The Byculla zoo in Mumbai has been an attraction for years for a day trip in the city. It has been a favourite picnic spot for families, schools and seniors for years. Called Veermata Jijabai Bhosle Udyan, the Byculla zoo which was earlier Victoria Gardens is named after the mother of Maharashtrian king, Shivaji Maharaj.
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Byculla Zoo, officially known as Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan and Zoo, is a popular zoo and garden located in Byculla, Mumbai, India. It is spread over an area of approximately 50 acres and is one of the oldest zoos in India, established in 1861. The zoo is named after Jijabai, the mother of Shivaji, a Maratha Empire warrior king.
Around 50 acres of Byculla in South Mumbai is covered by it. It has been a public garden since the 1800s and is the oldest public garden in the city. There is also Dr Bhau Daji Lad museum in the complex.
It houses a number of species of birds, animals and plants. The highlight for the last few years have been the Humboldt penguins. The zoo is open six days a week from around 9:30 am to 5 pm with Wednesday being the day it is closed.
It is home to a wide variety of animal species, including mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. Some of the popular animals found here include tigers, elephants, leopards, crocodiles, rhinoceros, flamingos, and many more. The zoo also houses a diverse collection of plant species, making it a great place for nature and animal lovers.
The cages and enclosures of the animals and birds have been made up with one specimen of a tiger, jackal, hyena, hippopotamus, sambhar deer, bear, leopard and monkeys being other highlights. There are huge lawns where children can play once they are done with the animal and bird viewing.
In addition to being a zoo, it also functions as a botanical garden and offers various recreational facilities. It has beautifully manicured lawns, gardens, and jogging tracks where visitors can relax and enjoy nature. The zoo also has a large greenhouse that houses a variety of exotic plants and flowers.
There are also statues of the animals where pictures can be clicked instead of annoying the real animals for selfies. The lawns and gardens attract a number of butterflies and other insects so these also can be viewed while at the place.
A number of walkers also come in the evenings from the area around a the entry fee is Rs 50 for an adult with a family of four able to avail of a pass at Rs 100 for mother, father and two children. The entrance for children is Rs 25.
It is a popular destination for families, school trips, and tourists visiting Mumbai. It provides an educational and fun experience for visitors of all ages and aims to promote wildlife conservation and awareness. The zoo regularly conducts various educational programs, workshops, and events to create awareness about animal welfare and conservation.
It also has washrooms and a canteen where snacks are available but one can carry food especially if you plan to make it a picnic. Avoid feeding the animals as well as don’t tease or harass them.
The best time to visit is on a weekday as the weekends are very crowded and then it is just a rush and push with people hurrying you. Season wise, winter is an ideal time to roam around in the area as it is very pleasant to roam around.
Overall, the Byculla Zoo is a must-visit attraction in Mumbai, offering a memorable and enriching experience of wildlife and nature in the heart of the city.