Brought my daughter to Zoo Negara (or the National Zoo) last week. To be frank, I wasn’t a fan of zoos. Never liked zoos in fact, because to me, going to a zoo is like visiting an animals’ prison. Watching wild animals that are meant to be free in captivity isn’t my kind of fun. If it wasn’t for my daughter, I wouldn’t have gone there in the first place (that explains why I hadn’t gone there prior, even though the place has existed for decades).
Anyway, I got quite surprised with the place. Turned out to be very lushy green and well maintained. I was expecting it to be filthy and stinky, just like the other zoos we’ve visited – which usually have this animal waste stench that hits you square in the face the moment you enter. But not Zoo Negara. Instead of stench, I smell fresh air (that has to account for something, because it’s frigging hard to get fresh air in KL) and the place was actually clean! (and that’s a rare find as well). The whole place was rigged like a greenery park, with huge trees and cooling shades. Even though the day was scorching hot under the sun, the huge zoo was breezy to walk around on foot. There’s a lake in the middle of the zoo, where you can see some storks or whatever shit those were, flying around freely. And if you’re up for some picnic, there are a few gazebos with awesome view for you to do that. There’s also this ‘tram’ service, that runs on electric power and therefore, no fumes that could cause lung cancer amongst the inmates there. Thumbs up!
And when we were there, we also saw some posters that the Pandas are going to be here very soon – which must be the controversial (costly) 20 million bucks leasing project that our government is gonna pay China for 10 years – just to have these 2 pandas here in Malaysia. With 30 bucks a pop, the zoo’s going to need close to a million visitors in the course of 10 years just to break even that cost alone. And there are going to be more cost to cover – like the renovation, the environmental conditioning that’s going to draw shitloads of power in this weather, food (pandas fucking eat a lot), the existing costs for the rest of the park/animals… Just, how wise it is (in the economic sense) for us to put 2 pandas in there? I doubt it’s going to change anything because the zoo’s already awesome the way it is. If our government feels like spending some money anyway to uplift the zoo, just engineer a few canopy walks or ziplines (can work with Penang’s Escape theme park to get that done easily) across the tiger/lion enclosures for a little bit more fun. Make it a fun park instead, you know, visitors get to climb and zip through the zoo, while checking out the animals from the top of the trees – it’ll be the first of its kind and fun… for both visitors and the animals too.
Go there if you have kids. It’s a great place to relax and it isn’t expensive at all.