Why is the Beijing Zoo included in our list at all? The answer is only one: giant pandas! To be in China and not see these animals?
We had dreamed of going to Chengdu, where you can see these bears in a more natural setting, but this time we let go of the southern part of China and focused on Beijing and Xi’an and the surrounding area.
As a consolation, we decided to see pandas in Beijing, and we will go to the zoo, the Panda Museum and the Great Panda Research and Breeding Base in Chengdu next time, so that Olive will also have fun with it. And although we are no longer fans of visiting such places, the opportunity to see a real panda took priority.
Beijing Zoo and the giant panda
We took the subway (the best way to travel in Beijing) to the zoo, of course, on Line 4, the same line you can take to Summer Palace. The subway station where you have to get off is called Beijing Zoo, so you will definitely hit it ;)
Getting off the subway and walking through the corridors to the exit felt like being in another world. So far we’ve been to 3 metro stations and they were raw, see-through, crowded fact, but the wavezł, and here it was completely different. First of all, we saw a lot of children. Previously, children and strollers were scarce, and here there were quite a lot of them, and through this and squeezing through was difficult. Secondly, in the basement there are stores, kiosks and even pubs where you can get typical Chinese food. Third, the passageways are narrow and dark – you can see that this is one of the older metro stations. Interestingly, the station where you’d expect to see the most baby strollers, but no elevators (not even escalators in places!).
Once we got outside we stood directly in front of the entrance to the zoo. We expected something modern, renovated, done on a grand scale, around a lot of stalls, souvenir stores, and at the entrance a huge image of a panda, through whose maw you enter the zoo…. and here the entrance is like ours, only the entrance gate with gates is kind of bigger.
Entrance to the zoo costs 19 Yuan with entry to the part with giant pandas, which we specifically came here for (you can also buy a ticket to this part already inside, at the ticket office). There are queues to the cash registers but it goes smoothly until you have additional questions in English, because then it’s already a problem. Don’t count on them understanding you and getting along. It’s best to already have the amount deducted for tickets and not ask unnecessary questions (you won’t get any maps).
As befits China, the entire Beijing Zoo is very large (50,000 square meters!) and crowded with both people and animals (you’ll find about 7,000 animals here!). The numbers are impressive. Despite the fact that we were at noon, in the middle of the week, it was so cramped that it was sometimes difficult to walk through, to get to the animals, let alone get through with a stroller. Visitors include mostly families with children, but there are also adults, young couples and even seniors.
The real wild crowd, however, begins at the biggest attraction, the giant pandas. They have several catwalks here, and if you managed to see them on one, the next task was to push through the crowd of visitors, which was no longer so easy.
Fortunately, we had a secret weapon that instantly distracted everyone – that weapon was Olive :) That’s right, you read correctly. Well, our little traveler enjoyed an incredible and unflagging adoration ;) Chinese people were even crazy about her, they wanted to take pictures with her, look at her, and even touch her…. sometimes she was more popular than the aforementioned teddy bears….
But back to the pandas: here there is a real frenzy, children are glued to the windows, you can hear shouting, laughing, squealing, and the pandas are lying quietly doing nothing about this popularity.
On the zoo grounds you can, of course, buy a lot of souvenirs…. With pandas :)
We recommend you, in one of the pandas’ pavilions, to go upstairs, where there is a cafe, but by no means to drink coffee. Few people go there, and it is a place where you can quietly look down on the pandas and their lazy lives.
Unfortunately, apart from the pandas and perhaps the sheer size, the place does not elevate itself above other zoos. We were hoping to see a super, hyper modern zoo here, with the use of new technologies, where the animals feel “at home” and have conditions as close to natural as possible.
We were a bit disappointed, as the stalls and enclosures are rather small and modest, and the animals are lethargic, until we wondered if they were adding something to their food. Despite the fact that we saw someone cleaning every now and then, the windows to the cages and enclosures are soiled mercilessly and it is difficult to take even a good photo without fingerprints (they are even more soiled on the inside). Fact, we did not have the opportunity to walk through the entire garden, but what we saw gave the impression that, however, the focus here is on the comfort of visitors, not animals.
Also recommended in a similar topic:
– Orientarium Zoo Lodz,
– Zoo Wroclaw and the Afrykarium in Wroclaw,
– Gorlitz Zoo (Tierpark-Zoo),
– Leipzig Zoo,
– Singapore Zoo,
– Vienna Zoo,
– Loro Park, Tenerife,
– Great pandas in Chengdu, China,
– Pandas in China, where to go? Description of 3 centers.
As I mentioned at the beginning, the grounds of the Beijing Zoo are huge. There is time and space to also take a leisurely stroll, the alleys are very wide, and the whole area is generally well-kept. Just like at the Summer Palace, here too we ended up with flowering trees. A beautiful view.
If you get hungry, there are plenty of food stalls and restaurants on the grounds of the Beijing Zoo…. of course, if you will know what to order from the menu as below ;)
Is it worth visiting the Beijing Zoo?
It was great to see the pandas, but we probably would have enjoyed it more in Chengdu. Although we have fallen in love with these bears, they give the impression of being sad, lethargic, and the peak of their activity is to roll over from their backs to their stomachs and slowly chew bamboos. Ok, these animals are not very energetic by nature, but still the sight of them behind glass windows stained from little hands was a bit depressing.
We can only rejoice that giant pandas are no longer an endangered species (although their status is still ‘at risk of extinction’, this risk is no longer as high as before) and hope that maybe we will be able to see them one day in more natural conditions :)