Saturday, September 20, 2008

Interactive Zoo Experience

Our first excursion today was to visit the zoo in Mismaloya south of Puerto Vallarta. It was definitely the most interactive zoo experience we have ever had and we have visited lots of zoos!

Finding the Zoo
Anytime we set out to a new destination In Mexico, we assume the logistics will not be straight forward. Today was no exception. We wound around small cobblestone streets and winding mountain roads. Upon arrival - my first question was "is it open?" There were 3 (yes 3) cars in parking lot. It was open.

Food Bags

As you pay to get in, you have the option of purchasing a food bag for the animals. It has carrots, peanuts, cookies, pellets and corn. The bag is printed with lists in Spanish and English on what to feed to each kind of animal. It was $400 pesos ($40 USD) for admission for 2 adults/2 kids and 2 food bags. Kids are already thrilled at the mere thought of dispersing all this food.


As you may have surmised, the distance to the animals is a bit more relaxed if you are able to hand feed them. I would not call it dangerous but Husband and I kept close tabs on boys and the animals. It was really fun to approach the animals and then find the right food - educational too. I got a bit nervous about the grey wolves that had the shoulder height wall that you could peer right over to see them right there (there is no zoom on this iPhone shot)! The kids fed goats, lamas, fish, geese, camels, bears, monkeys, birds, rabbits and the list really goes on - see the list on bag!

One particular primate gave quite a fright. Oldest Son was easing a peanut to him when he jumped at cage, screeched and showed a mouth full of sharp teeth. I screamed, Oldest Son screamed. We moved on quickly and got a good laugh afterwards.

Lion Cub
The highlight of the day was the 6 week old lion cub the kids got to hold, pet and feed. As Youngest Son frolicked around with her, the little cub nipped him on the bottom! It was interesting that they had a puppy with the lion cub to keep her company.

The zoo was at the foot of the Jalisco mountains and just beautiful. The zoo is undergoing a multi-year development initiative that will make this a world class destination someday. The conditions are great for some animals and not for others but overall it seemed like a humane and wonderful place. They have been able to breed quite a few animals including species in danger of extinction. We will definitely be back again during this 1 year adventure.

Next post - the rest of our day ...


Theresa in Mèrida said...

I love zoos, this one just seems incrediable. Was it 400 pesos total for everyone or 400 each to get in and get animal food?
We have a nice little zoo in Merida,it's free admission but it doesn't compare to yours at all.
The lion cub was precious, and I cracked up about the monkey scaring oldest son.

American Mommy in Mexico said...

T - if you are ever this way it is definitely a unique zoo! The admission was for all 4 of us and 2bags of food. Playing with the lion cub cost an extra 100 pesos per kid.

Theresa in Mèrida said...

American Mommy, our plan is to travel around the Republic, and this is definitely on my list. The San Diego Zoo is $34 usd per adult and $24 per child admission.So 2 adults and 3 boys would have been about $100 usd more. I can't imagine how much more you would spend once you got inside the San Diego zoo.

CancunCanuck said...

Sounds like a great day! The lion cub experience must have been amazing, I'm envious! Looks like a great zoo, glad you had fun with la familia, that's what it's all about. :)

Vamanos said...

My girls would LOVE this - the lion cub is amazing. We hit the Merida zoo at least a couple times a week because it is free to see the animals. The train ride around the zoo is ONE PESO!!!

American Mommy in Mexico said...

C & V - Zoos are so fun wherever you may be. Free is nice!