My husband loves animals in a way that is very dissimilar to mine, if there’s any left of that kind of love in me. I was surprised to discover that when we got married, because really, how on earth could anyone watch Natgeo Wild, or Natgeo all day long and remember all those little trivia about a certain species of animal? Just the other day I had to listen to his ‘story’ about orca, coming from the documentary he downloaded and watched… alone, of course.
Because of his weird interest, naturally Zoo Negara is a place he likes to visit. But he has refused to visit much sooner, and only recently I managed to get him to agree to make the trip. Isa is already three (and worryingly shows lack of interest in animals and nature for that matter) and we just can’t afford to wait for Khadijah to grow up to make it the most perfect time to visit the zoo. She’s shown her aptitude for going out and behaving nicely so why not now before our classes begin?
In case you are not aware, as Zoo Negara receives two pandas from China on a loan – so if you’d like to see them (for 20 minutes only) you may pay an extra RM22 for adult and RM11 for children on top of the usual fee, which is RM32 per adult and RM11 per child. We opted out of seeing the pandas, partly because I have no interest whatsoever in them, and my husband can be quite calculative himself despite his interest (“RM 22 for 20 minutes? That’s like RM 1 per minute, so no way!”).
And now I can say that lucky we didn’t pay that much, because kids will always, always be kids. Khadijah became really sleepy after half an hour being in the zoo and later slept peacefully in her stroller, and Isa just could not be bothered with the animals after the first few. By the time we reached the safari he’s already crying for milk. We purposely didn’t bring his bottle with us thinking that he’d enjoy seeing the animals much that he’d forget the bottle – but that didn’t happen apparently.
Because we the stroller was still occupied by his sleeping sister, my husband had to carry Isa on his back for some times – which was a better option that dragging him around. And just as a note for the future Isa who may be reading this: you cried and refused to see the tiger, fearing that it may eat you alive.
Overall, I think the Zoo has improved a lot since I last visited it 6 years ago. It is definitely children-friendly, with the trams ready for you should you just lose your legs and energy along the way. We paid RM3/person for a half-way trip back to the entrance, and I’d say the ride, despite it being quite short, was worth it given at our condition that time: a preschooler throwing tantrum, and a baby who just woke up and refused to stay quiet in the stroller.
- Bring your own food and have a little picnic. There are many nicely placed benches overlooking the animals. We had our brunch next to the monkeys, for your info. Nice view nevertheless.
- The animal show was not that impressive, at least compared to the one we saw at Zoo Melaka (Malacca Zoo) a couple of years back.
- The Zoo photographers may usher you to the photo booth and snap some photos of you. We had ours printed before we left. We paid RM30 for the photo – the price for the one and only decent family photo so far.
- Go early if you must. The zoo opens at 9 AM, and it is just the right time to be there. We had our meals, saw perhaps a quarter of the zoo, before relaxing a bit while watching the animal show at 11 AM. Plan your visit wisely.
- The zoo also offers annual membership for children at the price of RM30/year. It is tempting for me to make a project for Isa based on that, but since the accompanying adult must pay the full price…I’ll pass. Even if the Zoo is less than 20 minutes away from my house.
- There’s no more KFC within the zoo area. Yes, that iconic KFC is gone.