Photo by Wuan.
Photo by Wuan.
Photo by Wuan.
Believe it or not that I have never been to Zoo Negara the 42 years of my life until last Thursday? The first zoo that I visited was the one at Penang Botanic Gardens when I was still a teenager. It was a mini zoo with kangaroos, wallabies, mousedeers, honey bears, deers and the two most famous resident orang utans called Impu and Impi.
There were also the pesky Long-Tailed Macaques that roamed the gardens and have no qualms in stealing food and whatever they could get their grubby paws on. I remember very well the Macaques running off with the windshield wiper of Dad’s car when we visited the place once. The only other zoo that I visited was the Lok Kawi Wildlife Park in Sabah last year.
So Wuan took me to Zoo Negara last Thursday. It was very hot when we arrived. I got to get in for free while Wuan paid the normal RM15 entrance fee. The zoo was generally accessible except for certain places like the path to the Ape Centre which had a rather steep gradient, the accessible toilet that I wanted to use which had a small step and the uneven surfaces on some stretches of the tarred road. Nevertheless, it was a pleasant experience wandering around the park enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of the flora and fauna.
The Pacific Sutera’s Boleh Café serves a scrumptious spread of buffet breakfast. There were Asian, Continental and Western fare to tickle every taste bud there is. Our hunger was thoroughly satiated by the time we were through. I cannot recall the last time I had such a heavy breakfast as my first meal of the day is usually lunch.
The landscape of the hotel was unique especially with its Oriental-themed lily pond overlooking the sea. It was drizzling but that did not deter us from traipsing all over the grounds and generally enjoying the sights, photo opportunities and the salty smell of the clammy sea breeze.
We did not have anything planned for our trip to Kota Kinabalu except the bloggers meet that Dee had organised later in the evening. Over dinner the previous evening, Nico suggested that we visit the zoo after breakfast. That was one of the more accessible places in Kota Kinabalu. I have never been to a zoo before and was eager to see with my own eyes the legendary proboscis monkeys of Sabah. I first read about the proboscis monkeys from The Adventures of Tintin when I was in primary school. I actually wondered if that weird creature with its prominent nose really existed back then.
Nico drove while I took the passenger seat. Wuan, Rosalynn, Justin and Sabrina crammed into the backseat. A short distance from the resort was a colony of stilt houses similar to those around the clan jetties in Penang. The road to the zoo huddled reclaimed coastline in some stretches on one side and gave us a view of the relatively unspoilt beauty of Kota Kinabalu on the other.
The zoo is known as the Lok Kawi Wildlife Park. The aviaries housed talkative mynahs, owls, noisy parrots, showy peafowls, hornbills and emus. There were also an endangered clouded leopard that that looked miserable in an enclosure, elephants swaying like Stevie Wonder, tigers with huge paws, sun bears lazing in the afternoon heat, playful orang utans and bashful proboscis monkeys.
It was a fascinating experience. That was my first time visiting a wildlife park like this save for the mini zoo that the Penang Botanical Gardens once ran thirty years ago. I told myself that I was going to make Wuan take me to Zoo Negara when we got back to Kuala Lumpur. Just as we were about to leave, the wind picked up and a deluge followed. We thanked our lucky stars for making it just in the nick of time.