Upon returning from the Toy train ride, in the afternoon, we decided to visit the Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park, which is commonly known as the Darjeeling Zoo.
This trip again was for the benefit of my kids, as the zoo along with being an entertainment for them is also quite informative. Also I had heard that the Darjeeling zoo is known to have some unique species on display.
The zoo is fairly huge and it is located on the outskirts of the town. We were able to watch several diverse species of wildlife which are only present in the Himalayan region like the Himalayan Tahr, Blue Sheep, Himalayan Monal, Grey Peacock Pheasant, Himalayan Salamander, Blood Pheasant, Satyr Tragopan, Snow leopards, Red pandas and Gorals (mountain goat).
My kids were fascinated seeing the Royal Bengal Tiger, and spent a lot of time gazing at it. One of the points that caught our attention, were the large open spaces available to the animals to freely move around. This zoo has a very natural park feeling to it and it was very interesting to watch various animals in their natural habitat.
The zoo has entry fees which cost Rs. 50, and though the expanse is huge, it was very well maintained and clean.
Upon interacting with the zoo caretakers we were told that the zoo is internationally famous for its red panda and snow leopard conservation breeding programs.
The zoo also houses a wide variety of birds along with the Siberian Tigers, bears, wolves which were caged. The snow leopard and red pandas are the main attraction of the zoo the red pandas are the size of a cat and have the cutest faces and long bushy tails.
The entry ticket to the zoo is also valid for the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute which is a mountaineering museum and display all the mountain climbing details and ancient memorabilia. It has two museums – mountaineering and Everest – as well as a training department that runs courses in mountaineering.