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The Dusit Zoo

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Bangkok's zoo, located in the city's historic Dusit district, is small but offers visitors enough attractions and amenities to easily spend half a day. It's in a pretty, historic part of town and if you have children it will be a welcome break from sightseeing.

The Animals:

The zoo has more than 1,300 species of animals small to large, including marmosets, monitor lizards, hippopotami, tigers, giraffes, miniature horses, leopards and lots of monkeys. In fact, it's the number one breeding place in the world for dusty langur monkeys. There's an aviary, a reptile room with lots of snakes, and an Elephant habitat. For most kids, the highlight of a visit to the Dusit Zoo is probably going to be the giraffes and zebras. There is a feeding platform adjacent to Gate 2 where you can even feed the giraffes by hand. You can also feed the Hippos by hand at certain times during the day. Small kids will also like the goat feeding area, where they can give baby goats bottles.

The Seals:

If you're looking for a place to sit and be entertained for a while, head to the seal show, which runs every hour during the day. Two seals perform the standard array of seal tricks such as catching balls, barking, diving for rings and clapping their fins. The outdoor covered auditorium isn't air conditioned and can get a little stuffy in the middle of the day. Don't sit in the front row unless you want to get splashed.

Other Activities:

There's a pond in the center of the zoo and visitors can rent paddle boats and buy food to feed the fish. If you want to enjoy a little cycling while you're there, consider renting a bicycle. There is also a play area with rides for kids (admission is additional). If you're interested in war history, visit the WWII bunker behind the hippo habitat!

Getting There and Getting Around:

Getting There: The zoo is in Dusit, right next to the Abhisek Dusit Throne Hall. There is no rapid public transportation that will take you directly to the zoo, but you can take the Skytrain to Victory Monument and then take a taxi the rest of the way. Depending on traffic, expect to spend about 10 minutes in the taxi. You can also take a taxi directly to the zoo.

Getting Around: The zoo is pretty small and easily walkable if you are used to walking and don't mind the weather. There is a tram that makes the rounds if it's too hot. If you prefer your own wheels, go ahead and rent a bicycle.

Address, Hours and Admission Fees:

Address: Intersection of Rama V, Ratchavitee and U-Thong Nai Roads Tel: 02/281-2000

Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily

Admission fees: 100 baht for adults and 50 baht for children, plus additional fees for the seal show, bicycle rental, rides at the play area and other special exhibits.

Food and Facilities:

The Dusit Zoo has a variety of places to eat and you can't walk more than three minutes without finding a place to grab a snack or a meal, from a KFC outlet to some very homey outdoor restaurants serving basic Thai dishes. There are also coffee and ice cream kiosks. If you want a snack or water, there is a 7-Eleven on the premises (great because there's no big markup you typically see at zoos back home).

Bathrooms leave a little to be desired. They are basically clean and in good order, but all toilets are squatters and there is no toilet paper in the bathrooms, so come prepared.

Bringing Kids:

The Dusit Zoo is really designed for families with children, so there are lots of child-friendly things to do, including feeding the goats and riding the rides in the play area. By Western standards, though, it's still lacking when it comes to safety and convenience. Although many parents, both local and foreign, bring strollers to the zoo, there aren't curb cuts on all sidewalks and there are areas where it's very difficult to navigate a stroller.

Keep track of your children at all times. On the feeding platforms, in the seal auditorium and in various other parts of the zoo there are places children can easily fall if they are not being carefully watched.

What's Around the Zoo:

The zoo is in a great part of the city for sightseeing, and many of the city's top attractions, including the Grand Palace and Wat Po, are within walking distance or easy driving distance.
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