>So our Penang travel plans were scuppered. Thanks to KH’s last-minute mega project, we could not go all the way to Penang (it would take too long). So we did the next best thing and headed for the familiar – Melaka.
This trip, we decided to pop in to the Melaka Zoo – something we said we would do for years, and we’ve been coming to Melaka for more than 10 years now, but just never got round to.
t was a humid and hot Sunday afternoon when we got there. The place was crowded with mostly Malay families.
Entry fee was RM7 for adults and I think half price for kids. Which delighted my stingy-poker of a husband no end since he kept gloating gleefully that this was less than half the price of entry to the Singapore Zoo.
It was hot, I was sleepy and lethargic after a big dim sum brunch and in no mood to tackle the Melaka Zoo. Plus I was wearing my battered look with the left side of my face puffy, red and full of pus.
So I was less than enthusiastic when KH – and the kids – pestered me to go to the Zoo. “After all,” he reasoned “we are almost out of places to go in Melaka already!” That man even wanted to try the Ayer Keroh Recreational Park first but I put my foot down. The heat!
Let me say that the Melaka Zoo is sprawling. I did not know this. Had I known just how big the place is, I would have dug my heels in and said no.
We walked. And walked. And walked the whole loop, which I later discovered to be more than 5km in length! In the heat!
The zoo looked familiar – Singapore Zoo in the 70s and 80s! The enclosures were simple, no frills and there was none of the carefully cultivated landscapes you see in the Singapore Zoo but nonetheless, it was very green and leafy. And while I moaned about it initially, the walk was rather pleasant. The Zoo had an impressive range of animals – no lions but lots of tigers! Caught fresh from the neighbourhood maybe?
The highlight were the rides. In Singapore, we stay away from the rides – at a cut-throat price of $5 per head, this can easily add up. When you have five kids and all hankering for rides on an assortment of four-legged critters, the money easily adds up very quickly. This time though, with the elephant ride costing RM2 per head, the kids happily had a gala time.
Unlike the Singapore Zoo, wisely or unwisely depending on your perspective, the elephant ride trail was not bordered by fence or shrubbery so you could literally get really up close to the animal. So we had good shots – even a bonus National Geographic moment as the elephant stopped in mid-walk and emptied the contents of his cavernous bowel and bladder – AT THE SAME TIME. I used to think that only I could do that. With the path now nicely watered with gallons of elephant pee – and I kid you not, it’s exactly like turning on a tap full blast, none of the polite tinkle-tinkle thank you! – the big guy hitched up and carried on with his saunter round the track.
Feeling generous with the RM2 per head elephant ride, we gallantly offered the kids what was previously forbidden fruit – the pony rides. But the heat and the suspicion that we had a long way more to walk drove even the kids to forgo the rides and to trudge on.
Passed the antelopes and 23 different types of deer, lazy buffalo, rhino (with a cat – yes, street cat – gingerly staking out a corner of the enclosure!) an assortment of primates, tiny furry mammals with big eyes that all look alike after a while, birds (yes, it was a 2 for 1 deal – bird park + zoo! Which drove stingy poker of a husband into greater ecstasies since he discovered what great value the Melaka zoo was proving to be) , flamingoes, tortoises, comatose crocs and big cats, we finally came to end. Phew! At which time I discovered the gradual burning heat I was experiencing was not because of sunstroke but because I was nursing a fever of 38.7deg!
So now you know. We went so you don’t have to. But if you run out of places to go in Melaka, fancy a walk among beasts, don’t mind the heat, and like any good kiamsiap Singaporean who loves a good bargain and want to fulfil your deepseated but thus far denied fantasies of multiple animal rides, the Melaka Zoo is really not a bad place to start.