For those with a flair for the furry or the scaly, Ark Avilon Zoo in Pasig City allows visitors to get to know, and even touch and feed, some its more than a hundred crawling, swimming, and flying friends. Resembling the biblical Noah’s Ark, the zoo is home to exotic wildlife such as crocodiles, tigers, pumas, sun bears, hornbills, giant tortoises, arapaimas, and other creatures that might surprise, scare, or entertain children from 6 to 60.
From the entrance, left and right rows of tempered glass exhibits will welcome you. These exhibits are the home of the ark’s big animal residents like Jenny the orangutan, Selina the albino python, Puti the sea eagle, Narda the talkative cockatoo, Bruce the miniature horse, and Golem the donkey.
At the end of the exhibit is a bridge overlooking the pool of Smiley the crocodile, which shares borders with Egyptian, Peking and Muscovy ducks as well as with the Arapaimas, the biggest freshwater fish in the world.
From there, a flight of stairs will lead you to the Roof Deck, past a giant aquarium filled with schools of big fish. The Roof Deck is home to the open-air pens of Macky the White Carabao; Bettina, Bella, Bentot, Bellen and Benhur the sheep, as well as Tisya the Victoria Crown Pigeon.
At a corner is an open-air playpen where you can feed rabbits and guinea pigs. If you get hungry yourself, there is a snack bar selling the usual crackers, packaged snacks and canned drinks. Children, too, might want to get themselves busy with chalk drawing or nature art.
At the staircase by the exit, there is a wall where everyone is allowed to draw some graffiti. Below it is a souvenir shop selling mostly expensive stuffed toys of animals. At the lobby is a pet shop selling anything moving, from tiny guinea pigs to deadly cobras.
Fees and opening hours
The zoo is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on weekends and holidays. Entrance fee is P300 for adults, P200 for children below 3.5 feet, and P300 with a 20 percent discount for seniors with ID’s. For updates, call (02) 7062992 or visit their website.
How to get there
Ark Avilon is in Frontera Verde, Ortigas Ave. cor. C-5, Pasig City. The best way to get there is through a private vehicle or a taxi.