Dusit Zoo in Bangkok – known to the locals as Khao Din – is so much more than just a city zoo.
It is a great and economical day out especially for families offering a park with many special attractions and features that is sure to have you heading back again and again.
It is located near the Royal Plaza on a large block of land that showcases a huge amount of tropical plants in a well maintained and clean environment – a welcome relief to the hustle and bustle of Bangkok at any time of the year.
Entrance to the zoo is just 100 baht for adults and 20 baht for children with car parking available for 50 baht all day. Though the price for non-residents of Thailand is listed as 150 baht for adults there is no quibble for people living here. It is regrettable there are two prices but the difference is not exorbitant.
There has been a zoo on the site since the days of Rama V nearly one hundred years ago but it seems to be in much better shape than twenty years ago when it was rather dilapidated and out of date. The park staff seem to be constantly adding to its attractions and upgrading its facilities.
Upon entry we saw a very impressive flamingo enclosure that augured well for the visit that I did with my wife, and three children – a one year old in a pram, a four year old and a nine year old.
The zoo featured most of the animals one would expect – there were giraffe and zebra in one enclosure that had a treetop walkway where the tall giraffes could be observed at very close quarters as they ate their leafy vegetation.
The bear, crocodile, tiger and monkey enclosures all showcased animals that looked in good condition – a stark contrast to this writer’s visits in the 1990s. The langurs were particularly attractive.
Our party of children particularly enjoyed feeding time with the hippos. The zoo staff gave everyone present a pile of bananas and runner beans to feed the animals themselves without any charge.
A fun seal show – that is held every couple of hours – proved to be very popular with hundreds of spectators watching the well trained animals do a variety of agile tricks. Charges for this extra were only 20 baht for adults and 10 baht for children and the show lasted about 25 minutes. It was good to sit down and have a rest and see the children so engrossed.
Nearby was a very well appointed food court with coupon system. A very tasty and nutritious lunch with many choices was greedily consumed by our party. Each dish was only 40 or 50 baht and my “khao man gai” (chicken rice) was one of the best I have ever had. Encouraged I went back for noodles that were equally delicious.
The children tucked into food on a stick.
The zoo has recently added a small water park area with lifeguard supervision where families can relax and get some relief from the heat of the day. This costs 30 baht for two kids and is further great value with no limit on the time the children can play. It is not big, but it is very well constructed.
So go prepared with swimming costumes for your kids – with the break that this affords young children will not get bored and the trip can encompass the whole day.
Near the water park area is another welcome relief from the heat – a darkened, air-conditioned snake and reptile house that had some very interesting creatures including an anaconda. There were also creepy tarantulas in cages that the children could see very clearly.
In addition to the aforementioned facilities there is a large boating lake where pedalos can be hired. In the background of the lake was the dome of the Ananda Samakhom throne hall providing a great photo-opportunity.
Hands on feeding activities are available at a petting zoo where our children could get up close and personal and feed the goats with milk in baby bottles.
There are also bridge areas where huge fish in the water can be fed with loaves of cheap bread.
A World War II bomb shelter underground complete with models and sound system was another thoughtful and interesting attraction adding a bit of a history element to the day out.
Signage at the zoo is excellent in both Thai and English making the trip both fun and educational. There is even braille at most locations.
Access is easy for the able bodied though the disabled would have some problems. A push chair needed to be carried at some points when ramps had not been fully installed especially on the overhead walkway. The latter would be a problem for the disabled.
There are clean toilet facilities throughout the zoo with handicapped loos available everywhere. There are also places to wash hands when children might have been in contact with animals.
For us the whole day out was less than 700 baht for the whole of our group.
We had a great day out and will certainly be going back again and again as the children get older.
Dusit Zoo may not be one of the most famous zoos in the world or have every animal in its stock but it is very well looked after and a credit to the department that runs it and I thoroughly recommend it.