One of the first things that children learn in life are about animals- their sounds to be specific. Children don’t only get acquainted with humans but also other species like farm animals and pets. They observe and learn other creatures we live with on this planet. Our eldest showed great interest in farm animals because of Old McDonald’s farm nursery rhyme. She has animals books, animal figures, and watch videos about animals and their sounds. Before she turned 2 years old, I guess she’s ready to see real animals face to face aside from cats and dogs that we see around the outside of our home.
I decided to bring the kids to Ark Avilon Zoo in Ortigas Pasig City. Before we decided to bring them here, we had to check our options. So I’m sharing some of the zoos and animal sanctuaries in Metro Manila that got shortlisted. Again, since we have an infant in tow, we had to choose the most baby-friendly from our list.
- Manila Zooloogical and Botanical Garden a.k.a Manila Zoo – The only zoo with an elephant in the Philippines. I visit this zoo with my family since I was a little girl and we always enjoyed seeing the animals here. It’s actually big from what I remember. Some say the owners weren’t able to maintain the zoo well so it’s not so clean and animals are not nice anymore. Last time I remembered, it was hot and few shade so we have to let go of this one since I have an infant. And I remembered seeing an orangutan smoking a cigarette which is not a good sight for a toddler who is in her imitating stage.
- Avilon Zoo – It is the biggest zoo in the Philippines with 7.5 hectares of land. They also have the most number of animals. It is located in Rodriguez, Rizal.
- Zoobic Zafari – I’m also familiar with this zoo since we also frequent this zoo before. It’s far from Manila so we need to carefully plan a day for the trip if day trip or stay there overnight. Since we love Subic, we almost went there for the birthday celebration of our little girl.
- Manila Ocean Park – They feature water animals here. You can bring kids here since not all sections are outdoor.
- Malabon Zoo – This one’s also a classic zoo that people visit although I’ve never visited this zoo. Here are their details: Address- 1 Governor Pascual Avenue Barangay Potrero, Malabon City | Tel. No. 361.3064
- FunFarm at Sta. Elena – There are so many things you can do here like go on a picnic, zip line, go fishing, and a lot more. Since we have Matt with us, we’ll keep it for our next adventure.
- Residence Inn Tagaytay – I’ve been here a lot of times and I just don’t like the ideas of stairs and steps since we have strollers and stuff with us.
- Paradizoo – wow! This is a 12-hectare farm! There’s an area where people can feed animals.
Here are some tips if you want to visit Ark Avilon Zoo and make it easy, fun, and comfortable:
- To enjoy the place at just the right pace, you need 2 hours (well that’s how long we stayed).
- Your entrance fee is good for one day so you may go out and go back if you want too.
- Babies under 12 months old is free of charge. So our baby Matteo got in for free (he slept half of the time we were there)
- Kids under 3 feet tall’s entrance fee is Php300 while adult’s entrance fee is Php500. Operating hours is from 9am-6pm everyday.
- You may bring food inside. You just need to pay Php25 pesos for corkage fee.
- There are lots of parking in front of the zoo and there’s a parking lot across the entrance of the zoo.
- The entrance is along Road E along Jumpyard’s entrance too.
- It’s fun to feed the animals when they’re hungry. Ask first if the animals are hungry because if they’re not, you will just pay Php50 for the food and you don’t get to actually feed them. We fed the rabbits and the crocodiles (with raw chicken heads. I threw them myself haha! )
- The animals are not as much as compared to bigger zoos but it’s enough for my children at their age. They have a white tiger, leopard, jaguar, lion, bear, penguin, orangutan, rabbits, guinea pigs, goat, sheep, wild boar, tortoise, bearcat, different kinds of birds- from eagles to small parrots, meerkat, crocodiles, small snakes in aquariums, hornbill, and others. They don’t have fishes anymore unlike before because most died already from overfeeding and it was difficult to maintain.
- Without the crowd, it’s easy to go to and easy to manage kids too. We went there 11am on a Wednesday and there just 2 visitors (including us). I was able to bring the kids by myself with 2 helpers.
- They don’t sell rice meals in the venue. They only have snacks like popcorn, sausage, sausage on a bun, water, bottled juices, and others. You may bring your water and snacks.
- Bring fans or cooling devices! The place is indoor but in a tropical country like ours, it’s still hot. When we visited, since there were really few people, it was really windy but still humid.
- Their comfort room is not kid-friendly so moms and dads, bring your gears.
- It’s a small zoo since it resembles Noah’s Ark (from the Bible).
- There’s a gift shop when you enter to your right. The stuff are nice there. Get a souvenir or two.
- The staff are all friendly and helpful but there’s no guide or narration when you go around.
- They have an area on the 2nd floor where kids can hold their birthday parties. Preschools also have their field trips here.
- You can take pictures with the birds perched on your arm or shoulder for Php50 per shot or 2 shots. There are small birds on the second floor for kids since the bigger birds are in the entrance area.
- No need to drive out of town and easy to go to (well, traffic is a permanent thing in Metro Manila these past years so just anticipate traffic especially along C5).
All their animals are homegrown. It means these animals were born under Avilon Zoo’s care already not caught from the wild.
Snapshots from our visit. Enjoy! 🙂 Our little girl, Chesca who is almost 2 when we visited enjoyed our visit so much that she now has a good picture on her head of the animals she sees on her book and in videos.
Of course these animals deserve to be free but for educational purposes, they are kept in captivity . We all know that their natural habitat are not in zoos (remember the animation movie Madagascar? That’s how animals probably feel in captivity). Overall, it was an educational trip for our kids in an ordinary day. I always think of what the kids can do and a trip to the zoo breaks the monotony of being at home.
Thank you to all the staff of Ark Avilon for being warm and accommodating!
Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” — Anatole France
ARK AVILON ZOO
Frontera Verde, Ortigas Avenue corner C-5, Pasig City, Philippines
Tel. nos.: (+632) 706-2992
Fax: (+632) 706-2993