The Zoologico de Cali is the number one thing to do in Cali, according to Lonely Planet, so after months of talking about it, we finally got it together and went there! The zoo is a ten minute cab ride from my apartment, so Kelsi, Hana and I headed over there on Sunday afternoon. We paid $9.500 pesos to get in, which is sort of expensive for Colombian standards, but is an awesome price in comparison with US zoos. The Cali Zoo features tons of animals that I had never seen in the zoo before, or ever in real life, so I really enjoyed walking around, even if I not much of an "animal person".
In walking around the zoo I was so impressed by the gorgeous landscaping, nicely paved paths and helpful signs! The paths of the zoo are in better condition than the Cali roads - with better signage too!
Kelsi and I at the entrance to the zoo.
Some of the gorgeous landscaping at the zoo.
Who knew? The Rio Cali runs right through the zoo and twists around the grounds - so cool!
How cool is this? A sign shows the differences between the "hands" and "feet" of primates...including humans.
However, the zoo was not all cheery fun for everyone. After about three hours at the zoo it became apparent that Colombians do not understand zoo etiquette. In all of my trips to the zoo over the years, I have always assumed the "norms" at the zoo were understood and accepted by all. I consider these "norms" to be things like:
- Do not feed the animals.
- Do not climb on the animals' cages.
- Do not throw trash in, around, or near the animal cages.
- Do not pick up your children so they can climb or sit on the animal cages.
- Do not taunt the animals or bang on their cages.
- Do not touch the animals.
- Keep large, dangerous animals in appropriately sized cages.
- Repair any damage to animal cages immediately.
Well, apparently Colombians are not all about the zoo etiquette. Rather, they blatantly ignore ALL RULES.
Sign at the entrance to the zoo...listing what the rules were supposed to be. Loosely translated this sign says respect the environment, gardens and cages which are designed for your protection. Avoid hitting the glass on the exhibits. Do not feed the animals, they have special diets. Do not throw objects at the animals, as this may hurt them.
We started to notice that not all was secure about our zoo experience when we found this huge brown bear asleep in a cage with about an 8 foot wall around it. Hmmm....shouldn't it be higher??
Yes, small child, please climb the fence, wave your little mask thing at the animal as it sticks its arm out the cage. Where were the parents, you ask??? VIDEOTAPING!! At least they will have their sons mauling on tape to show the grandparents.
More mask trouble. Little girl drops her mask in the llama cage? No worries, Dad will hoist himself over the wall to retrieve it as Mom looks on.
Sure, feed the llamas with random brush leaves. Hold your child while you do it. Brilliant.
Cute, now this snake can cuddle up with this plastic soda bottle.
***Disclaimer: This really was the only trash I saw in or near any cages, so it is not at all the norm at the Cali Zoo, but we were already so amused by all the other broken rules, that I had to photograph.
Perfect - feed the bird some of your chips. Lovely.
Well, this looks secure. Solid crack down the viewing window of this animals cage - I'm sure it will be fine, its just a Bengal tiger. Wikipedia, source of all legit information tells me, "Tigers are known to not like the presence of humans in their territory, since they like to be alone." Fantastic.
Despite all zoo adversities, we prevailed and the entire day was a fabulous outing. I love playing tourist in the city I live in and discovering new spots in Cali is so fun!
Here's hoping your weekend was full of equally amusing ridiculous-ness.