Queens Park Zoological Gardens – Fascinating Wildlife
If you’re visiting East London with your children in tow, take a trip to the Queens Park Zoo and Gardens. This small but fascinating zoo houses a variety of animals to keep children and adults of all ages occupied for hours. Whether your children prefer reptiles, fish, birds or mammals, they’ll find something they like at the Queens Park Zoo. What’s more, the entry fee is kept as low as possible and so the outing is affordable for the whole family.
The East London Zoological Gardens, also known as Queens Park Zoo, is situated on the edge of 45 hectares of coastal forest. It encompasses roughly 10 hectares of land and the natural vegetation of the region permeates the zoo. The most common and outstanding plant found here are perhaps the numerous endangered cycads which are kept under careful management to ensure their survival. The park features a variety of animal life including 47 species of mammals, 38 species of birds and 7 species of reptiles. These include most of the big cats, chimpanzees, nyala, suricates, marmosets, bushbuck, blue duiker, leopard tortoises, koi fish and a variety of snakes.
One of the Queens Park Zoo’s most outstanding features is their collection of rare white lions. The Zoo’s first white lion cub, Remus, was born n 2002 to more normal brown parents who both carried the white lion gene. The zoo has been actively breeding with the pair since and by 2004 the zoo’s white lion population had grown to four. The pair continues to breed while the zoo looks for alternative white lion blood with which to breed their existing white lion offspring with.
Children are able to enjoy a hands-on experience when they visit the rabbits and chickens and feed them raw peanuts, which are sold at the entrance. They can also enjoy pony rides on the weekends and a ride on the Smartie Train with their parents. During the holiday season, a variety of holiday programs which specially cater towards children are organized. Children are given party food, pony rides a tour of the facility and full access to the jungle gym facilities. There is also sometimes a jumping castle for them to enjoy.
The Zoo is supported by FELZOO – the Friends of the East London Zoo organization – who raise and supply funds for the purchase of new animals and the building of new enclosures. They also run the night-tours and the behind-the-scenes tours and manage the kiosk and curio shop. FELZOO offers the opportunity to ‘adopt’ an animal for a period of 12 months at a minimal fee. They also organize a number of wholesome adult activities and offer their facilities for private functions. So next time you’re in East London, make a stop at this small but busy little zoo. It’s worth it.