Monday, April 14, 2008

Rizal: Avilon Zoo in Rodriguez, Rizal

Avilon Zoo is the best zoo within the vicinity of Metro Manila. At 7.5 hectares, it's also the largest in the country. As Manila Zoo continues to deteriorate (what do you expect from a government zoo that lacks the proper funding for rehabilitation), it is these private endeavors that fill in for the need for quality recreational and educational facilities for Filipinos. Since it was a holiday last April 7, my family planned a visit to Avilon Zoo as soon as I arrived from Tablas.

Getting there was a bit confusing since there was a lack of visible directional signs from San Mateo. You had to proceed to the town proper of Rodriguez (formerly Montalban) and from there, you could ask around how to get to the zoo. The first directional sign I noticed was away from the National Highway where they should have been to help visitors locate the park.

We finally arrived at Avilon Zoo after passing through a dirt road. I expected the municipal government to have cemented this road long before given that Avilon was one of the town’s major attractions. We spent PHP208 each for entrance and it’s a good thing that they accept credit cards.

At the time of our visit, there were some parts of the zoo undergoing renovation in order to improve the facilities but overall, the design and theme was great. Mom said it reminded her of Animal Kingdom in Orlando, Florida.

Check out the close encounters with the animals. I had a chance to interact with several birds of prey including an owl and an eagle, while Bettina got to ride on George the pony for a photo opportunity. They usually charge PHP50 for this. But the funny experience was with Camille the orangutan who was really playful. She would reach for your hand and if you would oblige, she would give you a hug, or in my case, climb up so you could carry her like a little kid.

The zoo has most of the animals that can usually be found in zoos, like lions, a tiger and other large cats, monkeys and other primates, and birds among many others. But it did not have a giraffe, zebra or elephant. But overall, the zoo is worth the visit especially if you have kids.

Avilon Zoo
The Avilon Montalban Zoological Park in San Isidro, Rodriguez, Rizal is usually open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can call them up to check their schedule.
+63 2 9418393
+63 2 9489866
+63 917 8995126
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