Head To This Vandalur Zoo This Weekend To Spot White Tigers & Himalayan Black Bears
What Makes It Awesome
Known as the “Madras Zoo” when it was opened in 1855, Arignar Anna Zoological Park or commonly known as the Vandalur Zoo was established on the grounds of the Government Central Museum of Madras. The director of the museum persuaded the Nawab of the Carnatic to donate his animal collection to the museum and thus grew the zoo. Because of the growing size of the zoo, it was moved around a lot through the city of Madras before it was moved to the Vandalur Reserve Forest. In 1985, after years of construction, the zoo was reopened and was named after Annadurai and then became known as the Arignar Anna Zoological Park.
Said to be the largest zoological park in the country, the zoo also has a rescue and rehabilitation centre where abandoned wild animals are taken care of. It also houses around 1,500 wild species (including 46 endangered species) and over 1,265 acres of flora and fauna of different species. Vandalur Zoo also has a large number of mammals like the White Tiger And Himalayan Black Bear, birds (the flightless bird from Australia – Rhea), reptiles, amphibians, fish and insects in the park, which explains why it is so popular and so large. Since it was built within the Reserve Forest, the zoo still maintains the vegetation that is popular to this part of the country.
All of the animals in the park are housed within enclosures, giving them enough room to move around and make it their home, but also keeping them safe from visitors. There is a lion park that covers about 74 acres and is a 15-minute drive into the safari. When visiting the lion park, you might not get to see all the lions at once, but the lions are visible during the drive. A deer park is also open where you can see Sambar, the Spotted and Barking deer. For those who enjoy elephants, you can take a ride on the back an elephant for a tour around the zoo.
Vandalur Zoo is closed on Tuesday, however, you can visit it o any other day of the week from 9 am to 6 pm. Avoid going in the afternoon as animals might be asleep. Morning time is the best time to head there as animals will be active and roaming around. You can even get a glimpse of a tiger being fed by a zookeeper! They also have a reptile house (also known as a serpentarium), an amphibian house, a crocodile enclosure, primate house and even an aquarium. you can opt for a battery-operated vehicle to tour around the place if walking is getting you exhausted. It will cost INR 100 for an adult and INR 50 for a child.
The entry ticket for an adult is INR 75 and for a child below 12 years old is INR 35.
The zoo also has a Prehistoric Animal Park and a Zoo School where they have programmes on conservation, education, and awareness, along with zoo outreach and volunteer programs for people to join! Photography charges are INR 25 and for a video cam, it is INR 500.
it may take around 4-5 hour to cover the entire area of the zoo so start early in the morning. The nearest railway station is the Vandalur station. You can take the Chengalpat local train that starts from Chennai Beach.