Buenos Aires Zoo
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As any large city should, Buenos Aires proudly offers its residents and visitors a chance to see the animals of the world. The Buenos Aires Zoo is an 18 hectare park, dedicated to conservation, research and education. Luckily for those in this fine city, it is not the only opportunity to see animals from every continent, as there is also the Temaiken Park and the Lujan Zoo, both within close proximity to the city.
The Buenos Aires Zoo is situated in Palermo, surrounded by green parks and plazas. Right off of Plaza Italia, it was originally opened in 1875. For over 125 years, the zoo has been delighting young and old, providing education to the public, and has been a focal point of the city.
The zoo has a wide variety of animals, from big cats to reptiles to elephants and giraffes to some unique South American animals. In fact, there are 89 species of mammals, 49 of reptiles and 175 of birds, — over 2,500 different species total.
Various “Passports” are offered at the entrance, each providing access to different exhibits and areas of the zoo. For the best value, purchase the Pasaporte Ahorro for $12.50, which allows you to enter all of the areas, including the aquarium. With just a few more pesos, you can see the seal show, which is a great time in and of itself. Watch as skilled trainers interact with these enthusiastic animals, as they dance, do tricks, and enjoy their fishy rewards.
What makes this zoo unique from many other zoos in the world is the close proximity you are to the animals. While other zoos restrain visitors from getting too close, the Buenos Aires Zoo actually encourages it, selling small buckets of food. That’s right, you can even feed the animals, here.
As if that wasn’t a close enough experience, head north to the Temaiken Park to see the animals in their natural environments, and to take safari type tours through these environments. Set up more as an animal park than as a zoo, the Temaiken is part zoo, part botanical garden, part natural history museum and part aquarium. With no cages, the animals freely roam, and visitors safely wander between the naturally set up environments, observing the animals interact with other species.
The park aims to provide information about how to respect the environment and live life with all species in mind. Knowledgeable guides provide information not only about specific animals, but about the Earth and her different environments in general. There are four areas to explore: Africa, Asia, Local and Aquarium, each chock-full of delights and surprises. Definitely plan on spending the whole day there, you’ll enjoy every second. It is located just a 35-minute drive north of the city, in Escobar, and there are plenty of busses that go directly to the park from Plaza Italia, daily.
The other zoo in the Buenos Aires area is to the west, in a town called Lujan. The Lujan Zoo, in the Province of Buenos Aires, is relatively new, having opened in 1994. It is unique in that it strives to provide coexistence between humans and animals, and the majority of the animals are born and raised in the zoo, building relationships with their human counterparts. It is internationally recognized, and a popular place to visit by locals and visitors alike. Check in this Buenos Aires travel guide how to get to Temaiken.
Its relationship building has been somewhat controversial, as it pushes the boundaries of a normal zoo. Here, visitors can ride lions, pet tigers, feed cheetahs and cuddle with bears. If visitors wish to interact with the animals, they must first sign a waiver, of course, but the idea is that these animals have been building these relationships since birth, and are therefore safe.
No matter what kind of zoo experience you’re looking for, Buenos Aires has something for everyone. It is certainly a wonderful way to spend the afternoon, interacting with other creatures, whether it be from afar or right up close.