My son is two years and four months and the only place he has seen animals is – in his books and on-screen. Oh wait! He did get lucky a few times, when we spotted a distressed horse, or a few cows on the city streets. My husband and I had been contemplating whether or not to visit the only zoo that the city of Mumbai can boast off. Now the reasons for doubt are plenty but we’d not get into that as of now. However, we finally decided to visit the Byculla zoo, or the Rani Baugh in Mumbai this weekend.
We left on a Sunday afternoon, with our son and a few friends. Getting there with the help of Google navigation was real easy. The zoo was crowded, but we expected crowd since it was a weekend. There was ample parking space and inspite of the long que at the ticket counter, we were good to go in within 10 minutes. Just as you enter the premises you witness the grandeur of the British architecture with a big Gate & the V&A museum to the left. There are sign boards that direct you through the zoo.
My otherwise clingy boy was super excited and could relate to the zoo because he had seen it his books and heard of it in many in his bedtime stories. The first animal that we saw there was an elephant. I loved witnessing the wonder and amazement in my boy’s eyes as he saw an animal for the first, 2nd and 3rd time! His face lit up and his smile came alive as we pointed to each animal in excitement. Next we went towards the monkeys, and my boy jumped over the safety railing and ran to the monkey’s cage. I was petrified. His dad had to pull him back and what followed was a toddler tantrum for the next ten minutes until the monkeys started to dance. He was so excited that he wanted to touch the animals. After a little explanation he was okay maintaining a distance.
As we went further inside we were able to see – hippopotamus, Python, deers, ostrich, bulls, parrots, flamingos, and a lot of other birds.
Inside the Byculla Zoo, Mumbai
I was truly impressed with how wide spread the zoo was. There was ample space and lots of greens all around. But as you proceed further to make your kids meet their favourite animals, what you notice is that the animals are locked in poor rusted cages. The animals did not look like they were in a pink of health, too many birds were put up together in one cage. The elephants looked weak. But before I entirely put the blame on the management, let me tell you what was worse – people were spitting outside the cage, there were tetra packs of juices, wrappers of chips and chocolates and lot of filth lying all over the place and even floating in the water.
I’d say that this Zoo sure has a scope of improvement, we can definitely visit it as more responsible citizens, the managements can sure take better care of the animals.
We as a nation need to work together to preserve and maintain our Zoo. That being said, we as a family spent a fantastic day at the zoo. We visited the Byculla zoo in our city and returned with memories and lots of anecdotes our toddler is going to narrate to us for days.
Even though you must have seen zoos better than ours, even if you are still unsure whether to visit the zoo in Mumbai or not, I’d say you must go there.
Here is why I think visiting the zoo is a fantastic idea:
– promotes family bonding : it’s a perfect way to spend a day together as a family
– hands on experiences : the best way of learning is by touching, feeling and seeing.
– sparks curiosity : When a child sees an animal, he is curious to learn more about it
– academic knowledge : Visiting a zoo allows a child to gain knowledge and information about various species
– environmental awareness : A visit to the zoo helps children understand the significance of taking care of our environment, since it has an impact on the life and welfare of animals
– allows exploration : the best part about visiting the zoo is that a child explores facts by himself, asks questions, makes conclusions and discovers facts.
– great exercise : A zoo is a huge peice if land. A day at the zoo means a lot of physical activity and exercise.