The Phuket Zoo is a small, privately owned and operated zoo on Thailand’s Phuket Island. This zoo has been open since 1997 and sits on 12 landscaped acres of winding paths lined by fig trees to allow you to explore the zoo in shaded comfort.
The daily monkey, crocodile and elephant shows are a main attraction at the Phuket Zoo, and they run at various times throughout the day. The monkey show is a favorite with children of all ages, and the short-tailed macaque monkeys go through a variety of tricks such as riding a tricycle, dunking basketballs and doing simple math. The crocodile show involves such feats as the trainer placing his head in an open mouth of a crocodile as well as lying on its back. The elephant show is comprised of the elephants going through a routine of balancing, dancing and racing. The zoo also hosts a small aquarium, bird park and orchid garden.
While there is no doubt that the Phuket Zoo is trying hard to a legitimate zoo, there are few governing bodies in Thailand regulating the health and welfare of animals. As a result, many tourists find the treatment and conditions of the animals to be disturbing. From small cages to sickly looking animals, the obvious plight of these animals should be carefully considered before going so that you’re either prepared for what you’ll see or decide not to go at all.
The Phuket Zoo is a small zoo, of that there is no doubt. Despite its small size it is a busy zoo and there are often large crowds attending the shows and who press forward to see the animal habitats.
The grounds are themselves ill maintained and prices are steep from the admission to food and souvenirs. Admittance is around 500 baht per adult at the time of writing, though prices seem to fluctuate and even the zoo’s website doesn’t list the admittance fees. Taxi is the only viable mode of transportation and they’re well aware of it and charge accordingly.
While the vegetation in the zoo is stunningly beautiful and you can get a picture taken with any of a variety of animals including tigers, there is no question that this particular zoo needs to reassess their business model and change the condition and handling of their animals before they find themselves boycotted by the international tourist community.