As someone who usually avoids zoos in Southeast Asia, my expectations of Bali Zoo were not high. But the verdict: it makes for a good half-day out with 3- and 4-year-old kids in tow. For the most part, conditions for the animals seemed decent by (non-Singaporean) regional standards, and the experience was quite hands on.
We got to the zoo right at the 09:00 opening time and were glad we did, as when we left at around lunchtime it was getting quite crowded — and the carpark was packed. But for those first few hours, we almost had the the animals to ourselves.
The condition of the enclosures or the cages for the animals ranged from this for the agile gibbons:
Through to this for the tigers:
So the agile gibbons enjoyed a large green area with tall trees and play equipment, while the tigers’ cage was only just big enough for some pacing. A sign alleged that the tigers were in a temporary cage, but well, temporary for how long? Just for the day? A year?
The gibbons are actually a highlight, and were quite active while we were there. Their loud screeching would begin intermittently, crescendo into a loud chorus that echoed around the park, and then drop off to silence again.
Opportunities for petting the animals began at the entrance, where a few parrots were allowed to sit on the kids’ shoulders and several bats hung about (just to look at). Then Ms 4 handled a few snakes, before both the kids petted some binturongs.
A bird show at 11:00 didn’t have quite the same level of snazziness as the Bird Park, but afterwards kids were invited to hold an owl, eagle or snake. Ms 4 wasn’t shy and had a blast.
The collection of animals at the private zoo was quite heavy on birds and various monkeys, with a few large animals thrown in to keep those awed by size happy as well — lions, crocodiles, camels, deers.
A petting zoo seemed to be closed while we were there — we may have just been too early — and a termite-ridden tree that had fallen near the show area several months ago had still not been cleared away, staff said, though it wasn’t clear why not. It was a bit sad to see one rather unhappy looking orangutan just sitting around; he’s apparently known for flinging his food at the passing crowd and perhaps we got him on a particularly cranky day as he was flinging faeces out of his enclosure as well.
The park is quite well shaded, but do pack sunblock though as some spots are definitely not, such as the audience area for the various scheduled shows.
We didn’t stop for lunch at the restaurant, but did spy some very good looking Indonesian and Western meals being whisked out of the kitchen.
A few decent looking ponies were giving rides for 20,000 rupiah a pop near the restaurant’s entrance You can also have a look at the photos of your kids with animals snapped by the park’s photographers — they sell them on CD or as prints at the end, though they weren’t cheap.
Admission if US$24 for adults and $12 for children aged two and up. Unusually for a venue in Bali, there is full disabled access — this is also of course handy if you have a pram. Open daily, 09:00 till 18:00.
By Samantha Brown
Last updated on 18th April, 2015.