Children of all ages generally enjoy interacting with and feeding animals. Here are 5 great places to visit for up-close encounters with (mostly) gentle creatures, both large and small.
1. Dusit Zoo
Bangkok’s own Dusit Zoo houses a small petting zoo in the middle of its grounds. Here, children can feed camels, goats and miniature horses, as well as get a close look at cows, giant squirrels, rabbits, guinea pigs and iguanas. At the nearby lake, kids can throw bread to several varieties of very large fish (as well as a monitor lizard or two!). Some bread vendors will also provide long sticks, which can be used to impale food for feeding snapping turtles from a safe distance.
2. Wat Prayoon
Located within a lush compound on the Thonburi side of the Chao Phraya River, Wat Prayoon encompasses a number of religious and historic structures. For kids, however, the main draw is its vast population of turtles that reside in the rock gardens and pond (“Turtle Mountain”). Children will be thrilled to feed these creatures, offering them bits of bread and fruit, which are sold in the temple’s courtyard.
3. Snake Farm
The Bangkok Snake Farm, right next to the Thai Red Cross Society, was established in 1923 for the extraction of venom in poisonous snakes that was used to develop anti-venom serum to treat snakebite victims. Today, the farm offers a live venom extraction demonstration, as well as a sizeable collection of indigenous Thai snakes. Children will see and learn a great deal about snakes, including how to safely encounter such reptiles, and they will get to handle some non-venomous pythons.
4. Khao Kheow Open Zoo
In Chonburi province, about an hour’s drive from Bangkok, Khao Kheow Open Zoo is a wonderful place for close animal encounters. Kids can hand feed deer, tapirs, elephants, giraffes, rhinos and more. You can visit for the day or stay overnight in an air-conditioned tent at the on-site Es-Ta-Te Resort, which has its own herd of free-roaming deer. Other worthwhile attractions include the zoo’s night safari excursion and Flight of the Gibbon, a zip line adventure in the tree tops.
5. Alpaca Hill
About 170 kilometres from Bangkok, Suan Phueng district in Ratchaburi province features Alpaca Hill, an alpaca farm located on lovely, verdant grounds – great for a day trip! Children will enjoy seeing and feeding the alpacas, as well as visiting the petting zoo, with resident sheep, giant rabbits, deer, chinchillas, ferrets and more. Advanced booking is required as there is a limit to the number of people who can visit each week.