Dusit Zoo, or ‘Khao Din’, is a fully-function animal park with facilities such as an animal hospital, zoo museum and educational centre, sightseeing train, activities ground and canteen. It houses some 2000 domestic and international animals, including albino barking deer and white Bengal tigers. Covering a total area of 188,800sqm, Dusit Zoo was Thailand‘s very first zoo and has been around for more than 70 years. It sits in the midst of Bangkok’s administrative centre, surrounded by important landmarks such as The Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall, Parliament and Chitralada Palace (King Rama IX’s official residence).
Animals from far and wide are featured at Dusit Zoo. Different types of monkeys, hippopotamus, alligators, tigers, and lions together with rare breeds (for Thailand) such as penguins, camels, wallabies, and kangaroos are kept here. Some other highlights include African Savanna, an area where giraffes, ostriches, and zebras roam, Nocturnal House, Reptile House, Pheasants Aviary, Hawks Exhibit, Elephants House, and an impressive Play Land, where many rides are available for your children’s laughs and giggles. The park also features an impressive lake, and at a very small fee, you can enjoy boat peddling and feeding the fish at the same time. There’s even a World War II underground shelter near the hippopotamus habitat – a good diversion for those interested in a bit of Thailand’s WW II history. Highly recommended is the Food Centre, a large and convenient cafeteria where a great variety of local dishes and desserts can be enjoyed. There are also a 7-Eleven, a KFC, a Mama (instant noodles) stand, ice cream parlours and refreshment kiosks dotted around the zoo. You can even bring your own food and have a picnic as there’s plenty of shady gardens and benches.
However, the nearly eight-decade-old zoo could be moving from its historical site as King Maha Vajiralongkorn has given 300 rai of land – the equivalent of nearly 120 acres – in Pathum Thani to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to build a new zoo. It will also be home to new offices for the Zoological Park Organization, which is currently operating at Dusit Zoo.
The zoo is home to tropical birds in the aviary, slithery reptiles and spindly spiders in the reptile house and furry friends from around the world including a rare white tiger. The zoological park also has a lake, equipped with fun pedal boats to cruise the waters after visiting the animals.
While the deputy director-general Suriya Saengpong said on Thursday the meeting being held next week would set a clear direction for the zoo, he avoided answering questions surrounding the zoo’s potential move.
The 120 acres of land gifted by the king to build a new zoo was one of nine plots given to government agencies to be used to develop public services.
Another idea to emerge since speculation of the zoo’s relocation began is that of building a ‘green zoo’. The idea is to build enclosures resembling the animals’ natural habitats and give them more space to roam.
Although the future of the zoo remains speculative for the time being, a spokesman has assured visitors that any rumors of the zoo’s immediate closure are entirely false, but a future relocation is definitive.