Beijing Wildlife Park in Daxing District is a large ecological park that specializes in animal protection, wildlife training, and reproduction. The park covers an area of 3,600 acres and has 10,000 rare wild animals, including golden monkeys, brown-tailed monals, and bustards. Many of the birds on display are facing extinction. Driving there takes just over one hour from the center of Beijing, and first impressions are of how vast the park is. There are so many areas to the park and so many animals to see; you could easily spend an entire day here.
Split into two halves, one side houses larger wild animals such as lions, tigers, elephants, and bears while the other side has smaller animals and birds. To get to the smaller animals, you first walk around a huge lake, where you can see black geese, swans, and a variety of ducks. The petting zoo is well-designed, and kids and adults can have the chance to feed goats, rabbits, pigs, horses, and an ancient looking yak. Beyond the petting zoo, you can watch raccoons and lemurs at play, peacocks strutting, and meerkat poking their heads out momentarily from their burrows. There is a rare bird aviary, nocturnal animal house, an emu and ostrich park, and a golden monkey house.
The park has a few safari options, where you can observe animals up close. The caged truck safari takes you through various open areas of the park. You can see brown and black bears, zebra, and antelope, as they surround the truck, hoping for some offerings of food. The lions and tigers can be watched and photographed sprawled out in the shade, largely oblivious to the groups of excited onlookers. The animals have plenty of shelter and space for roaming, with lots of greenery and watering holes.
The self-drive safari allows you to steer yourself around certain parts of the park in two-seater electric mini-cars. They’re open-sided, so can only be driven to those areas with the more friendly herbivores. Trundling along at a sedate pace, you can pull over and stop as you wish, feed the animals, and take plenty of photos. Along the way you’ll meet lama, alpaca, deer, goat, and kangaroo. There are plenty of opportunities to buy buckets of animal feed for RMB 20. It’s an enjoyable way for kids to get up close to a wide variety of animals in a nice park environment. The cost to hire a mini-car for one hour is RMB 100, and you can drive around this area of the park as many times as you like.
There are plenty of cafes throughout, selling mainly Chinese food, but a few serve burgers and fries. Ice cream and drink stalls are plentiful. The best option is to bring along a picnic. There are benches and grassy areas where you can stop and enjoy your lunch, and the cafes are happy for you to use their tables too. Alternatively, you could enjoy your picnic on the boating lake – but beware of the hungry swans and ducks! Toy stalls sell soft animal toys, plus the usual bubble wands, fairy wings, and bouncy balls. There are several blocks of clean toilets, with western and squat cubicles. The whole park is stroller friendly, making it perfect for families with young children. Younger kids can also enjoy the children’s playground rides and horseback riding area.
Beijing Wildlife Park 北京野生动物园
RMB 130, RMB 80 (kids, students), free (kids under 1.2m) Ticket price includes caged safari tour. Self-drive safari: RMB 100 per car per hour. Daily 8.30am-5pm, last adission 3.30pm. Donghulin, Daxing Yufa, Daxing District (8921 6666, 8921 5159, email@example.com) 大兴区大兴榆垡东湖林
This article originally appeared on page 36-39 of the beijingkids June 2015 issue. Click here to read the issue for free on Issuu.com. To find out how you can get your own copy, email firstname.lastname@example.org.