The Philippines is home to a number of animal and plant species that are unique in the world. It is a tropical archipelago that is made up of 7,107 islands. In an effort to showcase the vast and beautiful array of Philippine animal and plant life, the Manila Zoological and Botanical Garden was established in 1959 in the heart of Manila’s tourist belt. Simply referred to by locals as Manila Zoo, it is one of the oldest zoos in Asia and one of the most popular places to visit while in Manila.
Although the Manila Zoo has improved through the years, much is still desired when it comes to cleanliness, orderliness, and care of animals. Many of the animals are obviously not fed well and the zoo has been receiving so many criticisms and very bad reviews. And yet, according to Manila Zoo’s records, millions of tourists, both local and foreign, come to see the animals every year. There were 800 animals from about 100 species, 500 varieties of birds and 100 reptiles in the 5.5-hectare-wide Manila Zoo as of 2007.
Visit Manila Zoo for the following reasons. Picnic areas, an assortment of butterflies and birds flying freely there about, boating experience in a lagoon that is home to a good number of fishes, open-air theater for pets shows, plant collections featuring plants from around the Philippines and the Pacific, children’s zoo (for an addition fee), playground and of course there can’t be a zoo without animals. The Manila Zoo has a serpent eagle, turtle red card slider, zebra, Bengal tiger, iguana, rainbow lory, rufous hornbill, and animal species that are unique in the archipelago such as the Palawan pheasant, Philippine crocodile, Philippine deer, Philippine owl, the Tamaraw (water buffalo), and the rare mouse deer, which is the smallest deer in the world. Manila Zoo may not be the best zoo but you can’t see these rare animals elsewhere in the world. The stars of the show are Mali, an Asian elephant and Sisi, the Orangutan.
Come to Manila Zoo for your children. Animals and zoos are always a hit for children. Your children would love to visit here, but adults may not exactly appreciate seeing the pieces of trash scattered all around, as well as the skinny and unwashed animals. For the convenience of guests, there are at least some canteens, guided tours, souvenir shops, photo services, interactive lectures and adequate parking.
Located at Quirino Avenue along Adriatico St., Manila, the Manila Zoological and Botanical Garden is near other tourist destinations, such as the Malate Church and Roxas Boulevard. The zoo is accessible by taxi, the Metrorail and jeepneys coming from different points in metro Manila. Admission fee is Php40 (USD0.90) for adults and Php20 (USD0.45) for children below 4 feet.
Despite its shortcomings, the Manila Zoological and Botanical Gardens is a nice place to visit for the whole family. It is certainly educational, entertaining, and accessible. When in Manila, come visit the Manila Zoo, but don’t expect to see the most beautiful zoo in Asia. It is hoped that the City of Manila would soon look into the cleanliness and care of its animals since thousands of visitors come to the zoo every year.