A day at the Beijing Zoo and Aquarium

I had been undecided on whether to visit the Beijing Zoo. I’d read the good reviews but was skeptical that the zoo would live up to my standards of what a good zoo should be, and anything less would only depress me. However, what I did want to visit was the Beijing Aquarium, and to get to the aquarium you had to go through the zoo.

Arriving at the Beijing Zoo train station, I didn’t immediately know the direction to take, so I followed my nose which eventually led me to the Zoo’s entry gate

The Zoo was much prettier than I expected, with lots of serene chinese gardens, a picturesque lake and wide spacious walking paths to accommodate all the people. Being a sizable zoo housing over 450 different species, I would have liked to see a lot less people space, and more animal space. If there's a need to have wild animals in captivity, at least keep their artificial habitats as close to what nature intended as possible – Singapore zoo sets a great example on how this is done http://www.zoo.com.sg

The Zoo's Aquarium had a variety of amazing aquatic life on showcase. However, the hundreds of children ignoring the ‘do not climb over the barrier’ sign’ and standing on the ledge of the display windows made viewing limited to little heads, bodies,and shoulders. Recommendation – visit the Aquarium when it’s not school holidays!

At the Beijing Zoo and Aquarium, the warning signs are not enforced. An example from the dry Zoo was this guy who wanted a closer picture of a monkey so he threw lollies into the enclosure to tempt the monkey nearer, it worked and the guy got his photo, but no doubt that monkey’s paying for it with an upset tummy. This happened right in front of the ‘Do not feed the animals’ sign. I voiced my disapproval, but no-one understood me, they just shook their head and probably thought I was asking for the food court directions.

Even though the warning signs were in both Chinese and English, all the Aquarium information was in Chinese only, which made it almost impossible to learn anything factual. Fortunately, I’m able to stare at aquatic life for hours, (it’s the closest I get to meditating), and observing these beautiful sea creatures was interesting enough.

Highlight – The Dolphin and Seal show is packed with action and humour, displaying how incredibly smart these animals are and is not to be missed!