Zoo go or Zoo not to go…

The Zoo at Children’s grand park reminds me of a scene from the movie “The Lion King”. Not one of the scenes where all the beautiful, wild animals roam the lush, green African plains but the one where the Scar has taken over the pride lands, over used and abused the water and food sources and the whole area is dry, barren and somewhat sinister.

I was so excited this morning at the prospect of going to the Zoo. I was even watching THIS video on repeat, excited about seeing the lions and tigers and zebras and elephants and all the other awesome animals.

An Unhappy tiger at Seoul Zoo

On the subway my friend Brooke was singing silly animal songs and when we approached the entrance to what Wikipedia claims to be “The 10th biggest Zoo in the world” she ran towards the gates! We got on a little tram-car that brought us past Seoul-Land mini theme park then to the Zoo entrance.

The first things we saw were the Giraffes. And it was pretty much from the minute I say them standing there in these small enclosure nibbling on the ROCK FACE, that right eating ROCKS, I remembered how much I hated Zoo’s. I guess once you have lived in Africa and done a Safari in the Masaii Mara and Kruger National Park it’s hard to appreciate animals in a Zoo or hard to like the Zoo at all.

Poor Polar Bear

All the animals looked so…sad.The flamingos were all huddled up in this corner under electronic heaters, the zebras looked cold and cramped, and the hippos were stuck in this tiny pool, all squashed in together. The polar bear walked back and forth in its area which was full of mould, dead fish and not enough water. It looked equally bored, sad and lonely. It was so depressing.

All the big cats were simply sleeping in tiny cages, as we viewed in through the gaps in the bars to observe them. I guess the only thing I did actually like about the Zoo were the monkeys. They had a nice amount of space and plenty of trees and toys to swing off of and stay entertained, as well as entertaining us with their bare baboon bums and sky blue balls!!!

(Un)Happy Hippo

All the big cats were simply sleeping in tiny cages, as we viewed in through the gaps in the bars to observe them. I guess the only thing I did actually like about the Zoo were the monkeys. They had a nice amount of space and plenty of trees and toys to swing off of and stay entertained, as well as entertaining us with their bare baboon bums and sky blue balls!!!

The only thing I can compare Seoul Zoo with is another one I have been to; Fota Wildlife Park, back home in Cork, Ireland where I live. Fota wildlife is 100 times better than Seoul Zoo. Seoul Grand park may be the 10th biggest in the world but it is far from the 10th “best”.

Mmm delicious rock...

Everything from the grasslands to the wide open spaces, and what seem to be, in general, happy animals make Fota Wildlife Park a great place to visit. Everything from the lack of grass, tiny, cramped enclosures, bad maintenance and what seems to be unhappy animals make Seoul Grand Park Zoo an awful place to visit.

Of course this is just my opinion. I had a great day today, but that was only because I was with a group of my best buddies here in Korea. Their company, and not the animals, made this day a success.

Bars and Stripes




14 thoughts on “Zoo go or Zoo not to go…

  1. Zoo’s have always made me sad. I cannot go to one. I’m glad you saw past the brightly painted advertising. BTW I’m not an animal rights guy or anything, I just don’t like animals in cages.

    1. I know, I guess the only other time I went I was very young so don’t remember it. I’m not an animals rights person or vegetarian or anything like that either but seeing the animals in cages like this really touched me. Won’t be going back there again, that’s for sure!

  2. Totally know what you mean about zoos paling (failing?) in comparison to safari. I grew up going to the San Diego Zoo and the Wild Animal Park, arguably a couple of the best zoos in the world for their time. The WAP was… ok, but the Zoo was still kind of sad. Glad to hear FOTA is nice. Have been thinking about going there, but was afraid of finding the same thing!

    1. Nah Fota, in my opinion, is in a class of its own. Wait il the weather gets sunnier though, its beautiful there in summer! My cousins have an annual pass and go nearly every weekend in the summer…great place for a picnic and walk! Plus the animals, Giraffes and Zebras especially have great wide open spaces..like actual fields to roam around!

  3. I went to the zoo this Saturday and I had mixed feelings about it. I did feel like the cages were sad, dirty and sometimes cramped. They obviously haven’t gotten on the “let’s try to make it look like their natural habitat” kick. However, this Saturday the weather was beautiful and I have never seen animals at a zoo being so alert and active. The bears were playing and fighting. The seals were playing with their food, yelping and jumping in and out of the water. The monkeys were going crazy running around their gyms playing with each other. The typically dignafied tigers even were wrestling a little. I could have watched all the animals for hours because they were so dynamic — that part was awesome. And I felt like I saw most of them pretty close up, too.
    Having said that, I don’t have a lot of experience with zoos.

    1. Wow I have to wonder if we were at the same Zoo yesterday?! Seoul Zoo yea? When we were there the lions, tigers and leopards were ALL fast asleep. (Didn’t see the bears..) the seals were jumping up and down…but only at the Dolphin show where they knew they would get fishy treats!!
      I agree with you on the monkeys…they were very entertaining and seemed happy enough!

  4. I’ve never been an enthusiastic zoo person, but have been to many. Your article may have helped me understand my mixed feelings. It may have to do with the idea that they are confined and often lethargic — it doesn’t seem like a very happy life (except for the monkeys who are always having fun). But I enjoy being able to see animals that I wouldn’t have the chance to see otherwise.

    1. Im glad it helped you understand your feeings about the Zoo!! It is certainly a place for mixed feelings, I would love to get a tour with an actual zoo keeper some day so he can tell me the truth and help me understand if the animals are happy or not!

  5. i’m glad i found your post. when i first left korea for the states i had a recurring nightmare. and it involved a zoo. i was from seoul. there would be empty boxes side by side but not quite in a straight line. and then the single male lion would go chasing me… i had never thought to look until today into whether there is a zoo. in /near seoul. with lions. and now i know. thanks ( ;

    i think i have been to a zoo once in the states.
    i do like safari style places where the animals can roam. . .

  6. I really love watching animals but I love it more when I see them in the wild. Last year I joined a safari with my 2 best friends. I took a lot of pictures but never found a leopard which they said it’s hard to find.

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