A zoo (short for zoological garden or zoological park, and also called an animal park or menagerie) is a facility
in which animals are confined within enclosures, displayed to the public, and in which they may also be bred.
The oldest zoo in the world still in existence is the Tiergarten Schönbrunn in Vienna, Austria. It was constructed by Adrian van Stekhoven in 1752, but the zoo’s predecessor – the royal menagerie – dates back to 3,500 B.C. Hua Hin joined this long legacy of zoos by opening the Hua Hin Zoo earlier this year. Part interactive petting zoo, part observation only, the zoo encourages visitors to buy food to feed to the various animals. Available for purchase are natural leaves, carrots, bananas and sunflower seeds.
The animal park is appropriate for the whole family. There are wide paths that connect the exhibits so that strollers and older people can get around safely. While there are smaller foot paths that are a little rocky in places leading even closer to the exhibits, staying on the main path provides a great vantage point. Just inside the entrance gate are bicycles that can be rented to pedal around the compound it walking is not your thing. There is a large gift shop with a wide range of items, and an open-air restaurant. There is a large aviary section featuring peacocks, pheasants, turkeys, and others, a large fenced in area for deer and a separate one for goats, and a cute little hut for alpaca.
Also in the zoo are buffalo, tigers and bears, oh my. Animals I touched were a baby elephant and its mother (to which I fed a basket of bananas), a baby white lion, and a baby black and white goat. I’m sure there were others I could’ve petted, but these were as adventurous as I got. In one area there are huts that children can enter to feed piglets and rabbits. And for the adventurous, you can purchase a bottle of milk (100 THB) to feed the baby white lion who is called Meena. Scattered throughout the grounds are plenty of photo opportunities. Whether it is the natural greenery, or the various props scattered about, there are no shortage of ideas.
The grounds are spacious with plenty of mature trees providing ample shade for picnics and relaxing and numerous lakes. Tickets for the zoo are 250 THB for adults (ages 10 and up), 150 THB for kids 3 to 9, and free for kids under 3. Prices are the same for nationals and for expatriates. The zoo is open daily from 8AM to 6PM. Weekends are busier than weekdays, but there is never a bad time to visit. Hua Hin Zoo is located at 369/10, Soi Moo Baan Hua Na, Hin Lek Fai. There are plenty of colourful signs showing the way. There is some construction going on, so I imagine the zoo is still a work in progress with more to come in the future.