‘A Tourist Guide to Zoológico Guadalajara’ is to attract more tourists to the zoo. I was in Guadalajara, Mexico recently to welcome my second grandson into this world. My elder grandson is 3 ½ years old and loves animals of all kinds. He loves to watch Zoomoo, a channel on animals on TV. He knows the names of almost all the animals, the sounds they make, the food they eat and the names of their young too. I had seen pictures and videos of him at the zoo a year ago and I was eager to take him there and make him relive the experience. The Guadalajara Zoo is a well planned and executed zoo which is very tourist friendly. Yes, it is a little bit heavy on the pocket compared to prices in India, but it gives a memorable lifetime experience.
Arian, my grandson
Arian, my grandson was enthusiastic as he had forgotten his earlier visit to the zoo and was excited to see his favourite animals from up close. We set out to the zoo and even I couldn’t resist getting excited at his animated talk. We reached to see a huge crowd at the ticket counter. It was Christmas holidays and families were out to make the most of it.
About the Zoo
Interestingly the Guadalajara Zoo is a decentralized public body of the City Council, administered by a Council, which is made up of prominent Jalisciense businessmen. Makes sense doesn’t it, instead of it being run by the government on subsidised rates? Nuzzled in the Barranca de Huentitán, it emerges as a need for Jalisco society to have a place of healthy family recreation, as well as a space that would allow him to awaken his interest in the conservation of nature. Mr.CM, are you listening? It is time to awaken the citizens of Andhra to preserve the natural habitat and what better way than an interactive zoo? Our capital needs one and methinks Amaravati would be an ideal place to start one.
The Guadalajara Zoo has opened three decades ago and it is considered one of the few self-financing zoos in the country. It has 50 hectares developed where the topography of the land has been respected, as well as existing trees and flora. It has 280 hectares of an ecological reserve in the beautiful Barranca de Huentitán.
Where is the zoo located?
The Zoo is in the North of the city of Guadalajara, Jalisco, in the Huentitán Natural Park, at the confluence of Calzada Independencia and El Periférico Norte. Its address is Av. Paseo del Zoológico 600, Apartado Postal 1-1494, Guadalajara, Jalisco.
Tickets for Zoologico
Tickets are as a package and as Individual for each of these…..85 to 285 pesos for adults and 50 to 200pesos for kids…The Guadalajara Zoo has a cable car, panoramic train, restaurants, soda fountains, wheelchair rentals, rental of strollers, first aid, free Wi-Fi, parking, photo montages, tattoos, shark diving, special events and souvenir shops where one could buy animal trivia.
There was a long queue at the ticket counter and my son managed to get the tickets for us somehow. Another thing to admire in Guadalajara is the patience of the public. I have never seen such orderly queues ever in India. We hired a stroller for my grandson and he thoroughly enjoyed being ridden around as if it was a chariot and he was a prince and it was a great help as we did not have to carry around a tired kid.
Entrance to the Zoo
The entrance to the zoo itself is grand with a massive wall waterfall and a template of Guadalajara Zoologico up front. It makes for a great photo-op and selfie point for the Facebook and Instagram buffs.
Once we entered there was this architectural collage of monkeys in different expressions and positions which is very eye-catching.
Life-size models of a Rhino, Elephant and Hippo were attracting many kids as they could take pictures with them.Arian too sat on the Hippo and felt he was riding a real one.
The zoo has many special attractions and the first one we went to was the Sky Zoo.
Special attractions of Zoologico Guadalajara
It is the new-fangled way to see the zoo now from the heights and out of reach of the jaws of the ferocious animals. That’s right: in the Sky Zoo, you are taken high above the animals in a cable car to enjoy a beautiful panoramic view travelling over Monkeyland, gorillas, wolves, bison, lions, tiger and elephants. This was a unique way of seeing animals. Do not miss living this unique experience in Guadalajara. It has been more than 2 decades since I have been to a zoo or amusement park rides and the cable car gave me an extreme scare when we were high above the ground. I was seated beside my 3-year-old grandson, Arian and was ashamed to admit that I was frightened. I was shocked when he calmed me down by saying,” There is nothing to fear Gma, this machine will take us back too. You cannot jump from here. Don’t be scared, be happy!!” Wise words from a toddler! He started pointing out the animals below and was thrilled to see the huge African elephants, the Lion resting with the lioness and the Bison whom he called Tatanka according to the character in his favourite Animal series on TV.
Ecosystem: Aerial tour of the zoo.
The minimum height to enter is 1.10cm, children must be accompanied by an adult. Opened Wednesday through Friday from 10 am to 5 pm (last tour). Saturday, Sunday and holidays from 10 am to 5:30 pm.
The Monkeyland has a very attractive welcoming arch and Arian was saying “Ooo oo aaa aaa “even before sighting any simians. An area of 2 hectares, which is located just behind the interactive museum, houses several species of apes both from America and Africa.This space has larger shelters in extension and height, as the primates like to reach 12 to 18 meters high. I myself saw the chimpanzee zipping up high above us to the highest hammock in his enclosure. It is worth mentioning that the simians have a huge range, tree trunks and vines to climb with easy viewpoints that facilitate their observation. The species that I most love are the lemurs which sit on their hind legs and look very cute with their ringtails. Then there were the Mono Vervet, Mono Patas, Capuchins, among others and the huge gorillas which were lazing and barely moving. We could touch the Squirrel Monkeys but asked to hold on to our bags and cameras. One of the monkeys grabbed a lady’s bag and when the volunteer tried to prise it from him; he was bitten with blood oozing out from his finger. He said if people could hold on to their belongings he would not be bitten so often. It is a great chance for us and kids to be up close with these charismatic species of primates.
The bears were ensconced in their caves and ventured out a bit after a lot of prodding by the tourists. The deer were roaming around freely and we could even touch them. This feature is something that I really liked about the zoo. Being interactive it makes the public bond with the animals and become aware of their natural habitat enough to start liking them instead of harming them.
Schedule: 10 am to 5:30 pm
Ecosystem: Tropical forest
Fauna: Variety of primates
The Guadalajara Aquarium lets the visitor experience the feeling of being underwater in the clear waters of a river or in a wonderful coral reef. There are freshwater fish such as cichlids, angels, lizards, petrels, piranhas and freshwater manta rays. Looking at the open tanks, my son just mentioned that it was a ray fish and my grandson pipes up, “No Papa it is a stingray!” The tanks are dedicated to marine fish: clown fish, crossbows, surgeons and many more species; there are also invertebrates such as starfish, jellyfish, crustaceans and anemones and of course seahorses and octopus. “Octopus has eight legs like a spider G ma,” is what Arian teaches me. But undoubtedly my grandson steered us towards the most feared predator of the marine world; the shark. Sharks evoke awe as they are said to attack and rip apart anyone who ventures close.
My son, an avid animal lover himself, wanted to dive in the shark tank inside an acrylic capsule that gives you the opportunity to be very close to them but without taking risks. But sadly this facility was not available that day and it is better to call and confirm. You must bring a swimsuit, sandals, towel and toiletries, the aquarium lends you a neoprene suit and visor. If you are interested in this activity, call 36 74 44 88 ext. 118 and 135 to know schedules, costs and reservations.
10 am to 6 pm
Ecosystem: Oceans and bodies of fresh water.
Fauna: Salt and sweet water species
The kingdom of the penguins hosts specimens of the Adelie and Gentoo species that inhabit the coldest part of Antarctica for which they had to adopt a space with the right conditions for these birds to develop in an environment more like the natural one. Really low temperatures have to be maintained 24/7 with no chance of power going off as the Penguins would not survive otherwise. The penguins are one of my favourites and I really find them cute the way they waddle on their two webbed feet. Arian was squealing with delight when he saw them close and swimming at arm’s length.
Schedule:10 am to 6 pm
Ecosystem: Cold, with temperatures under 0º all year
Fauna: Adelie and Gentoo Penguins
Masai Mara Safari
The Guadalajara Zoo invites its visitors to “discover Africa” in the Masai Mara Safari where you can see the animals while being driven around in an open carriage. I really loved this totally different experience of viewing hippos, rhinos, ostriches, deer and the majestic Giraffes roaming freely. We were given handfuls of fresh salad to feed the giraffe. The tallest among them was really close but would not come to the van at first as it was urinating but then it walked up and ate from the hands of all those who were handing it out. Arian was trying to reach up but was too far down for the giraffe but he was equally excited when it ate out of my son’s hand. Kids will not only know about the animal species that live in a savannah but will also have a dekko into the life of a Masai village to know part of their culture, how they live, their customs, traditions, dances and music as the enclosure has all these. Imagine recreating Masai Mara in Mexico; the world is surely becoming a global village.Safari visits are in a special truck that lasts approximately 20 minutes.
10 am to 6 pm
Ecosystem: African savannah
Fauna: Variety of African animals, such as deer, elephants, ostriches, hippos, giraffe and rhinoceros
Amazonia is located within the Tropical Rainforest of the Guadalajara Zoo, the Guacamaya territory, a space dedicated to one of the most beautiful and striking species of Pistacidos, the macaw. Birds because of their grace and colour are highly sought after as pets, a situation that has led them to become endangered species. Visitors have the opportunity to admire very closely a group of macaws with which they can take a photograph for their personal album. At the same time enjoy a space full of vegetation, running water and endless birdsong that have chosen this hostel as home. We did hear the chirping of the birds but ran out of time to actually watch them.
Schedule: 10 am to 5 pm
The Herpetario is the place to observe snakes of enormous sizes such as the reticulated python, rattle, and boa; as well as turtles, lizards and crocodiles etc. It is the safest way to know these poisonous reptiles but in a safe way as they are in beautiful panoramic terrariums which are similar to the habitat of each species, in a very pleasant and comfortable climate. In the crocodile enclosure, my grandson was excited to see an Iguana as he had just seen it on TV.
Schedule: 10 am to 5:30 pm
Ecosystem: Variety of ecosystems
Fauna: Variety of snakes, crocodiles and lizards.
“The Secrets of the Tropical Rainforest” is an area where the visitor will get to learn about this important ecosystem that houses the largest number of animals that inhabit the earth but sadly it is disappearing day by day. Set with sounds of nature, enough vegetation, the “Secrets of the Tropical Rainforest” houses jaguars, capybaras, anteater and tigers in enclosures that make us feel part of this biome. There was this Bengal tiger and a white tiger and I felt proud of looking at an animal from my country.
Pic Courtesy Zoologico Guadalajara
Pic Courtesy Trip Advisor
Schedule: 10 am to 6 pm
Fauna: Abundant vegetation
The Australian Village
The Australian Village is a space dedicated to this amazing continent down under which is home to a very captivating, world-known animal: the red kangaroos, one of the highest species reaching 1.75mts in adulthood and you can observe it in close proximity. Sadly by the time, we reached the enclosure was closed and we could just take a peek through the closed doors. Arian wanted to know if there was a Joey in the Kangaroo’s pocket.
Schedule: 10 am to 5 pm
Fauna: Australian animals
Pic Courtesy Trip Advisor
The Zoologico Guadalajara Train
Watch the zoo comfortably seated on the panoramic train that takes you to meet most of the animals that are housed here.
Schedule: 10 am to 5:30 pm
Ecosystem: Tour of the zoo.
Added to all this Guadalajara Zoo has shows of birds and reptiles where you can touch them.
Restaurants which blend into the landscape and look as if they were a part of the animal kingdom are lifesavers when the hunger pangs hit you.
There are soda fountains, candy floss, cookie sellers and other eateries to appease the hunger as you would be spending many hours in the zoo.
Photo montages are available at vantage points and tattoo artists are busy tattooing animals.
There is free Wi-Fi available.
Rent of mechanical and electric wheelchairs and strollers for kids are available which makes it really very easy for kids and seniors to enjoy the zoo experience with the family.
A zoo is a fun and safe place to learn and covers recreation and learning in one go. Conservation is the key to saving the planet and visiting a zoo develops children’s understanding of biodiversity and the living world. Guadalajara zoo is doing a great job of encouraging children to learn how. Our next generation could be the key to protecting the living world around us so we should take all kids to the zoo and make zoos free for school children and allot a day in the week for them.