Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Buenos Aires Zoo (Ken)

I had a rare weekday off of school today, so Helen and I went to the Zoo. El Jardin Zoológico is a short ride to Palermo on Colectivo #10. Twelve-and-a-half pesos (a bit more than US$4) gets you into this 45 acre urban zoo that was first built in 1874. An even less expensive general admission of $6.25 gets you into everything except the reptile house, aquarium, tropica rain forest, and boat ride. However, the boat was being repaired, so we didn´t get to set sail on the zoo´s pond.


The zoo is full of quirky buildings like an egyptian temple that houses the Miercat colony and a gothic aviary where the birds live. There is a pond that meanders through much of the compund and it is stocked with huge Japanese koi.


Remember the old days when you could feed the animals? You still can here. For $6 you can buy a small pail of approved food. They even provide troughs for kids to slide the food pellets to the waiting mouths of the camels and zebras. You can even throw peanuts to the elephants if you brought some. Some cages have signs saying not to feed these animals unauthorized food, and some animals are not to be fed at all. Everyone seems to follow the rules and there is an attentive and courteous staff to make sure the animals and visitors are all kept safe.

There is a small aquarium with some nice exhibits. The Megelanic penguins are always a hit. It was realy fun to hear the litte Porteño kids scream "Nemo!" when they saw the clown fish.

Recently, this zoo made world news for its successful breeding of white tiger cubs. This is the best angle I could get. They were tucked in a shady corner away from the summer heat and there was some glare on the glass. But they are getting big. Mom was back there keeping them clean.

There are plenty of consession stands that, curiously, do not sell empanadas. Hotdogs adn hamburgers were the main item. Unlike in the USA, a fella can get a beer at the zoo, though. You gotta love that. You also have to admire the inginuity of the Argentine salesman. A man was selling cheaper-than-on-the-inside icecream from a cooler on the street through the fence. He had a rod with a bag on the end. Kids would put their money in the bag. He would take it, make change, and he would put the icecream in the bag and poke it back through the fence.

As always, the most fascinating exhibit are the chimpanzees. Since they share something like 99% of our DNA, these little guys are something to watch. We got there just in time to see them get fed. The keepers first threw heads of lettuce to each of the three, a male, a female, and a young one. Then came bananas, ears of corn, peaches, apples, and baguettes.
By the time the food was all there, the female had vegetables and fruit in both hands and both feet and walked around like that. They made sure each got a decent share. Then, each chimp picked out a spot to eat. The male then displaced the little one and the female moved into the male´s spot where she picked through his leavings. At one point, the youngster screamed at the female until she gave up some food. He quited down after that.

We had a nice day at the zoo, now I have homework to do to get ready for tomorrow's class.


Chas said...

I guess the 1% of DNA that the chimps don't share with us contains the gene that controls back-waxing.

Mia said...


Looks like the zoo got a makeover. Nice. It wasn't this colorful before, but the animals always seemed to be well cared for. I'd go to the zoo at least once a week, even as a young adult. My house was just a few long blocks away (Avenida Libertador y Cavia, opposite the lovely Plaza Alemania). Loved to visit the Botanical Garden, as well. Lots of cats and lots of little old ladies feeding them.

Nick said...

I've been to the buenos aires zoo my self. And i gotta say it was really good. As part of my buenos aires tours i also went to the temaiken Zoo in Escobar (50 mins trip) and also to the Lujan Zoo (it's like a 2 hours trip to get there). Those 2 are really good, but the thing about them is the long trip.