Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A Trip to Arignar Anna Zoological Park (Vandalur Zoo)

The day was unexpectedly hot. With Sunday being the only day I am at home, maybe I felt it more! I had project releases planned for the weekend, so I was expected to work on the Sunday too, but luckily I was free in the end. Assuming that he had to keep the kids occupied himself, hubby dear planned a trip to the famous Vandalur Zoo on Sunday. Being there and on return, I really wondered how he could have achieved it all by himself. Or maybe the kids do behave well when being alone with him.

Whatever, I was happy looking forward to the day's trip. We planned to leave by 9 in the morning, knowing we have miles to walk in the zoo, if we have to see all the animals. The kids were all excited hearing about the planned trip to the Zoo. Knowing I don't have the luxury of rolling out Puris, I planned on our next best Sunday Breakfast, it being the Appam with Tomato Kurma and Coconut Milk. It was too delicious not to miss out enjoying it, so that got us delayed by an hour!

For once I was spared the task of arranging the snacks for the trip, as we can't take in outside food. Before leaving we spent some 10 minutes searching for their caps, which in the end never saw the day light! We finally started at 10 am. Chinnu saying he was also a "diever", sat next to his Dad to show him way. Hubby dear was mightily happy getting an assistant. Chinnu was chanting "Nani Diever" Neni Diever" to his Dad.

Towards the course of the journey, he came back to ask for "Jempu" (Gems), he was looking so sweetly at him, that I had was sad saying no to him, I told him that the zoo folks wont' have us getting food inside, so I missed getting it for the car trip too! Still they managed to sit through the 45 mins drive without much hungama. Though they kept asking when the zoo is going to come. On entering Vadalur, on being alerted, all of them scouted to the windows to check out.

We got down and I was having the camera around ready to catch the action. But sadly realized that with the little ones around, you can hardly keep hold of the camera! I managed to click the Signboard on the entrance. Its called the Arignar Anna Zoological Park, also known as the Vandalur Zoo.

Stats on the Zoo according to Wiki, it is a zoological garden located in Vandalur, a southern suburb 30 kilometers from the city of Chennai, India and 15 kilometers from Chennai Airport on GST Road. The Zoo is contiguous with the Guindy National Park. Founded in 1855, the Park was the first public zoo in India. It is recognized by the Central Zoo Authority of India. Spread over an area of 1260 acres, the zoo is believed to house more than 170 species of mammals, birds and reptiles in about 81 enclosures.

On entering the park, memories of my last visit came flooding in! I was in my third year of college when we had last visited. Dad had arranged for a trip with our colony friends. We were about 25 of us and went in a mini bus with all lunch packed. We almost spent the entire day in the zoo walking all the way to get a glimpse of all the animals. It was one lovely day that will for ever be fresh in mind.

Thinking back on that day, I knew we had great lengths to walk. So we had cautioned Athamma on the walking and warned the kids that we will not carry them! As if they will heed to such warnings, guess we tell them as a consolation to ourselves! After parking the vehicle, we entered to buy the tickets. The entrance fee costs you about 20 Rs for Adults and Kids over 5 yrs its 10 Rs. They even sell snacks that are transferred to the special packing they give in. And check your belongings thoroughly before you enter in.

As you enter in there is a huge water spring which gives you the effect of entering into a kid's play area. Then you have the counter for Lion Safari. If you are lucky, you get the van immediately. I should say we were as we had one waiting right away. We boarded the van, which is well covered with mesh. Whether it is for preventing us from leap out or for the lions from not leaping in, remains to be seen!

When the bus was filled in, the driver locked the door and started the battery operated van. It was a ride worth taking, he drove past the zoo into a secluded area, where the forest starts! Its an open den for the 12 lions that live in the zoo. The driver was ready with questions that were shot at him. He said out of the 12 lions, one just gave birth to 3 cubs, and so out of circle. The new mother and the young cubs will be out for the public by 2 months time. How very exciting!

As we entered into the area, there was a huge door which had double doors that had to be opened manually. Seeing it I remembered Jurassic Park and hubby dear voiced my thoughts saying look ahead we are entering the "Jurassic Park!" The eerie feeling you get almost gave you a feeling of actually entering the den! We saw another van stopped in front. we realized they were trying hard to see something. Few yards away in the dense trees, slept a majestic lion. It was almost blending with surrounding, that it took us couple of minutes to actually see the lion sleeping. Lest it leaps on us, we moved away silently.

The driver then took us to farther end where about 4 lions were sleeping. Each literally having a leg up! The hot climate was getting to them, he said. The excitement that my kids had was infectious. They were literally jumping seeing so many lions. Then after convincing them that we ought to get back, the driver silently turned and we finally came out of the natural den.

Oh, look at those Lions Akka!

Apart from the Safari ride, hubby dear told me that we have another mode to get round the zoo. How nice, I don't remember this facility from my last ride. And more than happy knowing that we don't have to walk round the entire area to catch all the animals. As luck would have it, we had one open car or tramp, whatever you call it, came to the counter. We had utter confusion for few minutes, trying to figure who will sit where. The boys wouldn't let other visitors sit in the same row. And you can imagine the entire crowd smiling and giving us understanding looks with Chinnu bringing the whole place down with his crying!

Spotted Deer!

The car finally started, this is again being a battery operated. You can't hear it passing you. The pathway was crowded with the visitors stopping every step to catch the animals. We were told that the vehicle stops for 10 mins at important places like the White Tiger, Panther, Bengal Tiger, Rhino, Giraffe and Chimpanzee. Each place requires you to walk closer to the den. Both the tiger places were awesome with huge safe covering to prevent the animals from jumping over. The huge crowd gathered were trying to get a proper glimpse of the animals. I am sure if the animals can talk, they will vent out at the curious onlookers!

Ok the Lions were too far away and the place was crowded for me to click a decent picture of it!

Tiger Moving around!

Tiger, Tiger on the prowl!

This is the huge place created for the Tigers!

The Circled area is where the White Tiger was sleeping!

After the Lions and Tigers, the kids were eager to see the monkeys. I said I am seeing them everyday at home, so need not go all the way to see the other monkeys. As the boys still can't understand what I said, it was only Konda was protested for saying that! When we went to see the Cheetah, my camera battery gave way! Bonkers what the heck I didn't even notice the battery and was really upset that I couldn't click anymore pictures. Finally had to use the mobile camera which naturally may not be so clear!

Konda was running around in all the places, while both Peddu and Chinnu wanted to be carried to see these animals. The tour round the zoo lasted nearly an hour, halting to see the snake park also. I don't prefer seeing these slimy creatures but couldn't help it really. So with the lack of camera, used the mobile to click one yawning snake. Sorry in my haste, didn't get the name..We finally came to the air-conditioned King Cobra cage. It was written " To beat the Hot Chennai climate, I live in an Air conditioned place" . We thought after all its the King Cobra!

We didn't have energy for any more and requested the driver to drop us. By then the kids were really hungry. We landed in the Tamil Nadu Restaurant that was inside the Zoo and ordered whatever they had. With Chinnu demanding for something else not on the menu and Peddu asking for Chocolates, while Konda not eating her noodles, we finally managed to get away from the place.

With great relief yet with distraught at the heat inside the car, we started back home. The kids promptly slept through the drive back to reach home by 2.30 pm! Hubby dear was most happy at having slept the day successfully outdoors!


Me... said...

Wow ....Srivalli...am from Chennai but I mst have probably visited the zoo some light years before. Seems they have spent a lot and done a lot in this time. I vaguely remember seeing footprints of animals to mark the trails....I was surprised to see that in the San Diego zoo here, as it was something I had seen when I was a kid in Vandalur Zoo. Great that your kids had a blast.

Rush said...

golf carts, lions in their afternoon fiesta...it was the perfect zoo experience!!

Anonymous said...

First public zoo of India, is something new abt Vandalur Zoo. Hope your kids enjoyed the day.