Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Your Zoo in the City: Ark Avilon Zoo


Whenever we need a quick fix for zoo activity, the first place that comes to mind is Ark Avilon, an indoor mini-zoo located in Frontera Verde (near Tiendesitas), 10 minutes away from the concrete jungle of Ortigas. Ark Avilon is operated by the Avilon Wildlife Conservation Foundation, the same group that operates Avilon Zoo in Rodriguez, Rizal.


As an early summer treat for my 2 year old son, my wife and I decided to take him to Ark Avilon last Saturday, March 18, 2017. We arrived around 10:30 am, and as expected, there's not much zoo visitors. This is one of the things I love about this place (but something they probably don't want :P). It doesn't get crowded, so you can comfortably walk around and view the animals at your own pace.

Ark Avilon Zoo - EagleArk Avilon Zoo - Eagle

Ark Avilon Zoo - Eagle
The 3 eagles that welcome Ark Avilon Zoo visitors

Inspired by "Noah's Ark", the zoo has 2 levels. The first level features in separate glass cages a white tiger, leopard, jaguar, and sun bear. They have an aquarium for penguins, but it seems that the cuties are on vacation.

Ark Avilon Zoo - White Tiger
White Tiger (Panthera tigris)
Ark Avilon Zoo - Jaguar
Jaguar (Panthera onca)
Ark Avilon Zoo - Javan Leopard
Javan Leopard (Panthera pardus melas)
Ark Avilon Zoo - Sun Bear
Sun Bear (Helarctos malayamus)

Also in the first level, visitors can see meerkats, prairie dogs, crocodiles, and a variety of birds.

Ark Avilon Zoo - Meerkat
Meerkat
Ark Avilon Zoo - Crocodile
Crocodile
Ark Avilon Zoo - Nicobar Pigeon
Nicobar Pigeon (Caloenas nicobarica)

The second floor features more bird varieties, as well as a couple of snake species.

Ark Avilon Zoo - Papuan Hornbill
Papuan Hornbill (Rhyteciros plicatus)
Ark Avilon Zoo - Green Imperial Pigeon
Green Imperial Pigeon (Ducula aenea)
Ark Avilon Zoo - Pied Imperial Pigeon
Pied Imperial Pigeon (Ducula bicolor)
Ark Avilon Zoo - Snake
One of the snake species available

This is also where visitors can experience feeding rabbits, guinea pigs, goats, sheep, pigs, donkey, and tortoises. Feeds cost ₱50 for a piece of carrot or several stems of talbos ng kamote (sweet potato tops). I know it's a bit expensive, just treat it as donation to the zoo, and also as payment for the experience. :P

Ark Avilon Zoo - Rabbit Feeding
Rabbits
Ark Avilon Zoo - Guinea Pig Feeding
Guinea Pigs
Ark Avilon Zoo - Barbados Blackbelly Sheep
Barbados Blackbelly Sheep (Ovis aries)
Ark Avilon Zoo - Pygmy Boer Goat
Pygmy Boer Goat
Ark Avilon Zoo - Barbados Blackbelly Sheep
Barbados Blackbelly Sheep (Ovis aries)
Ark Avilon Zoo - Domestic Sheep
Domestic Sheep (Ovis aris)
Ark Avilon Zoo - Bornean Pygmy Pigs
Bornean Pygmy Piglets (Sus salvanius)
Ark Avilon Zoo - African Spurred Tortoise
African Spurred Tortoise (Geochelone sulcata)

Also in the second level, visitors can interact and get up close with the donkey, python, orangutan and variety of birds, and have pictures taken with them for ₱50 (per animal).

Ark Avilon Zoo - Picture taking with the birds
Photo op with colorful birds

If you don't want to shell out   ₱50, you can just take a quick selfie with them (it seems that the zoo keepers are not that strict after all).

Ark Avilon Zoo - Donkey Selfie
Selfie with a donkey

For more pictures from our trip, click here.


Recommendation

The ₱500 entrance fee is a bit steep for something that you can easily finish in less than an hour. To save on costs and make the tickets more affordable, you can buy them online via www.avilonzoo.ph to get 50% discount (special promo).  Alternatively, you can buy tickets from MetroDeal for ₱259 per person, in case the special promo is not available in the Avilon website.

MetroDeal Ark Avilon Zoo Promo

I'm satisfied with Ark Avilon and I'm glad that it's still around. I first visited it in 2009 with my then girlfriend (who is now my wife), and now, we're visiting it with our kid. For sure, we'll be back here pretty soon.

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