For a lot of us adults, reptiles and insects make our skin crawl. But kids are often totally fascinated by them. With that in mind, here are 5 places where they can get up close to exotic reptiles, big-eyed amphibians and beautiful insects in Bangkok.
A close encounter with a snake is often a pretty nerve-wracking experience. But at Bangkok Snake Farm, you’ll learn how friendly these creatures can actually be. This fun and educational experience is part of the Thai Red Cross Institute – so quite different to the kind of touristy snake farms found in other parts of the country. There’s a daily demonstration (11am) of how to “milk” a poisonous snake of its venom. The informative handling sessions (2.30pm daily) are always a big hit with kids, especially when it comes to the part when they get to handle the farm’s giant albino boa constrictor!
2. Bangkok Butterfly Garden
Located just north of Chatuchak Market, Suan Rot Fai is a sprawling 150 acre park that offers an idyllic destination for relaxing strolls and bike rides around its leafy 3 km track. The park is also home to the Bangkok Butterfly Garden and Insectarium – a huge, tropically landscaped dome which houses a small but beautiful collection of butterfly. Bring your camera and look out for exotic species including the Golden Birdwing, Siam Tree Nymph and Giant Silkworm Butterfly. There’s also an educational display that teaches visitors all about the butterfly’s incredible lifecycle.
3. Public Parks
Visit one of Bangkok’s public parks and chances are, you’ll spot one of the free-roaming monitor lizards that inhabit the city’s green spaces and waterways. These prehistoric-looking creatures can reach up to 3.21 meters long and weigh over 50 kilograms, making them something of a fearsome predator (they are harmless when left alone, but keep your distance!). Widespread throughout Thailand, monitor lizards have adapted well to urban environments and remain a protected species. Sightings are common in Lumphini Park, especially near the banks of the lake.
4. Sea Life Ocean World’s “Tropical Rainforest” Zone
While the underwater exhibits are the big attraction at Sea Life Ocean World, the kids will love looking for creepy crawlies within the “Tropical Rainforest” zone. This luscious environment is designed to transport visitors into an exotic rainforest, surrounded by the sound of rushing waterfalls. Tropical residents to look out for include several species of frog and other amphibians, although you’ll have to be sharp-eyed – many of them are masters of camouflage and do an incredible job of seamlessly blending into the background.
5. Reptile House At Dusit Zoo
Now over 60 years old, Thailand’s first zoo is home to a collection of around 1,600 animals including lions, hippopotamus, alligators and white Bengal tigers. Take the kids over to “Reptile House” and they’ll get to see a selection of turtles, tortoises, lizards, snakes and the unusual looking Malayan gharial – a long-snouted freshwater crocodile. The blood python and Siamese cobra are always fascinating to look in on, while the resident albino Siamese softshell turtle is undoubtedly a contender for the zoo’s cutest animal.