Our trip to the Zoo

I love that I have a friend who has a daughter the same age as Iya.  Aside from comparing notes and asking about tips is the opportunity to have an adventure together! We had our first play date last year when we went to the La Mesa Ecopark and luckily the stars (and the schedules) aligned to have our second in the Avilon Zoo, Rizal.  My officemates gave good reviews that made me curious.  It did not disappoint. 
The website description encapsulates the place better..
AVILON ZOO is currently the largest zoological institution in the Philippines in terms of developed land area. The 7.5-hectare facility houses the most diverse collection of wildlife in the Philippines with more than 3,000 live specimens representing more than 500 species of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, freshwater fishes and invertebrates. AVILON ZOO also has the widest collection of Philippine native and endemic fauna, most of which have been bred successfully in captivity through AVILON WCF’s ex situ conservation programs. AVILON ZOO is also home to a diverse collection of plants, of which more than 50% are Philippine indigenous. AVILON ZOO aims to be one of Southeast Asia’s premiere wildlife facilities. 
Some things we did right:
1.  Baon.  I prepared for this and made sandwiches for lunch. There is a corkage fee if you buy food from commercial establishments so it’s better to bring home made food.  We ate in the dining area near the entrance before our tour so the little ones have the energy for the long walk ahead.  The food stalls do not have a wide variety of food selection but it is adequate just in case you get hungry or thirsty.   
2.  We hired the services of a tour guide (400 pesos) for the group.  It was the right decision because the tour was organized and we would’ve wandered around in the 7.5 hectare missing some of the hidden rooms for the nocturnal animals.  And for lazy people like us, the guide told us interesting facts that were sometimes not written in the signs. 
3. I purchased our tickets in metrodeal.com for 199 pesos per person which is 50% less than the regular entrance rate.
4. We fed the animals/ fishes, especially the arapaima.  We had a good laugh and jump when the arapaimas (biggest freshwater fish ever) got all excited when we fed them chicken.  As in kagulo! The zoo gave gloves and has a washing station to allow you to wash your hands afterwards. 
It was also fun looking at the relaxed orangutan eat the bananas we gave him.  The other hot tempered monkey made us quickly back away when he threw a tantrum and threaten to throw something at us.  The kids, Sophie and Iya, enjoyed feeding the guinea pigs with carrots on a stick.  It’s really safe but I still have to supervise them.  They might get overly zealous and jump in the bundle of cuteness.

The entrance display and the dining area.  It has a view of the lake with this plant that grows evenly making the lake look like green textured flooring.  The sign has lizards all over.  They blend so well with the environment that you will think that these are just branches. 

The fun feeding station where we had our picture taken with Trixie for 50 pesos (I was scared silly hindi lang halata).  Iya specifically requested a picture with the birds.  Sophie and Iya had fun feeding the cutie pie guinea pigs.

The zoo has areas like this where the animals are bordered by water and not cages.  Here we met the capybara which is the largest mouse in the whole world. 

We saw the big cats, the big orangutans, the big tortoise, the fox, the playing squirrels and many more.  I was busy admiring the animals that I most of the time forget to take pictures.  It’s better to see it live anyway.  I love the way they did the Orangutan area.  The lower portion has rooms while the upper part simulates trees where they can swing and play.  The area is also separated by a moat and not a cage. 

The arapaima feeding.  This is one of the reasons why I wanted to go here — to see how big these are in person.  Iya’s green background is not grass but part of a large lake full of arapaimas.

The girls and their fascination with posing and smelling flowers.  I was surprised they were not even tired after the whole thing because even in the car they kept on playing like there was no tomorrow.  Until next time! 
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