We had our next stop at Arignar Anna Zoological Park, which has the reputation of being the first zoo in India and was established in 1835 in the Moore market area. Later on, it was shifted to Vandalore Reserve Forest located on the outskirts of the city to protect the animals from pollution, congestion and other health hazards. It is about 30 km from the city and is reachable by bus and train. We had the cab arranged and reached the park by 9.30 am. The park is open from 9 am to 8 pm on all days, except for Tuesdays
As we entered the park, we saw that there was enough parking space to park the vehicles. Already tourists were flocking the entrance and we got down to take the entry ticket. The entry fee was Rs.30 per person and Rs.10 for children between 5 and 12 years. We checked at the entrance and learnt that they offered lion safaris and jeep safaris and elephant safaris. They also provided vehicles to take a round of the zoo. We opted for lion safari and booked tickets. We were told to come back after two and a half hours to go for the lion safari. In the mean time, we decided to explore the zoo.
There were many walking trails and sign boards at junctions to guide the visitors in the park. We took a trail that lead to the aviary and soon reached the spot to view different species of birds. Another attraction in the park was the white tiger comprising of three males and six females. We could see only three of them and they looked very majestic and royal. We also visited the serpentarium, ostrich enclosure and the aquarium resembling a shark. Soon it was time to go for the lion safari and we reached the entrance. The caged bus was already there and we got in. As the bus sped past we came across many lions, some of which came very close to the bus. They were not at all bothered about the bus and went on with their own activities. The visit to Arignar Anna Zoological Park was really a treat to a nature lover like me.