I grew up in the city/suburbs, so I tend to get too excited by nature. This means, I flip out when I see birds other than sparrows and pigeons, trees bearing fruits, animals that aren't dogs or cats, mushrooms on the ground, fish in a natural body of water... You get the idea.
Now, I've been wanting to take the kids to the zoo. The last time we went was on my eldest child's second birthday, and it was a small, mini mall-kind of zoo. I don't even know what I mean, but it was more of a building with exhibits. Anyway, you can read about that experience here.
That was eight years and two more kids ago. We'd actually gone to a place called Paradizoo in Tagaytay a few months later, but that mostly had farm animals, plus some camels and llamas. Our family was ripe for another trip to the zoo, so my husband and I decided that we should do it as part of our youngest child's second birthday celebration.
We were really stumped for a long time as to what we would do because Sawyer's very suspicious of new places and gets overwhelmed by crowds. However, when we were driving around the neighborhood one time, we came across a neighbor's chicken and turkey run. S was so delighted to see the birds, so my husband and I agreed that a trip to the zoo made sense.
We chose Avilon Zoo in Montalban (honestly, who calls it Rodriguez?). It was the nearest, we believed. The other choices were Manila Zoo and Malabon Zoo, and they were just too far. (We might give them a whirl later this year, and then I'll do a comparative post on my other blog.)
As far as Avilon Zoo is concerned, however, I liked it just fine. We went on a Saturday afternoon, so there weren't many people. I imagine there would usually be school children on field trips during the week.
I wish we'd started out earlier because it probably takes an entire day to properly enjoy the place. We explored as much as we could, but it felt a little rushed.
I thought it was just a small zoo, but there were really a lot to see. There were many different kinds of lizards, birds, rodents, big cats, farm animals, apes, crocodiles, etc.
You can't help but feel sad that the animals aren't free in the wild, but you can also appreciate that you probably will never get the chance to see many of them in their natural habitat, especially if it would entail going on an African safari.
The conditions weren't quite up to the standards of world-class zoos, but you can tell that management is doing what it can to keep the animals healthy, clean, and comfortable. There are many areas for improvement, of course, but I don't want to focus on them.
I think most of the zoo is wheelchair/stroller-ready, except maybe for the area where the crocodiles are. You should definitely wear comfortable shoes as there would be a lot of walking, some of it, uphill.
I wouldn't mind going back. The kids had a lot of fun, although the boys were a little freaked out in the beginning. Marguerite's favorite was the bunnies (there was a petting area where you could touch, but not hold, bunnies and guinea pigs); Cameron's, the ducks, geese, and swans roaming around, plus the giraffes; and Sawyer's - well, he was happy to see everything, but I think he was most interested in the farm animals (Old McDonald, you know).
You can find out more information on the zoo's exhibits and other features, as well as its rates, here.
This is my favorite, lol. Can you spot the squirrel? Some of the animals, like I said, were loose and free to roam around.