The Riyadh Zoo

Recently I had the opportunity to spend an enjoyable and lazy Friday afternoon at the Riyadh Zoo.The Riyadh Zoo is located in the Malaz District of Riyadh not far from the old airport in regards to a point of reference.I was very pleasantly surprised by what I found at the zoo.I have a fondness for zoos and have attempted to visit zoos all over the world during my travels.Normally most zoos in the Middle East region or Southeast Asia are poorly maintained and the animals not necessarily in good shape.

By comparison the Riyadh zoo was clean, spacious, well-organized and inviting.Much thought went into the layout and design of the zoo with most animal exhibition areas having places to sit and be out of the direct sun.

The zoo had the usual menagerie of animals and I’m pleased to say they all appeared health and in good condition.Perhaps unlike zoos in North America or Europe there were not little feed machines near the cages where one could insert a coin and get food to feed some of the animals.Instead it was pretty common for people to share their own popcorn or pieces of fruit with the animals.It was fascinating to watch at the monkeys cage how the monkeys were so adept at catching the pieces of popcorn visitors would toss to them!I also observed one large monkey who caught a banana tossed to it by yet another visitor.It was fascinating to me to watch how this large monkey opened and ate the banana just like a person…until he also proceeded to eat the peel too!At some monkey cages the monkeys, so accustomed to being fed, would press close to the bars of their cage holding their hands out waiting to be fed!

The zoo is a delightful place to spend an afternoon.Due to its size, 161,000 square meters, it is advisable to plan at least 3 hours for your visit.It is easier to spend even more time and my three hours at the zoo flew by without me being able to see everything on this visit.For those who may not feel like walking around the zoo there are also little trains which give continuous rides around the entire zoo allowing one to view all the pens while sitting in their shaded seat on the open air train.

The zoo has refreshment stands interspersed throughout selling a wide variety of snacks and drinks.Many families also brought their own picnic baskets to the zoo and spread out their blankets on the many green grassy areas.

It was pleasing to see all the Saudi families who were out and enjoying the zoo.Children will be children everywhere with not only their fascination of animals but attempts to mimic their sounds or faces made.

Admission to the zoo is ten riyals per person.I highly endorse and recommend anyone based in Riyadh to make an effort one day and spend at afternoon at the Riyadh zoo.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,277 other followers

%d bloggers like this: