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The Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens is in Central District in the Mid-levels area below Victoria Peak. It contains a collection of plants and small animals in an area of about 5 and a half hectares, and it is one of the oldest zoos in the world. It was officially opened as a public facility in 1871. The gardens and the greenhouse have about 1,000 species of plants, the zoo area has about 25 species of small animals including about 8 species of reptiles, and the aviary has about 400 birds of several varieties. The most interesting part of the zoo is a collection of about 14 different kinds of primates from around the world, including an orangutan and lemurs from South America. The golden lion tamarins are especially beautiful and interesting because their long hair is orange-gold colored. There are other small mammals and several reptiles that children especially will find interesting. But there are no animals larger than the apes there. This zoo is free for the public. It is fun, non-commercial place to go for entertainment.
The park area is on the side of Victoria Peak, and it is divided into two sections by Albany Road. These sections are about the same size, and they are linked by an underground tunnel under the road, so you can freely walk between the two sides. The eastern, lower part of the park called the Old Garden has a children's playground, an aviary with 400 birds, a greenhouse and the Fountain Terrace Garden; and the western, higher section is the mammal and reptile zoo.
In the Old Garden area, there is an herb garden in the southern corner, and a shrub collection is in the Fountain Terrace. The shrub collection flowers continually. There are more than 1,000 species of plants in the entire Old Garden area. Most of them are tropical and sub-tropical species. The green house is in the eastern side, and there are about 150 or so species of orchids, ferns, house plants and other kinds of plants.
The zoo section with the mammals and reptiles is delightful because the animals are lively and are inauspiciously kept. There are no guards or gates, and visitors can walk in thinking that they entering a simple small public garden plaza and suddenly find themselves facing unusual animals kept in clean cages in quiet surroundings. Some of the monkeys swing around acrobatically for entertainment. The bigger primates didn’t do much when I was there.
Albany Road, Central, Hong Kong Island.
It started as a botanic garden in 1871. In 1876, the first wild animals were put in. So it is one of the world's oldest zoos.
Interesting collection of primates.
Quiet, clean park environment.
No admission fee; no commercialism.
The animals are up close, so it is good for taking photographs.
Fun for kids.
Enjoying the collection of birds, mammals, reptiles and plants.
Having fun while walking around.
Best Time to Visit: ong Kong is still fairly warm and is drier in October and November.
Fountain Terrace Garden 6 am - 10 pm
Green House / Education and Exhibition Center 9 am - 4:30 pm
Other Areas 6 am – 7 pm
How To Go There
The park is in an area surrounded by tall apartment buildings, and there are a number of ways to get there. You can take the Mid-levels Escalators up from the IFC Mall and walk. You can also take buses from various areas.
Departing Bus No.
From Central 3B, 12, 13
From Admiralty 12A, 12M, 40M, 40P, 40
From Causeway Bay 23A, 23B
From North Point 23
From Lok Fu 103
Visiting the western small animal zoo area might take less than an hour. To appreciate the whole park might take about two hours.
Another Hong Kong Island highlight is the nearby Hong Kong Parkthat is a little bigger the Zoological and Botanical Gardens. It also has an aviary, a greenhouse building, and a children's park, and it has many other facilities. Since the two city parks are close to each other, it might be fun to walk through both parks. Admission to most of the facilities in Hong Kong Park is also free.
You might also enjoy the walk through the jungle above the Zoological and Botanical Gardens to reach the top of Victoria Peak with its great views of both sides of Hong Kong Island. There is a small road up to the top. You can shop and enjoy meals or refreshments in the large Peak Tower malls, restaurants and coffee shops. Another way to reach the top is to take the tram.
The IFC Mall is a famous, ritzy shopping center. Across the bay in the Tsim Sha Tsui side are the Space Museum, the Museum of Art, the Hong Kong Cultural Center, the Hong Kong Museum of History, and the Science Museum.