What to do besides your study: The Zoo
Christmas holidays at Wageningen provide a great opportunity for students to explore new places, especially international folks like me. This Christmas, I had a chance to visit Belgium with my fiancée. Unlike other tourists, we have an odd sense of exploring. We prefer zoos over monuments.
After touring Brussels and its streets, my fiancée dragged me to a famous zoo in Antwerp that is close to the Central railway station. It was a beautiful experience. After a long and pretty exhausting tour of 3 and a half hours, I must say that this was a very enlightening experience for me. The Antwerpen zoo has made sections according to geographical regions and each section boasts of its own flora and fauna. From arctic fox to Savanah lions to exotic amazon birds, this zoo had a great collection. Though animals don’t like being caged, it provides us opportunity to study closely, various animals in their artificially prepared “natural” habitats (that’s ridiculous!). When we visited the Antwerpen zoo, it was hosting a Chinese light and decoration festival. The artistic theme of east reminded me of old Chinese movies.
Another zoo that I had a chance to visit these holidays is that in Rotterdam called as “Diergaarde Blijdorp”. It is one of the oldest zoos in The Netherlands. It has various sections that almost represents whole of the wild life as we know it and even some from the marine ecology. From Asian Swamps to African deserts to South American culture, this zoo also has many fascinating and beautiful animals to boast. On top of that, the reason this zoo caught my attention, was its participation in various wildlife breeding programs for conservation of animals and birds (endangered species). They are doing a great service globally in preserving our biodiversity.
The containments are made with great deal of study and efforts and it is a very commendable job. Sadly, most of us don’t know much of the behind the scenes picture of what goes on in the zoo, but I can assure you from my own experience that it is a very scientifically driven work. There are various people involved in making this zoo as we see it and we must recognize their efforts.
If you are to visit any zoo with your children, friends or other family members, please take some time to read what they have put up on boards adjoining the animal exhibits. These boards, though seemingly trivial, have a whole lot of information that can be fun to read and remember.
If I have kept you interested so far, here is a list of zoos that are very near to Wageningen and easily approachable. I can assure you that you will not be disappointed if you plan a trip to one or more zoos in The Netherlands.
List of Zoos in Netherland:
- Artis Royal Zoo: Situated in Amsterdam. It is the oldest zoo in Holland.
- Diergaarde Blijdorp: Rotterdam zoo.
- Apenhaul: Revolutionary zoo where you can interact with monkeys/ primates. Situated to the east of Amersfoort.
- Dieren Park: Amersfoort. Don’t miss the dinosaurs’ statues.
- WILDLANDS Adventure Zoo: Emmen. Polar, desert and other ecologies.
- Ouwehands Zoo: Near Rhenen. Don’t miss the “Elements” show (Sea Lions)
- Pieterburen Seal Sanctuary: Seal Rehabilitation and Research Centre (SRRC) in Pieterburen.
- Burger’s zoo: in Arnhem. Part of a conservation park.
- Safaripark Beekse Bergen: the largest wildlife zoo in the Benelux. Located in Hilvarenbeek.
- Gaia Zoo: South Limburg.
- Reptile House de Arde: In Breda. Large conservation project of reptiles.
- Zooparc Overloon: Small Zoo in Overloon.
- Natuurpark Lelystad: Situated in Lelystad. Relatively new zoo. Nice of walking/ cycling.
- Aqua Zoo Friesland: In leeuwarden.
This list is not complete but good enough to start. Maybe you can add more to the list. Visiting a zoo is a relaxing and exhilarating experience. It is great for family as well as kids. Do try this “Eco-tourism”.
Disclaimer: All Photos were taken by me. Hence no source is added to the pictures.