After spending the first day hitting all the major sightseeing attractions in Budapest, we kept second and the last day of our trip free for The Thermal Bath for which Budapest is quite famous. Very excitedly, we packed our swimwears and reached the Bath. Unfortunately, we were not advised by their staff to take the kids inside as the temperature of the water was quite high. Not suitable for the kids under 14 years of age. Highly disappointed, we returned clueless where to go. More than us, the kids were upset as we had promised them to visit a swimming pool. Right opposite to the Bath, we noticed the Budapest Zoo. So, we assumed it might make up for the Bath and we chose to spend some time there.
The first sight was beautiful as the animals were roaming freely in their space.
So far, we have visited many Zoos in India and abroad and every time, we had to walk through to reach the animal zone but here it was different. The moment we stepped into the Budapest Zoo, we encountered many horses right at the entrance.
Accessibility to the animals:
Another thing which made Budapest Zoo different from the other Zoos is the accessibility to the animals. We could actually touch the horses as they were just a few wooden bars away from us. Kids were playing with the horses and feeding them the straw.
As we moved on, we saw many exotic animals, few caged, few roaming freely in their assigned area. There was a goat yard where a lot of domestic goats were wandering. I am big time afraid of animals, even the harmless ones and this was my first ever close encounter with animals when I actually touched and played with them.
Just next to the goat area, was a staircase which took us to the furry creatures – the white and black rabbits. What beauty those were. Jumping over their cute tiny grooves and playing. It was fun to see them.
There were many wooden playhouses here and there in the Zoo which made the best play area for the kids. Another thing that caught my fancy was the colorful small huts for the kids to play and pose for the pictures. Alongside the Zoo, there was a children park with many swings and other rides.
A pleasant encounter with Indian Mythology:
As we explored the other parts, it started raining. We halted at a place when something caught our attention. In a corner, we saw something familiar. We proceeded towards and were surprised to see the statue of Goddess Durga. It was just outside the Lion area. We entered inside to find out a huge Lion again in a different style. There was just a thick glass wall between us and the roaring lion instead of the iron cage. There was a note about Indian Mythology and its significance related to the Lion. Also, there was a Statue of State Emblem of India along with a note about it. I felt so proud to see and read that.
When we entered the Elephant area, we found a photograph of Lord Ganesha along with a note on Indian Mythology.
Budapest Zoo is divided into different zones like America Tropicana which represents the flora and fauna of the tropical climate of the American continent. India Zone displays Indian Lions and striped hyenae. Australian Zone has unique birds, reptiles, and amphibians of Australia. There is a Hillhouse also in this zone which has cassowaries, kangaroos, and wombats. Savannah Zone displays giraffes, gazelles, white rhinoceros, many species of birds, small mammals and insects. Madagascar Zone displays lemur species, Madagascar reptiles, tortoise, monkeys, and the rare golden-bellied mangabey. In good weather conditions, visitors can even walk to the animals in their open-air yard.
There is a Magical Hill which displays the flora and fauna of the diversity and the relationship between human and nature. It has 4 floors and 16 showrooms. There is a Starspace where you can see a 3D screen of documentaries and cartoons on one hand and on the other, there is a live performance of “Animals in Action”.
Budapest Zoo is also home to one of the best underwater Aquarium, The Shark School. It was an amazing experience walking underwater with sharks and many other huge fishes swimming in the blue water.
The Butterfly Garden in Budapest Zoo displays more the 100 species (from Central America, Africa, and Southeast Asia) of tropical butterflies and moths. We moved around in the same place jointly with the butterflies.
There is a well-maintained laboratory within the Zoo where highly trained scientists experiment on the different animals and study about them.
Another surprise – A treat for the kids!
Just above the laboratory, on the first floor, we found the well-preserved heritage which was one of the most interesting parts of this Zoo. I was surprised to see ancient Television, radio, telephone with a dial and old age cookwares.
We saw camels of different species, pigs, elephants, giraffes, deer, zebras roaming freely in the open air yard.
The monkeys had a designated area on a hill where they enjoyed jumping from cave to cave. It was well planned and intricately designed area.
The penguins were swimming in the small pool where the staff was feeding the fishes. A polar bear was another center of attraction for the visitors.
Budapest Zoo is huge with a rich and exotic collection of animals, birds, reptiles, fishes. You easily need 3-4 hours to cover it at leisure. There is an amusement park within the Zoo campus where kids can take many enjoyable rides. This place had all the ingredients for a kids paradise. It was a total paisa-wasool visit and we left the Zoo with happy and contented kids.