If you’re sitting at home rummaging through the internet and racking your brain to look for places to visit on a weekend with your little one, this is like fate extending a hand to you with a list of zoological parks you can land up at. India has been sheltering hundreds of wild animal species since time immemorial, and some of them are housed in these zoos that you don’t want to miss. Cognizant of the fact that watching television at home is detrimental, we would suggest all parents to take their little ones to a zoo for an elevated experience and knowledge of animal species that they can never learn through textbooks.
1. Mysore Zoo
Officially called the Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens, Mysore Zoo is one of the oldest and the largest zoos in India and has provided a home to hundreds of wild and ferocious animals. Located 145 kms away from Oklipuram in Bangalore, it is known for its spaciousness, cleanliness and large enclaves built for the exotic animals like elephants, zebras, lions, green anacondas, rhinoceroses and baboons. The zoo oozes greenery from every pore which will give you and your kids a wonderful sight-seeing experience. The Karanji Lake which is located on the eastern side of the zoo is another spot which will allure your children into coming back. The largest walk-through aviary surrounds the zoo. You can sit back and laze around the lake after a long walk through the park. The best time to visit is during morning hours when you’ll hear all the birds chirruping and animals ambling around. Mysore Zoo Timings are 8:30AM–5:30PM and it is closed on Tuesdays.
2. Nandakanan Zoological Park
Nandakanan, literally meaning The Garden of Heavens, is a zoo and a botanical garden located in the capital of Odisha around six km away from the Bhubaneswar-New Railway Station. It’s a heaven of nature and an abode for the Indian rock python, white tiger, Indian pangolin, crocodiles, Asiatic lion, etc. The zoo has 34 large aquaria which shelter numerous fresh water fish for your kids’ never-ending love for the gilled species. Owing to the flora, it consists of the largest orchid house in Bhubaneswar spread over 5,000 square feet with an immense amount of colour and beauty packed into a house which will leave you swirling around the room full of flowers.
3. Arignar Anna Zoological Park
Do you want to find yourself wandering amidst flora and fauna and enjoy life in the most relaxed way with your kids? Arignar Anna Zoological Park, also known as Vandalur Zoo is the ideal place located in Vandalur, a suburb in the southwestern part of Chennai about 31 km away from the city center and 15 km from the Chennai Airport. It is the largest zoo in terms of area covered and is filled with nature’s wonders from sanctuary aviaries and walk-through aviaries to butterfly houses, crocodile enclaves and an aquarium surrounded by a pond. Other facilities include treks inside the campus, a snack bar for munching during long walks and an elephant safari in which you get to tour around the zoo on the back of an elephant with an aerial view. Stop by this zoo to while away time in the lap of nature with your kids.
4. Nehru Zoological Park
Located at a distance of 16 km from the city of Hyderabad, Nehru Zoological Park is one of the most visited places in Hyderabad because of the vibrant greenery it contains. Around 100 species of birds, animals and reptiles are sheltered in this zoo-like the Indian rhino, Asiatic lion, Bengal tiger, panther, Indian elephant, etc. You can also relax, take a walk or have a picnic with your kids in the long stretching lawns amidst the zoo. Other facilities that’ll grasp your attention are the multiple safari trips throughout the park, educational shows, feeding sessions, a natural history museum, food court and a train ride that runs through the park to give you a cursory view of the park to make your kids hop with joy.
5. Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park
Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park, also called the Darjeeling Zoo, is not just another zoo you visit in the other cities. It’s the largest high altitude zoo in India located in the town of Darjeeling, West Bengal adjacent to a Buddhist temple. In the rocky and mountainous surroundings, this zoo is the perfect one to visit with your little ones and will leave you stunned with its utmost beauty. You will see people sliding down the sprawling roads scattered in all directions amidst the inclined gardens and Himalayan animals like Tibetan wolf, Red panda, snow leopard, Siberian tigers, Yaks, Himalayan black bear and some more. It also includes a variety of flora in natural environmental settings. You can’t miss spotting one of the rarest species in a place where the air is crisp, and the weather is cold.
6. Gopalpur Zoo
Gopalpur Zoo is another mountainous zoo located in the district of Kangra in Himachal Pradesh and is a much-preferred travel destination for your kids. Giving you an authentic insight to the natural habitat of Himalayan animals, it’ll also serve you with a refreshing view and a breath-taking experience. It’s surrounded by the Dhauladhar range of Himalayas capped with snow which acts as another scenic beauty while you take a calm leisurely walk in the park. The animals include the Himalayan black bear, Asiatic lion, red fox, leopards, musk deer and so on. The best time to visit this zoo are the months of autumn when flora and fauna are in their best condition.
7. Gulabh Bagh and Zoo
Gulabh Bagh Zoo is located in the largest garden called Gulabh Bagh in Udaipur, Rajasthan and tacit to the name it has a variety of well-maintained roses. The mini zoo within the garden is a short walk away from the rose gardens. A very few number of species of animals are housed in this zoo including the wide-eyed owls and has enough places to visit within the vicinity like the toy train which is open to the kids and the adults. There is an enormous artificial water body called Kamal Talai which adds to the palace like beauty of the Garden and a Navlakha Mahal, a religious place for parents to visit.
8. Chattbir Zoo
Chattbir Zoo, formally known as Mahendra Chaudhary Zoological Park, is located close to Zirakpur 17 km away from Chandigarh, Punjab and is an abode to varsities of wild animals and birds from the Royal Bengal Tiger and Asiatic lions to peacocks and bats in an extensive area. It is an ideal place for a picnic with a water body within the park which will make you experience tranquillity at the very best. The lion safari for the visitors is another facility that the zoo provides to gratify your zoo experience.
9. Pt. G.B Pant High Altitude Zoo
Pt. G.B Pant High Altitude Zoo is a high altitude zoo situated in Nainital, Uttrakhand. It’s the only zoo in the state located on the ‘Sher ka Danda Hill’ at the height of 6,900 ft above the sea level giving the visitors a splendid view from the top while walking on steep slopes. Accessible by foot or a shuttle service, it’s a must visit for everyone. Some of the wildlife species found in here are the Himalayan black bear, Tibetan wolf, barking deer, Royal Bengal tiger, leopard, etc. It also shelters a variety of high altitude birds that are seen fluttering around the zoo. It is a place to be with your kids to inhale unpolluted air and enjoy picturesque views.
10. Alipore Zoo, Kolkata
Alipore Zoo in Kolkata is one of the oldest zoos in India and a popular tourist attraction of the city. It is still known for Aldabra, the giant tortoise that lived for almost 250 years and died in the year 2006. It is one of the best places to see Royal Bengal Tigers. The zoo is also a home to a wide variety of birds like golden pheasant, ostrich, turacos and hornbills.
11. Indira Gandhi Zoological Park
Last but not the least is the Indira Gandhi Zoological Park located amidst Kambalakonda Reserve Forest in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. It has enclosures for a variety of wild animals like the Royal Bengal Tiger, Indian elephants and primates (common langur, rhesus monkey and bonnet monkey) that exist all around the world and is filled with lush green foliage. It is an ideal place containing ample space brimming with greenery for a weekend getaway with restaurants, restrooms, picnic spots and toy trains for kids. Don’t forget to stop by this Park while you’re in Vishakapatnam for an extraordinary wildlife experience.