Saturday, January 7, 2023

A day at the Mumbai Zoo - Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan And Zoo - Review

The Mumbai Zoo at Byculla was renovated a couple of years back and ever since it has been on my bucket list to visit with my kid. The zoo is very close to Byculla railway station, and they also have parking within the premises so you can choose your mode of transport accordingly.

Before I tell you more about the experience at the zoo, here are some things you should carry:

  • A refillable bottle of water. There are many points across the space where you can fill your bottle. Avoid carrying/buying/discarding plastic bottles - to help reduce waste.
  • Cap/Sunglasses. Make the kids wear caps as they will be walking for 3-4 hours and Mumbai noons and afternoons are hot throughout the year. 
  • Some food for your li'l one. If you have a small kid and you don't want them to eat outside, you can carry food for them. Per the official rules bringing outside food is not allowed, but no one checked when we went.
  • Taking photos using a phone camera is free, if you're carrying a professional camera you need to pay Rs.100 for the same. I suggest you carry your power bank too since the battery may drain over the hours.
  • Wear comfortable clothes and shoes as you will be walking a lot.
  • The ticket counter and all other food courts/stalls mostly accept cash, make sure you're carrying change. 

Now, here is what we liked at the zoo:

  1. The zoo is well maintained and was not dirty, even after being crowded. There is a map at the entrance which makes it easy to navigate your way through the area. 
  2. There are nice trivia and information regarding the flora and fauna - easy to understand for kids as well. Both in English and Hindi.
  3. Plenty of places to sit to get some rest when tired, also a cafe outside and a cafe inside the penguin area, should you want to grab a bite.
  4. The animals and birds are given ample space and water bodies, and activity areas so it doesn't feel like they're caged, even though they are.
  5. The cost of the ticket, and food overall is very reasonable and doesn't pinch your pocket.

Here is what we think could improve:

  1. It was very crowded, especially with school groups at the zoo. Ideally, tickets should be given in hourly slots so that there is not a huge crowd at attractions like the Tiger and Penguins.
  2. I couldn't find too many staff members or helpers to guide or manage crowds. A few attractions like Lion's area were under renovation but there was no board to inform you regarding the same and you just waited around wondering if the Lion is there inside.
  3. The penguins have a special air-conditioned area, and here I felt the most disappointed because first, you need to get into a long queue and then you're only allowed a few seconds of glimpse and the security yell at you if you take pictures and ask you to quickly move ahead. Very much like how it is in famous temples. I guess they don't have an option on crowded days, again, maybe they should allow in hourly slots.
  4. You cannot book tickets online or in advance, and can only buy them at the ticket counter, so if you're going on a weekend, you will have to spend some time in the queue. I did not have to, there was a separate line for ladies. Also, Fridays, kids go free.

All in all, try to go on a weekday morning when they open, for the best experience! (They're closed on Wednesdays). If you found this helpful, do comment and share! 

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