We took advantage of the reasonable weather to visit the zoo with some friends on Saturday. It was populated but not exactly busy, which was fine with us.
We spent three hours browsing the exhibits and playing in the kids play area. Many of the animals that you’ll see outside when it warms up were being sheltered inside so most of the action was in the various houses – reptiles, insects, etc – as opposed to in the open areas outside.
Warsaw Zoo is at best an average quality zoo and to be honest if it wasn’t so close and if there wasn’t so little to do in this town we’d probably not go more than once every five years. To be fair though, they have been making some improvements since we were last there and the area off to the right as you come in the main entrance – gorillas, chimps, elephants, rhino – is looking pretty good now. Nevertheless, the place is in desperate need of a few million investment and a few more bright ideas on how to bring the place up to date. I expect it is caught in a trap of being a zoo in need of investment at a time when zoos, as I remember them, are very much out of fashion.
The scabby looking polar bear has gone and been replaced by three scabby looking brown bears who retired from a circus. The elephants are still the smallest elephants in the known universe. The big cats are still bored stiff. The baboons are still scratching their disgusting backsides and picking fleas off everyone else. The snakes are still asleep at the back of the cabin. The chimps were watching television.
There was a baby giraffe, born last August, who was quite cute although not as cute as the tiny baby donkey. I had the most fun watching a baby hornbill trying to jump up onto a higher perch. It was hopping away for ages getting absolutely nowhere. Mother hornbill who started out far away on the other side of the cage gradually got closer and closer to the baby until she was sat on the perch it was trying to reach. It then became clear that far from helping the kid the mother was there to hurl abuse at it telling it what a complete embarrassment it was to the whole hornbill race! I ran out of time to see the conclusion of this episode.
Here are some pictures from the visit. I always take my camera and I never get any good shots!
The best zoo we’ve visited in Poland is the one in Gdansk, worth a visit if you’re in that area. There’s also a pretty good wildlife park somewhere in Mazury that we’ve been to a few times. I think the native wildlife park idea is more feasible these days than a zoo filled with animals from around the world. Especially so in Poland, a country so rich in domestic wildlife.
Berlin zoo is pretty good, I seem to remember. London zoo was a big disappointment last time we went because all the big animals have been moved out to Whipsnade leaving in London only things like goldfish and ants!
Perhaps we need a ‘European Zoo’? Close all the little silly ones like Warsaw and create one giant and very well appointed zoo somewhere in Europe. Somewhere with enough resources to allow us to see a very wide range of animals in as good a habitat as one can get outside of their natural habitat.