Dusit Zoo, or Khao Din as local people call it, is a popular place for Thai families to go at the weekend. It is in Central Bangkok between Chitlada Palace where the king lives and the Ananda Samakhom Throne Hall (see picture above). It was originally a private garden with wild deer from Java, established by King Rama V. However, the royal family later donated it to the government to be operated as a private zoo and garden. It was opened to the public for the first time on 18th March 1938 and named Dusit Zoo. It now has over 2,000 animals from both Thailand and abroad. It covers an area of 47 acres which includes 12 acres of lakes. People come here to look at the animals, but also to rent boats and to have picnics in the shade of the trees. It can get very crowded at weekends and during long holidays, so if you wish to avoid the crowds then you might prefer to come during the week.
I went to Dusit Zoo at the weekend with Nong Grace as she is helping me research an article about “Bangkok for Kids”. We have been to many of the big animal parks, though this is the first one inside the city. It isn’t as big and comprehensive as say Safari World, but as you can see from the above pictures, there is certainly a large variety of animals that will keep amused any child. Their animals include: giraffe, elephant, tiger, hippopotamus, crocodile, kangaroo, penguin, zebra, monkey, bear and many more exotic creatures. Although we probably won’t be rushing back to Safari World any time soon, we will probably come again to Dusit Zoo next month. This is mainly because of the price. At Dusit Zoo it was easy for me to request and get the local Thai price of only 50 baht by asking them politely in Thai. In comparison, Safari World cost me 1700% more than the admission ticket for Dusit Zoo! Even the foreign price at Dusit Zoo is reasonable at 100 baht for adults and 50 baht for children. Although we liked Safari World, we found it wasn’t really good value for money as it was so expensive.
Unlike Safari World and Samphran Elephant Ground, you don’t have the animal shows which are the main features. Nong Grace was a bit disappointed at first when I told her not to expect any shows. However, we did find that there was one animal show. This was the Bird Show. During the week they have three shows a day and at the weekend they have five shows. You have to pay extra for this, but it only cost me 20 baht. Children are 10 baht but as Nong Grace is so little she was able to watch for free. In fact, she got into the Zoo for free too! If I remember right, you mustn’t be taller than 100 cms. You know, despite the low price of ticket, the show was actually far superior to the one we saw at Safari World. The hosts were more enthusiastic and they had more bird acts that were very entertaining. In the above picture, the bird is doing a simple sum set by a member of the audience.
The zoo is not just about animals. There is a lot more there to do and see. When we first arrived, we paid 20 baht to have a tram ride around the zoo to help us get our bearings. There are four tram stations and tickets at each one have different colours. So you can get down at any station and then board again. But once you reach the station of your colour then you have to stop. During our tour we saw there were several areas where the children can play fair ground attractions. Nothing too major like roller coasters, but smaller stuff ideal for younger children. The cost of rides varied from 10 baht to 20 baht. If you get hungry there are numerous places to buy snacks or meals. There is even a KFC and a 7-Eleven store so all prices are very reasonable. We bought bottles of water, ice cream and fruit and all cost the same as outside. Over at Safari World, they marked up their prices by 100%. If you go at the weekend or holidays it is more crowded. However, there is also more likely to be more activities for the kids. In this picture you can see Nong Grace enjoying herself painting a picture. Unbelievably we were there nearly seven hours. In the end I had to force her to go as she wanted to stay longer. I had to promise that I would bring her back again.
Dusit Zoo is open every day between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. At the moment they are open in the evenings for a special Night Safari though I am not sure how long that will continue for. Buses that pass the entrance include the ordinary No. 18 or 28 and the air-con No. 10.
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