The city of Kaohsiung hosts the largest zoo in southern Taiwan, Shou Shan Zoo. Found on the foot of Shou Shan Mountain (aka Chai Mountain) in Gushan District, Shou Shan Zoo regularly draws a number of visitors for its wide array of animals. If you love animals and zoos, make sure to drive your way to Shou Shan when in Kaohsiung. You will no doubt be delighted to see African elephants, Bengal tigers, Indian antelopes, Malaysian bears and lions, and Formosan black bears as well as other animals and plants from all over Africa, Asia, America and Australia. There are 60 species of mammals, about 150 species of freshwater fish, 500 species of birds, 30 amphibian species, 90 reptilian species, and 17,600 insect species. It is ideal for you to come here with your friends, family or children since Shou Shan Zoo is famous as a venue for wildlife preservation, research and education.
Shou Shan Mountain is southern Taiwan’s most popular peak. It is located on the western side of Kaohsiung to the north of the Kaohsiung Harbor. In the 17th Century, the ruling Dutch people called the mountain “Ape Hill” because it was teeming with monkeys. The monkeys are still there today, and still some people refer to the mountain as Monkey Mountain. Kaohsiung, on the other hand, is known as Taiwan’s Harbor Capital for the highly industrialized Kaohsiung port, which is at par with the best in the world. Kaohsiung port is considered the world’s sixth busiest port. The city is best known for its maritime trade and industry, but with natural resources as the Shou Shan Mountain and attractive parks as the Shou Shan Zoo, Kaohsiung’s tourism is fast catching up with Taipei’s.
Other leading attractions that you might want to check out within the city are the Love River, Lotus Lake, Sizih Bay, Cijin Island and Kaohsiung Fisherman’s Wharf. The local people’s friendliness and the joys of shopping and dining in the city also effectively pull in tourists.
There is no lack of visitors to Shou Shan Zoo, although it has been criticized for not taking care of its animals well. It may not be one of the best zoos in the world (definitely not in the same league with Singapore Zoo, Toronto Zoo or San Diego Zoo), but Shou Shan does regularly entertain group tourist programs and individual tours. It is open every day except Mondays and Chinese New Year’s Eve from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for an admission fee of NT$40. Children below 6 years old may come in for free.
To get to Shou Shan Zoo on board the MRT and by bus, take the Orange Line bound for Yanchengpu Station. Get off at Exit 4. Walk to your right all the way to Hua Nan Bank and take Bus No. 56. Get off at Shou Shan Zoo. If you decide to drive, take the Sun Yat-Sen Freeway to the Jiouru Interchange. At Jiouru 4th Rd, turn left to Hua-an Street and left again to Gushan 3rd Road. On Wanshou Road, you will pass by Yuanhang Temple and then to the zoo.