The town of Ayer Keroh is home to an important facility in the state of Malacca, the Melaka Zoo. As the second largest zoo in Malaysia, it is home to 1,200 animals of 215 species. (The largest is Zoo Negara, the National Museum in Ulu Klang, Kuala Lumpur.) Melaka Zoo is the main zoological park in the entire state, which is why it is regularly visited by a horde of tourists, both local and foreign, and especially children. As part of the “Visit Malaysia” campaign that was launched in 2007, the zoo made a record number of visitors in one year – 619,194 visitors to be exact.
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Malacca or Melaca in Malaysia is blessed with so many historic sites and natural resources. A zoo is like icing on the cake. Malacca Zoo, together with Zoo Negara, opened to the public in 1963. In 1979, the Department of Wildlife and National Parks of Malaysia took over the management of the zoo, and, thankfully, improved the operations and services. The zoo then underwent another change and achieved a new milestone on August 13, 1987 as it was converted as a wildlife rescue center, with the blessings of former Malaysian Prime Minister, Dr. Mahathir Mohammad. Today, it has grown and expanded into a large zoo with a good number of animals, mammals, insects, amphibians, and birds.
Some of its leading attractions are the rare and beautiful Asian elephant, white rhinoceros, red panda, squirrel monkey, Malaysian gaur, the Molurus python, grey wolf, Mongolian wild horse, Green python, blue and yellow macaw, Indochinese tiger, Malayan tiger, and the critically endangered Sumatran rhinoceros, which made its first appearance in a zoo here in Melaka Zoo.
Besides these amazing animals, the zoo also boasts of a rich, healthy and cool green atmosphere throughout the entire park with its rich collection of exotic and rare plants. The thick foliage is an attempt to mimic the rainforest so that the animals would feel a sense of the wild. Also, the greens could help cool the place on very hot days. Inside the zoo, also, are food stalls to keep the guests comfortable and entertained. There are also a cafeteria, restaurant, mini safari, elephant show, souvenir shop, horse rides, multi-animal shows, and a night zoo.
No doubt, today, Melaka Zoo is a leading attraction not only in the state of Malacca but also the whole of Malaysia. Although there are already so many tourist attractions in Malacca, travelers make sure to visit the zoo, especially when accompanied by children. According to zoo records, about 1,619 people come to the zoo every day. In that record year when the zoo hosted 619,194 guests, the zoo raked in RM 3.99 million or USD 887,000. Surprisingly, tickets are very cheap at only RM 2.00.
Melaka Zoo is located in Ayer Keroh Town near the entrance to Melaka. When in Malaysia, make sure to visit this world-class zoological park. It is only about 13 kilometers from the city of Malacca. Two nearby attractions are the Ayer Keroh Crocodile Farm and International Trade Center.