Thursday, July 04, 2013

Avilon Zoo v. Ark Avilon

Avilon Zoo and Ark Avilon are owned and operated by the same group.  Both facilities are extremely well-maintained and very clean.   However, considering Avilon Zoo is pretty far, let me just share some quick tips for parents who are thinking of bringing their kids to one or the other for the first time.  Caveat: our last time to visit Avilon Zoo was in 2011, so there may be some changes.   We were in Ark Avilon just last weekend

Avilon Zoo

Avilon Zoo in 2011, for Laz's 3rd birthday
Pros
- Expansive grounds.  As in, the place is huge.  (Bigger than Zoobic Safari, for comparison).  All the animal cages/pens are well-maintained and very clean; as is the entire park.  Quite impressive, and a far cry from Manila Zoo, hehe.
- More animals in Avilon Zoo than Ark Avilon, for obvious reasons.  No giraffes or hippos or rhinos, but lots of tigers and other cats, snakes, and everything else in between.
- There's a food court area for meals and drinks by the entrance, and another one inside the park (just hotdogs and chips though, for the food place inside).
- Pony rides, and photos with birds and chimps.
- You can literally spend an entire day there.  It's not the Antwerp Zoo but it's well worth the visit.

The first time Laz got to "visit" Avilon Zoo was when he was a wee bean in my tummy.
I was 13 weeks and 1 day pregnant with him in this picture, back in 2008!
Cons
- It's in Montalban, Rizal.  We went there on a Saturday morning, and I'm from Antipolo already, but with the traffic in Montalban proper, and finding the place, it took us 3 hours.  But!  That was because we took the Marikina-Montalban route.  It may be faster if you pass Commonwealth.
- It's soooooo hot.   Last time we went November, thinking it might be cooler, but nooooo, it wasn't.
- There are absolutely no options as to where to eat.  The zoo is in the middle of nowhere, there are no decent restaurants nearby.  Your only option is that eatery by the entrance, food is so-so, nothing great.
- There are no trams or trolleys or golf carts.  If you want to see the whole park, you have to walk.
- Not all areas of the zoo are stroller friendly.  For instance, to get to the crocodile enclave, you have to go up and down a number of stone stairs.

Lugging your stroller up these steps can be a challenge!!!

Ark Avilon

Laz got to visit Ark Avilon during my firm's outreach on 29 June 2013!
Pros
- Covered, so you can enjoy the ark even on a rainy day.  And obviously, since it's covered, it's not as hot as Avilon Zoo.
- Since the area is much smaller, younger kids can easily run around and see everything.
- There's a play and explore area on the 2nd floor.
- More accessible, since it's right beside Tiendesitas and the Fun Ranch.  (Ergo: more dining options, plus there's The Grove and Libis right nearby).

This place is a great way to spend a Saturday morning with your kiddos!
Cons
- No pony rides, hehe.  But you can still get your photo taken with the birds and a chimp.
- It's a little stinky in the beginning, because the place is a bit enclosed, but it's regular old animal odor - your kids will get used to it!
- No food court like in Ark Avilon, but they do cater for parties and events (like during our firm outreach).
- Less animals, obviously.  (They have a tiger there though, and 2 or 3 other big cats, crocodiles or were those alligators?, lots of birds).

Conclusion

For kids 4 years old and below, I'd stick with Ark Avilon first.   Unless you want to spend the whole day carrying your kid in your arms when exploring Avilon Zoo.  For even younger kids, say 1 to 2 years old, Ark Avilon is more than enough.   Older kids will definitely get a kick out of Avilon Zoo, but be prepared with hats, even umbrellas, and plenty of water (bring your stroller even if you have to lug it up the stairs; beats lugging around your tired overexcited kid!).

For park rates, schedules, maps and other details, please visit their site here.  (I don't work there, so please go to the official sites for official questions.  I'm sorry if I have to say it that way, but man, since I posted about Anvaya Cove in the past, I still get questions, and even several FB messages, which would best be addressed to a sales agent or someone who actually works there!).

3 comments:

  1. Ooohhh I want to bring Miya to Ark Avilon :D thanks for this!

    PS Natawa ko sa disclaimer mo na you don't work there ahahaha!

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  2. Anna, can I make a special request, since you're sipag to blog these days :) ? Please blog about your Dumaguete-Siquijor trip. Pretty please! We're going there for Miya's birthday next year :)

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  3. Hey Cris - I'll try but can't promise - after my resignation na, when I have more free time. My main problem is this: I can't find my notes anymore! Hehehe.

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