The sun has a strong influence in my life. A warm sunny day transforms me from a person who loves to curl up on the sofa, watching TV and sipping on a hot cup of tea in the winter, to a moody teenager who hates staying at home and being a couch potato. The situation is getting worse since Moscow has lots of interesting places to visit. I feel overwhelmed when I need to choose one of them to go to. Normally I don’t choose at all. Instead, I usually take pot luck and choose the one recommended by Google.
But the zoo is another thing. To be honest, I don’t enjoy watching poor animals in cages, roaming around in a small space, suffering from the noise of visitors. Their resistance to such a disturbance is quite awe-inspiring for me. If I were one of the animals in those cages, I might roar or do something like that after finding that somebody threw a peanut at me in my own home.
In Indonesia, I used to go to the safari park. To me, a safari park is more animal-friendly than a zoo. But, here I don’t have any choice, so I finally gave in and agreed to stop by at the zoo. Moreover, in safari parks in Asia, we never have any opportunity to see animals such as polar bears, grizzly bears or foxes.
Where is the zoo and how do I get there?
Moscow zoo is situated not far from the center. From Okhotny Ryad metro station (in the heart of Moscow - red line), you just need to take the red line to Lubyanka and then change there, or the green line and change in Pushkinskaya to the purple line - Barrikadnaya or Krasnopresnenskaya. As you arrive there you will see the sign that leads you to the exit (Зоопарк - Zoopark).
The entrance is on Krasnaya Presnya Street where you can buy tickets directly from the booth. By checking the Moscow Zoo website before going (http://moscowzoo.su/), you might find interesting offers, for example a discount for the earliest person who visits this zoo or just a holiday discount.
What is there?
Animals, no question about it.
This zoo is divided into a few sections: African, European and Asian (correct me if I am wrong). It simplifies our exploration as the zoo is pretty big and if you have a bad sense of direction you will soon get lost and end up going around in circles.
As you enter through the main entrance, you will find a large man-made lake full of pink flamingos. Those cute animals can be encountered only in the summer because in winter they fly away to the south, just like us. To be blunt, the flamingos are not my favorite. They are cute, sweet, and pink, but birds are just birds.
After spending some time around the lake, we moved on to the ‘cages’. I didn’t like what I saw (actually, I never like it). The tigers (white, yellow) looked so lonely. They are well fed but still it’s pathetic to see how they can’t live with other tigers.
A stone's throw away from the tigers’ cages, I found other interesting creatures which I had heard of in stories but had never seen in real life. The cages looked empty but as soon as I looked more closely, my mouth opened wide in excitement: foxes, eagles, aaaand our stars of the day - BEARS and POLAR BEARS! Ah, we shouldn’t forget about the wolves as well. Sorry if I sound over-excited, but, really, that was my first encounter with them.
Watching the brown and black bears was so interesting. The brown one was busy sitting and pissing when we came along, while the black one was busy doing his prominent private business - sleeping. How about the polar bears? They had two polar bears: one male and one female, if I am not mistaken. As usual, the female was strolling around the cage while the male was busy gnawing a handful of snow and watching the visitors. Sounds familiar, doesn't it?
In Indonesia, we do have bears but they are other types of bears and not as big as the grizzlies (or polar bears, of course). If they are standing side by side, people might think that our bear is an underage bear (he would not be able to watch an 18+ movie at the cinema in Bearland).
Going to the Asian and African sections, you will meet giraffes, apes, orangutans and Gorilla.
Don’t forget about the birds!
My suggestion: It's so much better to arrive at the zoo around 8 AM (in summer). Not only will you not get mad standing in line for hours just to get tickets, but you will also get a different atmosphere and sensation as you enter the zoo with only a few people. I tried it and it made me feel like I was the owner of the zoo... or that the zoo is just my backyard.
FOR MOMS with stroller or kids: Don’t be afraid to leave your stroller and rent a small cart, made especially for kids, which you can pull all over the zoo.
Best time for a visit
Summer (obviously), Spring or Autumn. However, it’s important to remember that Autumn in Moscow means rain, rain, and more rain, almost all the time. If you are lucky, you will get a sunny warm day (sometimes - depends on your luck).