Arignar Anna Zoological Park, which is also known as Vandalur Zoo is is perhaps one of the most popular picnic destination for Chennaites. The park is located in Vandalur which is around 30 KMs away from Chennai. This park has a huge collection of flora and fauna and one can find variety of exotic animals. They even have safari where is one can spot tigers and deer in close proximity. This park has over 1500+ species out of which many are endangered species. The park is huge and one can either take a open vehicle or bi-cycle for exploring the park. Wild Animals, Insects, Birds, Fishes, Mammals etc can be found at this park.
This park has a strange history where in during 1854, Edward Green Balfour, the then director of the Government Central Museum at Madras requested Nawab of the Carnatic to donate his Animal collection to the Zoo which was set up in Chennai which saw huge foot falls of public and subsequently the count of Animals, Birds and Reptiles increased and during 1975 the zoo had no further place to expand. During 1976 Tamil Nadu Forest Department allotted a portion of Vandalur Reserve Forest for the Zoo and by 1985 the Zoo was moved to Vandalur which is now known as Arignar Anna Zoological Park which is now India’s largest zoo which is spread over 1300+ acres of land.
I always wanted to visit Vandalur and i was so happy that i will finally be visiting this beautiful place. We work up early and left to Vandalur, it was 11 AM by the time we reached there and it was so hot! We initially thought of taking a walk across the park to explore all the species but the park was so huge and it was sunny so we decided to take open vehicle which will take us around the park and stopped by at various places where we saw different animals, birds, mammals etc. We then took tiger safari where in a mini bus took us further inside where we could watch deer and tiger in close proximity of our vehicle.
This park is divided into various sections making it easy for the visitors. The sections are as below…..
- Bird Sanctuary Zone
- Aviaries are constructed across in this zone where one watch over 300+ species of birds. The forest and presence of water bodies give migratory birds a perfect place to breed. This place is a treat to the eyes of bird lovers. Vedanthangal is a another dedicated bird sanctuary which located on Vedanthangal lake and is spread across 75+ KMs. This sanctuary is breeding ground for 40,000+ migratory bird.
- Butterfly Zone
- An exclusive section is made for butterflies which attracts variety of beautiful butterflies. Bushes, Water Streams, Gardens are present in this area to attract these beautiful creatures.
- Reptile Zone
- This area is also known as Serpentarium is house for various poisonous and some rare species of snakes. Over 100+ snakes can be found in this section.
- Amphibian Zone
- This zone is dedicated to amphibians such as tree frogs, bull frogs etc. Variety of such species can be found.
- Crocodile Zone
- This area encloses various species of crocodiles and alligators. Madras Crocodile Bank is another place in chennai where one can find thousands of crocodiles.
- Primate Zone
- This area is specifically meant for primates where various species of apes, chimpanzees etc can be found.
- Nocturnal Animals Zone
- Creatures which are active during night can be found here. It has to be noted that their bio cycle is changed such that they now are active during the day and less active during the night.
- Aquatic Zone
- This area houses variety of fishes along with their description.
This is a huge park and one full day is required to explore the zoo. Quality of food served in hotel within the premise is average. We suggest you to carry sufficient water as one will get easily exhausted and the only shop where you can buy water is at the entrance of the zoo where you take bi-cycle or vehicle to explore the park.