Friday, October 02, 2009

A day at Arignar Anna Zoological Park, Vandalur

We went to Vandalur Zoo, in Chennai on Oct 2nd (Gandhi Jayanthi holiday). The main objective of the trip was to show my daughter, all the animals in 'action'. We left home at about 9 am and took a train to Vandalur, from the Nungambakkam Railway Station. The train reached Vandalur station in about an hour. The zoo is about 0.5Km from the Vandalur station. We came out of the station and took an auto-rickshaw. We reached the Arignar Anna Zoological Park (aka Vandalur Zoo), at about 10.30 am. The entry fee was Rs.20 per adult and Rs.25 for a still camera (& a whopping Rs.150 for a camcorder. Thank God ! We didn't carry one :)).

The zoo has a very good collection of animals, birds & reptiles (including the high profiled ones such as Lions, Tigers, Elephants, Hippo, Giraffe, Zebra, Panther, Crocodiles, and Snakes). All the children, including my 3 year old daughter, were all very excited to see the animals in 'action'.

I was quite amazed by the improvement in the infrastructure inside the Vandalur zoo. I had visited the zoo, 15 years back, with my friend. I still remember that my friend/I had to walk a lot to find a bench to sit & have our lunch. Now, there are wonderfully covered rest areas, all around the zoo. They have good drinking water facilities and rest rooms also. The rest rooms are also relatively clean (when compared to other public rest rooms) with adequate sources for water. There are trash bins located along the roads/exhibits. There are proper roads & sign boards everywhere. They've also improved the walkways around the exhibits. There is still some infrastructure projects that are in progress. The authorities have made sure that there are no plastic bags or papers flying around. They've strictly restricted the use of plastic items inside the zoo. I also see sign boards that 'warn' people against teasing/feeding animals.

The zoo also has buses ('safaris') that take people around. They also have motor vehicles that take people around in groups. In addition, there are bikes (bicycles) that you can rent for Rs.20 per hour. There is only one restaurant (run by Tamilnadu Tourism Development Corporation) near the entrance. There is an ice cream shop & a snack bar inside the zoo. There was an awesome turnout on Oct 2nd (because of the public holiday). I'm not sure how crowded it will be during the regular days. They have a park with
kids' play structures near the entrance. You can spend the whole day in the park, if you have kids. I'm still wondering why they haven't commercialized the place yet - with rides, restaurants, small theatres showing animal movies, & other paid services.

We were completely exhausted by the time we stepped out. We took a bus to the Vandalur train station & got back to Nungambakkam by train. Overall, we enjoyed our short trip to Arignar Anna Zoological Park (Vandalur Zoo). I would highly recommend this place to anyone who visits Chennai, with kids.

Also read:  

Mahabalipuram, Muttukadu & Crocodile Park - A visit to ECR attractions 
Anna Tower Park - A boon for Anna Nagar residents