in Europe with many large enclosures and a sky train that allows you to view many of the animals from a unique perspective. Tip: Arrive early - the zoo is pretty big and can easily fill the whole day to see everything.
Staying on the animal theme, the Blue Planet Aquarium is about 10 minutes drive from the city centre. This is one of the largest aquariums in the UK and has two amazing underwater tunnel experiences. This is a great idea for any ‘wet’ days as it is all inside!
The Aquarium is located along side the Cheshire Oaks retail park, with lots of restaurants and a huge cinema to keep you entertained well into the night. Tip: this is also a great place to get some credit-crunch retail therapy underway, with many designer brands and hugely discounted prices – stock up your summer wardrobe.
For a more historical day out, you can explore the roman side of Chester. You can take a walk around the original city walls, taking in many of the sights of the city and views across north Wales. Stop off at some of the small shops and restaurants on the two-mile round trip. There is also the cathedral, Roman amphitheatre and many historical buildings in the city centre, including the original two-level medieval high streets. If you looking for a more relaxing day, try a ‘Roman High-Tea’ cruise along the canals (pick up the boat from next to the Mill Hotel). Tip: you can get a great (free) map from the city tourist office in the centre of town which highlights many of the historical buildings in the city and walking routes to take.
For a more relaxed day you should head down the small hill to the banks of the river Dee (also on the wall walk), where you can sit in riverside pubs and cafes enjoying the views, or take a relaxing river cruise on one of the river boats.
Upton-by-Chester, Chester, CH2 1LH
Google map: bit.ly/dQCALy
Blue Planet Aquarium
Longlooms Road, Ellesmere Port CH65 9LF
+44(0)151 357 8804
Google map: bit.ly/h1Rheh
Blackpool is not just the Tower, Pleasure Beach and Golden Mile. Inland it is home to the large Stanley Park which, with the neighbouring attractions, can provide plenty of variety for a family day out without getting sand in your sandwiches! The park itself has a large boating lake, children’s playground, cafe along with the usual amenities that you would find in any good park. The bonus here is the park’s neighbours: the model village and the zoo. The model village has a large variety of models, depicting a variety of scenes from all over Britain. The zoo is the real highlight – not just being home to a wide range of animals in attractive enclosure – but visitors can also explore the world of prehistoric creatures on a dinosaur safari.
In a city that may not seem to be the most obvious family-friendly destination, Prague's zoo is a welcome respite from the obligatory historical and cultural sightseeing for visitors with young children.It houses animals from all over the world, including big cats, gorillas and elephants, and there is also a children's zoo and play area for the little ones. If you still have the time and energy to spare, check out the splendid Troja castle and gardens over the road.
Well worth a trip out of the city centre.
U Trojského zámku 3/120,
171 00 Praha 7.
(+420) 296 112 230
Take bus 112 from Nádraží Holešvice metro station.
Located between Narbonne and Perpignan, in the heart of French Catalonia, hides this outstanding African Safari Park. The promotional material is naff, and it is approached via an unpromising dusty side road, but once inside the African adventure begins immediately (directly above where we parked our car there were pelicans nesting). The park is split into two sections, the first to explore on foot, where the favourites were elephants, chimpanzees, giraffes, and alligators. Some seen up close, and others through use of telescopes dotted around the park, as the size of some enclosures are vast. The second, and potentially more exciting section is the series of enclosures accessed by car. Rhinos, zebra, bears, and the stars of the show, the lions, can be seen up close and (almost too) personal. Beware of the ostriches! The whole family agreed that this was the best day of the holiday last summer.
It is wonderful to have such a beautiful zoo so close to the city centre. The facilities for the animals is great and you don't get that depressed feeling you often get when visiting zoos. A cable car ride takes you up to the hill which provides the setting for the lion and tiger enclosures and also gives you great views over Pretoria. A few historic monuments are also scattered throughout the gardens. Outside is a small African craft market. A great way to spend a day with kids.
Even though locals refer to it as Jersey Zoo, this is a misnomer. They basically breed endangered animals in the wild and return them to captivity. I could have watched the monkeys and gorillas all day!
If you have a couple of hours to spare one evening after a hard day of conferencing why not visit the world's first Night Safari at Singapore Zoo? You get to explore wildlife in a tropical jungle at night! And in case you're thinking zoo=bad, think again. Singapore Zoo is a model of the 'open zoo' concept. The animals are kept in spacious, landscaped enclosures, separated from the visitors by dry or wet moats. It's magical.
Open 7.30pm till midnight with last admissions at 11pm. Hop on a bus or take a taxi - 30 mins from city centre.
If you're visiting Toulon, don't miss a visit to Mt Faron. Take the bus to the departure point, then you get up the mountain by means of an exhilarating, if slightly terrifying, cable car ride - the highest cable car I'd ever travelled in, it felt like being in an aircraft!
Once up the top, there's miles and miles of wooded paths to explore, a military museum, spectacular views across Toulon and out to sea, a few cafes, and a weird zoo, which I'd probably give a miss next time. We stupidly went in the middle of the day so most of the animals were asleep (either that or they'd been replaced with stuffed toys), so it might be better in the mornings, but it wasn't anything to write home about.
The walks around the top of the mountain were great though, highly recommended!
You can buy combination bus/cable car tickets from the tourist office on the waterfront in the centre of town. These are cheaper than paying for the bus and cable car separately, and the bus stop is just a few hundred yards from the tourist office.
Newly opened zoo which tries hard to present itself as ecologically sound and involved in saving species. It's a taxi ride away in the west of Valencia. Children will love being really close to the animals - and it will be even better once the monkeys are there. Rather pricey at € 20/adult.
Take a taxi which will cost under €10.
I visited the biggest oceanarium in the world. You don't need to love fishing or a nature-freak to enjoy this. It is a great experience. There are four biotypes, each recreating one of the world’s coastal habitats. They're located in the four corner towers which encircle the central aquarium.
Together they constitute a representative set of ocean environments. And I will never forget how cute a baby sea otter can be.
Esplanada D.Carlos I
Rome's zoo is being gradually improved and has been renamed the Bioparco. A greater emphasis is now being placed on its ecological and environmental credentials. I visited it on a Wednesday afternoon. Apart from three Russians who asked me for directions to the exit, I was the only visitor. I think the animals were glad to see me. If you like wolves there are lots here. Very wolfish and sleek. Apart from its intrinsic merits, it's one of the few places in Rome where you can get away from the crowds.
Viale del Giardino Zoologico. Trams 3 and 19, plus a short walk.
Haven for injured and abandoned Koalas. Great place to see koalas and to experience their unique pong.
Friendly and well informed staff will be happy to tell you all you need to know. Great family day out a few minutes from Brisbane.
On the mainland, Pattaya offers a range of amusement parks, gardens, and theme parks. Nong Nooch Tropical Gardens although recently scandalised by the Beeb for their treatment of elephants is worth a visit, just don’t support the elephant rides. Elephant village is similarly not to be supported.
Pattaya Park is a Water World amusement park that offers all the usual water rides plus a revolving restaurant and some hair-raising ways of getting up there and back down.
Mini Siam is a miniature tour of Thailand - full of busloads of tourists with a MacDonald’s at the entrance.
Million year-old Stone Park has beautiful gardens - feed the 5ft long catfish! And cringe at the abysmal treatment of tigers and crocodiles.
Further afield is Sri Racha tiger Zoo (to be avoided at all costs), and Kao Keow Open Zoo, a refreshing change from the usual callous way animals are treated in Thailand. There is also the Water World Aquarium on Sukumvit Rd. Any hotel or travel shop will arrange to take you there.
We like to go to Colchester Zoo. We really love the baby elephants. It's a nice zoo because the enclosures are bigger than other zoos. Feeding the elephants is fun; they like to eat carrots and apples. There are lots of breeds of animals like leopards, monkeys and zeedonks. There is a playground with a cool climbing frame. We like to take a picnic which we share with our cousins George and Lucas.
From Robin Odell (age 9) and Lucy Odell (age 6).
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