Before I go into the details and satisfy your curiosity, I have to tell you we really do live in China. I’ve been here 11 years, my husband 6, and both of our daughters (aged 4 years old and 3 months old) were born in Zhuhai, Guangdong province. But that’s another story to share.
Last month we were in Guangzhou – the capital of Guangdong (Canton) province.
Guangzhou is one of the largest cities in China, very busy, quite modern. It has 1 of the 3 largest zoos in China and a big Safari Park. We visited the Guangzhou Zoo, that is located right downtown. I’ll be honest with you – some of the animals looked pitiful while trying to cope with heat and humidity, but overall we had a great experience and it was the first time our 4 year old saw real birds and animals, and as you can imagine, all she talked about for over a week was the zoo!
There is absolutely no age restriction. Anyone can go in and check out all the wonderful things they have to offer.
The zoo is a large area that is divided into a few parts: herbivores, carnivores, birds, butterfly garden, Goldfish park, underwater aquarium and a couple more. We only visited the main zoo area, the additional places like Goldfish park, amusement park, butterfly garden and ocean aquarium require extra fees. As you purchase the tickets, you get a map of the area in both English and Chinese. And there are signs everywhere in both languages (though some of them appear a little strange due to Chinglish).
General fee is 20 RMB (around 2.5 USD) per adult or child over 120 cm of height.
There is a parking space and it is free if you are visiting the zoo and paid if you just want to park. I haven’t checked how much it would cost as we traveled there by subway.
To get there one must get on Line 5 of Guangzhou Subway and the stop is called The Zoo. Since the announcements and the route map inside the subway are in Mandarin, Cantonese and English, it is hard to miss the stop!
We thoroughly enjoyed the experience. It took us over an hour to walk through the zoo itself. Since it was a week day, it was quite empty and rather clean. We didn’t see any trash laying around. There are always people patrolling the area.
The zoo has a number of performances (like, Chinese Opera and animal show) that one can attend. Unfortunately we were there at the wrong time and decided not to wait for those. Chinese Opera performances are free but the Animal show requires an additional fee.
Around the zoo there are many stalls with water and refreshments and there are a couple of restaurants and local fast-food stalls. We haven’t stopped at any of them as we planned to eat at McDonald’s after.
The most enjoyable experience our daughter had is feeding giraffes. The zoo offers visitors to buy a bunch of leaves for 10 yuan (roughly 1.5 dollars) and feed them to giraffes.
It is a very healthy and amusing experience for both children and adults. And you get to pet the giraffe and even touch his tongue (don’t say gross! They are herbivores so their tongues are quite clean. Plus, you can wash your hands afterwards!). What we missed to see was the panda. It was getting pretty hot and we were tired and hungry, so we skipped seeing that lovely animal. However, after reading online some reviews I had a consolation though that panda might not even have come out in this heat!
I am a breastfeeding mom, I could sit and nurse on the bench without anyone even noticing me. The same was with changing the baby – there are many trashIt was warm, comfortable and relaxed for both me and the baby.
Couple more words about the bathrooms: they are simple squatter-type bathrooms (otherwise known as Eastern toilets). There might not be any paper and there could be water spilled on the floor. But they are relatively clean though they don’t always smell good!
Here’s a link to the current fairs at the zoo
The opening time is 8.30 am to 4.30 pm. There is no indication of seasonal changes – it seems the zoo works all year long and during public holidays too.
I don’t really like seeing animals in cages – it is not their natural habitat. But in this zoo it seems the animals are well taken care of and unfortunately there aren’t many places in the world left where one can see animals in their natural habitats.
If you are ever in Guangzhou and especially with children, Guangzhou zoo is a place to visit – it is a nice change from the busy city and you can spend the whole day there. They have lots of benches and grassy areas to sit on or you can rest in the shadow of fast-food stalls.
Happy traveling and many joyful memories to you and your families!