Lions and tigers and bears - Oh my!
The Bratislava Zoo is no exception. While the range of animals may not be as extensive as in other zoos, the zoo is well designed and uses its space well. One can spend an hour breezing through or an entire day strolling in the greenery with occasional stops at one of several outdoor cafes to grab a quick ice cream, hot dog or pivo.
Among the favorites with the masses are of course the tigers and lions. Unfortunately, the zoo hasn't caught on to the potential attraction of feeding these wild creatures in public view like other zoos instead of after hours.
The monkey cages are the most visited. Baboons and chimpanzees shock and surprise with their wondrous intelligence and remarkable skill. When feeling insulted or bothered by a visitor's excessive glass-tapping, one baboon has learned to scream and immediately bend over, repeatedly aiming his multi-colored rear at the offender. Another primate will clearly communicate with hand signals how and where his banana should be given to him. Others refuse to even look at the spectators, keeping their backs to them at all times.
In a time when zoos all over the world are suffering due to a lack of finances, the Bratislava Zoo is no exception. Empty cages and lethargic animals are clear signs of economic difficulties. The Terrarium, displaying reptiles, has been closed for nearly a year and the Aviary recently closed as well. In response, the zoo is doing what it can to raise assistance and therefore raise the standard of living of its captive animals. For a donation, people can "adopt" an animal in the zoo.
No, this doesn't mean that you get to take a black panther or an exotic flamingo home with you.
But it does mean that you can call an animal your very own for annual prices from 500 Sk for reptiles to 32,000 Sk for les grands chats. Primates fall in the range of 5,000-25,000 SK. Not a bad deal for drastically improving an animal's life.
The Bratislava Zoo is located at Mlynská dolina 1 and is open daily from 8 am. to 7 pm. Local buses #26, #39, #44 and #102 all have direct routes. Tickets are 15 SK for general admission, and children and seniors get in for 7 SK. If you bring a camera it is an extra 5 SK to take pictures and an extra 10 SK for video cameras. A permanent annual membership costs 240 SK for children and 480 SK for adults. For more information about the "Adopt an Animal" program, call 07/ 721-925.
Caution: The parking lot has been known to harbor car stereo thieves. Do not leave any valuables in your car.
22. May 1997 at 0:00 | Ron Severdia