NileGuide Expert Says:
Cuddle and play with lion and tiger cubs for $5 up at the snack bar.
Camino al Eden 700
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
tel: (322) 228 0501
fax: (322) 228 0957
NileGuide Expert tip:
Arachnophobes beware! There are massive (but harmless) spiders all over the property, particularly in the restrooms. Tall folks, watch your heads as they spin giant and intricate webs in the trees and doorways.
The Puerto Vallarta zoo (Zoologico de Vallarta) is truly a unique experience. This fairly small zoo rests up in the hills above Mismaloya, set back just off Hwy. 200. Once a private zoo, it has been open to the public for a while now and does brisk business in trading large cats with other facilities around the world. The zoo regularly has cubs of endangered or dwindling species, such as white tigers and jaguars.
It costs around $10 to enter the zoo and for an additional $5, you can purchase a bag of treats to feed the animals. The bag lists the type of food and shows a picture of the animals you should feed it to. Unlike American zoos with large Plexiglas shields and concrete moats, you'll be up close and personal with almost every animal here. Granted the massive lions at the first exhibit are wisely kept away from curious tourists, but you'll easily be as close as you'd ever want to be to these great cats. Because there's a mating program here, you might be lucky enough to hear the lion's roar while you're on the property. It's one of the most awesome and exciting sounds you can hear in person!
You'll be able to hand-feed flamingos, zebras, giraffes and even black bears! They love animal crackers, by the way. While the conditions aren't excellent for some of the animals, the zoo isn't going anywhere soon, so take heart that they truly do use all of the money they take in for the care of the animals and habitat improvements.
Open Daily 10am - 6pm
Photo by Robin Noelle