We found a real petting zoo in Shunyi, inside Crab Island, a family holiday park. This petting zoo although hidden in the middle of a very strange and eerie holiday park in Shunyi, I was pleasantly surprised by the activities on offer. A group of new friends took us to explore this wonderful place, home to goats, cows, geese, sheep, chickens, pigs, and of course monkeys and camels. The petting zoo itself is like any other in the world, the smells are “interesting” and it looks like it was built using random wooden pieces from the forest. The only difference in is that this Beijing farm has some camels, monkeys and the fact that your children are also likely will become an attraction of their own, but that is just something new we are getting used to here in China.
When we entered the petting zoo in Crab Island for RMB 10, we had the option of taking a goat or sheep on a walk for RMB 20, but instead chose to let our kids ride a wild pony for the same price. The kids had an absolute blast and the sweet farmer made some good cash the day we came.
Most of the people that know me, know that I am not a fan of animals. I don’t like the smell, the hairs, and the behavior. But I make exceptions when it comes to my daughter, who is an animal friend like the rest of my family. She loves feeding animals and riding horses, the joy radiating from her face makes my heart warm inside. I like to pretend I am not scared when she feeds the goats and geese, but I am always happy we leave farms with all ten fingers intact. Motherly love makes you do funny things.
I was surprised at how happy and well fed these animals were and yes the petting zoo stinks just like any other petting zoo in the world, although maybe a bit extra after all the cabbage we fed the animals. It’s an ideal spot if you want to feed, pet and be close to animals, something that is I hope not possible in the big Beijing zoo.
Crab Island 蟹岛绿色生态度假村
Daily 8am-1am. 1 Xiedao Lu (take Weigou Exit off Airport Expressway and follow signs), Chaoyang District (8433 5566/5588) www.xiedao.com (Chinese only)朝阳区1号 蟹岛路 (苇沟出口)
Ecological Science Park (petting zoo) 科普中心
RMB 10. Daily 8am-6pm. (8432 5158)
Pictures by Pauline van Hasselt and Tanya McHendry
Pauline van Hasselt has just started working for beijingkids. Born in Wassenaar, The Netherlands, she moved with her husband and her 3 year-old daughter to Beijing in June of this year. Prior she lived in the Netherlands, Belgium, Paraguay, Texas, and London, studying and working as a chef. Pauline enjoys biking around Beijing, finding markets and new restaurants, reading crime and fantasy books in bed, and most importantly, turning her house into a home for her family.