The Zoo of Buenos
Aires was commissioned in 1874 by President Domingo Faustin Sarmiento.
It officially opened on November 11, 1875. The zoo encompasses about
45 acres and contains over 2,500 different animal species.
The Buenos Aires Zoo
is an interesting place to visit, but be prepared for a different
experience than what would be expected at the San Diego Zoo. I
believe the zoos in the United States are much nicer than the
Zoological Gardens in Buenos Aires, but the advantage of this small
zoo is that you are able to get closer to the animals and you are allowed to
feed some of them.
The unique thing
about the zoo is that many animals are freely roaming the park. Do
not be surprised if a goat bumps into you and begs for food. Food for
the animals can be purchased for about $5 pesos (less than $2 USD) at
various kiosks around the park. There are signs at the exhibits where
feeding the animals is prohibited, but most of the friendly,
non-dangerous animals can be fed and even touched.
One of the more
interested animals running around the zoo is the nutria. These are
large rat-like rodents that are native to South America. They were
imported into the United States in the 1930’s for their fur and have
created havoc on the ecosystem in Louisiana. These furry rodents feed
on the coastal wetlands which cannot replenish itself at the same rate
at which the nutria feed. This is eroding the wetlands and causing a
series of problems in the area. In Argentina the nutria are helpful
to the ecosystem and in the zoo they are friendly animals for kids to
When you walk into
the zoo there is an informational booth to the left and a pond with a
fountain in front of you. If you look on the far side of the pond you
will see a large flock of beautiful pink flamingos. A good zoom on
your camera will show that they have brightly colored feathers on
their rare side, which are almost orange in color.
Flamingo at Buenos Aires Zoo
Gray Coati Begging for Food
Watch the grassy
areas in the parks for native birds and rodents that come to the zoo
for the food people throw to the animals! We saw nutria, jack rabbits
and some hawk-like birds; also peacocks roam the grounds freely. The
ponds are full of koi carp, large colorful goldfish, which swarm
around you hoping you’ll toss in some food. This makes a great photo,
so stand on the bridge for a minute until they all start swimming to
the top with their mouths wide open!
One exciting exhibit
is the coati or coatimundi, a species native to South America. You
will see lots of wild coati if you take a trip to
Iguazu Falls! The
coati are raccoon like mammals, the ones we’ve come across seem very
friendly, but they have sharp teeth so don’t try to touch them. They
beg for food, but you are not supposed to feed them at the Buenos
Aires Zoo or the Iguazu Falls National Park.
There are a variety
of monkeys, small mammals and birds at the zoo. Some of these are in
small cages; others are on the islands in the middle of the zoo’s numerous ponds,
while others roam around the park. To see the birds and monkeys that
hang out on the zoo’s islands bring binoculars or a camera with a good
One of the most
interactive parts of the Buenos Aires Zoo is the Farm of the Zoo (La
Granja Del Zoo). In this section you can pet and feed ponies,
donkeys, sheep, and goats. Be sure to buy a bag of feed before
entering this section of the park, as you may find it hard to keep the goats away.
While most of these animals are behind wooden fences the goats and
ducks are impossible to keep locked up; so they pester you until you
give them something to eat. This section also includes turkeys,
chickens, roosters, pigs, rabbits, cows and horses.
After the Farm of the
Zoo you see animals that are more traditionally thought of as zoo
animals. There are foxes, giraffes, hippopotamuses, alligators,
lions, tigers and bears. Some of the more exciting animals are the
rhinoceroses, which can be seen feeding; the ostrich, who pecks at the giraffe; and the monkeys,
who will put on shows for food.
rainforest doesn’t have many live animals, but there is a beautiful indoor waterfall that makes a great photo. The tropical rainforest is a
two story building with amazing plant-life. The trees have long vines
that hang on the wooden swing bridge that passes next to the
waterfall. When you exit the rainforest check the grounds for a large
iguana that is kept near the exhibit.
One of the most
spectacular exhibits is the Red Panda Exhibit. There are a couple of these
cute mammals hiding in the circular exhibit, so hang around for a
little while until one comes out. They are very active so you are
likely to see one climbing the trees and running into the house. The
exhibit is set in a beautiful scene, the area is covered in bamboo and
they even used bamboo to create a jungle gym for the red pandas. To
get to this exhibit you cross a curved bridge and head toward the
Japanese temple like structure. There is a Buddha statue in the area
to bring good luck to the pandas.
Polar Bear at the Buenos Aires Zoo
Red Panda at the Buenos Aires Zoo