Ever wondered how the life of wild looks like, ever worried about an animal going to be endangered or ever felt for a species becoming extinct from this face of the earth. If the answer is “Yes” then you are a true Animal enthusiast and what would be a better place for you to spend some time among them. No no, I’m not talking starting a life in a jungle nearby but spending some time in that atmosphere with your loved ones seems a good idea right! To make your wish come true there are many wildlife sanctuaries and zoological parks around the country. If you are a person living in Chennai specifically one place stands out among all it is “Arignar Anna Zoological park” also known as Vandalur Zoo.
Established in 1855 by Edward Green Balfour the then director of the Government Central Museum at Madras. He convinced the Nawab of the Carnatic to donate his entire animal collection to the museum started by them thus forming the Madras Zoo. In 1975 the zoo could no longer expand and was shifted out of the city around 31 km away from Chennai to be in specific in Vandalur.
The park is spread over 1490 acres making it one of the biggest in the country. There are more than 165+ species ranging from mammals, aviaries and reptiles exhibited in the park.
The park is surrounded by the dense Vandalur reserve forest which supplies the perfect balance and environment for the flora and fauna in the zoo. This is also one of the reasons they named the park “Vandalur Zoo”.
Due to its diverse and vast fields, you can actually find some of the rare species in this park Asiatic lion, white tigers, bison, ostriches are some of the species to name some.
Due to the vast area to cover the park might be a plan for an entire day. Recommended time would be early in the day, as the park is an open space affair beware of the heat. Planning a trip around the park in hot summer months would make it a stressful experience rather than a joyous one. February month would be an apt month to visit.
Weekends are filled with tourists and locals being one of the major tourist attractions to avoid the crowd you can sure take a day off all the stress and enter this new world.
As it is located in the city there are various means of transportation which would let you access the park without much strain. The local train would be an ideal one costing minimal and leaving just a kilometre walk away from the park at Vandalur station.
Inside the park, various transports are provided for your comfort namely bicycles and also golf buggy which is charged on a little bit expensive side per hour.
The food problem
One of the major downsides of this park is the fact that you are not allowed to carry your own food from outside into the park. Officials might have their own reasons but the part that there aren’t much food options available inside the park makes it as one of the cons. You need to prepare yourselves mentally to visit the park with limited supplies of food water inside the park.
But on the flip side, the atmosphere of the park will let you forget the strains on a correct day. People haven’t stopped themselves from visiting this park due to these cons neither they are going to do so in the near future.
Animals for the rescue
One thing is for sure the trip around the park is worth all the tautness. The wide range of animals across the park gives you a feeling of freshness. The first time visitors might also have chills seeing wild creatures. The cute white tiger cubs (a recent addition to the park) would absolutely steal your attention for sure.
Apart from tiger cubs, there are numerous species of animals ranging from barking deer, sambar, blackbuck, nilgai, sangai, hog deer and many more.
There is a space for birdlife as well inside the park which many consider as the center of attraction. Due to the fact that this bird park consists more than 80 species of birds making it an eye-pleasing affair to say the least.
The recent stats suggest the 2.04 million people visited the zoo in the year 2018-2019. This number indicates the popularity of the park among the visitors. Being a zoo in the city outskirts this park just drives in people with ease.
The experience is everlasting with a day in your life dedicated to the wildlife that would never go wrong. There are many student clubs and environmental programs situated in the park which makes it a place of learning too. The commercial stalls inside the park too add to the experience making it a worthy decision.