Are you looking for a place where you can see exotic desert animals? Well, you can see them all here in Riyadh Zoo. Riyadh Zoo is the most popular attraction in Riyadh especially among children, because, well, they can see their favorite animals here. Established in 1987, the zoological park was formerly known as a small-scale zoo. Most of its inhabitants were presents for the three kings of Saudi Arabia Kingdom from other countries. Later it went through expansion until today it occupy over 55 acres of land. More than 1500 animals from 40 species made their home here.
Explore The Exotic Animal Kingdoms in Riyadh Zoo
The Camels Exhibit
The first thing everyone would love to see when they arrived in Riyadh Zoo is of course to see this iconic animal of Saudi Arabia. The camels look quite accustomed with humans, they will even approach you for some interactions. While it is forbidden to feed them (like in any other zoos), you are still allowed to give the camels a sip or two sip of mineral water. In fact, you might spot some people offering some drinks for the thirsty animals.
The Zebras Exhibit
Another exhibit you should visit is the zebras exhibit. This exotic African animals can be seen trotting around their spacious exhibit. Though they are not as tame as the camels, it is still a fascinating thing to see they behave like they are normally in their habitat. You might also learn about one interesting fact about the zebras. Most of us growing up believe that the zebras' base color is white, but do you know it is actualy another way around? You might even learn more interesting facts about these zebras if you come to the zoo.
Riyadh Zoo's aviary is like a small paradise in the middle of a desert for bird lovers. Here you can find all kinds of colorful and pretty birds collected from different continents in Africa. It is definitely fun to race with your friends or your family on how many colorful parrots or the majestic griffon vultures you can find. Heck, you might even spot Houbara Bustard, a North-African bird species that are nearly extinct roaming inside their spacious exhibit.
The Flamingo and Swan Exhibits
You shall not leave Riyadh zoo before you've visited the exhibits of Flamingos and the swans. These birds are so majestic beyond words. Seeing the flocks of white-colored Greater flamingos is simply astounding, especially since these wading birds are widely known to have pink feathers. There's also a group of exotic black swans that tread the water elegantly.
Bengal Tigers Exhibit
You might be surprised the moment you see these Bengal tigers. They are probably the biggest and also the plumpest tigers you ever met. These tigers are pretty much well-fed and well-taken care of. There are two types of Bengal tigers to observe here. The first one is the common orange-black stripes Bengal tigers while the second one is white Bengal tigers species.
Riyadh Zoo's Facilities
Riyadh Zoo is not only a perfect place to observe wild desert animals, you can even have a relaxing picnic here with your family. There are numerous picnic spots with dense trees that provide enough shade to protect you from the sun's heat. You don't really need to leave the zoo area if you're feeling hungry, you can easily find restaurants and several small cafes. There are also other public facilities such as prayer halls and toilets. They even have a train that will takes you around the zoo.
How to Get Tickets?
To enter Riyadh zoo, visitors will have to pay SR 10 or $2.67 USD for adults and SR 5 or $1.33 USD for children.
How To Get Around?
Riyadh Zoo is quite extensive, it is not rare to find some visitors sit on folding chairs (you can purchase them from ladies near the zoo's entrance) or on the ground protected by a tree's shade. You can also ride on a small train that will takes you and your children on a fun ride around the zoo ground.
What Should I Wear?
Saudi Arabia is one of the most conservative countries in the world, especially when it comes to clothing. While the country starting to embrace changes and become more progressive, it will be too much if you expect you can roam around in a tanktop and short (not that they will hunt you down for that, though you might receive some stares from locals). Wear loose-fitting clothes or abaya if you'd prefer to blend with the crowd. Unless if you are going to the holy cities like Mecca and Madina, then yes, wearing abaya (for females) and thawbs (for males) are mandatory.
Best Time to Visit
Best time to visit Riyadh Zoo is in the afternoon, it is when the weather is much cooler and there will be more animals showing up and active. Visiting Riyadh Zoo in weekdays will give you an easy access to all attractions since it will be less crowded compared to weekends.
Will I Need a Guide?
No, all useful informations you need about Riyadh Zoo can be found in this website.
How To Get There?
Riyadh Zoo is located at Malaz – Ihssa Street, you can easily reach the attraction by driving a car (only if you are granted with 3-months driving license and are familiar with Riyadh's wild traffic. Taxis are available almost everywhere. Just tell the driver that you are going to National Riyadh Zoo, and they will take you there in a heartbeat.
Please be aware that the opening hours of Riyadh Zoo is different from any zoos in other parts of the world. There are different opening hours for men and women. The zoo are open for business in Sunday and Tuesday for men, while the opening schedule for women are on Monday and Wednesday. Thursday and Friday are for families which the park will open much longer until sunset.