Ragunan Zoo in Jakarta is the most favorite zoo in Indonesia. It because it is a huge open air area with lots of big trees and wild animals, a perfect place for a family picnic while learning the wildlife.
The first zoo in Jakarta was established on September 19, 1864, during Dutch colonialization. It was called "Planten en Dierentuin", located in Cikini Raya street no. 73. After the independence of Indonesia, the name of this zoo was changed to Cikini Zoo in 1949, but soon it became too small. Hence, the zoo is moved to current location at Ragunan, Pasar Minggu, South Jakarta.
Ragunan Zoo is formally opened on June 22, 1966. Presently, it is a 147 hectares park, which is a home for 2,000 specimen of animals and 50,000 trees.
One sunday morning, we visited Ragunan Zoo. A bunch of pelicans welcomed us to the zoo. They live happily in a pond near the main gate (north gate).
I highly suggest you go to the Information and Health Clinic building
behind the Pelican pond first, to ask for the zoo map. Otherwise it
would be more difficult to find the wild animals you'd like to see,
since the zoo is not arranged as a grid. Moreover, the map contains
feeding schedule, the time we can watch the zookeepers feed selected
Actually, there is a children zoo between the Pelican
pond and Health Clinic building, but it was closed for renovation when
we were there in early August 2013. The brochure mentioned an Arapaima
Gigas, a giant fish from South America lives in an aquarium there.
After that, we have to walk further up and down hill to see the wild animals. Unfortunately, that afternoon most of the animals were inside their cages, so many of the habitats we saw were empty. We did see lions, bengal tigers, various birds and monkeys though.
However, walking in a 147 hectares park under Jakarta's warm weather is very challenging. I think it is more fun to rent a bike to circle the park. Alternatively, we can ride a mini train or a horse cart, but we can not go very far, since they have their own trails.
Ragunan Zoo is also a place for family recreation. There are several
rides children can play in the Children's Playground. There is a lake
near the east entrance, where we can buy tickets to sail on a dragon
boat circling the lake or rent a pedal boat. We also can ride horses,
camels, and elephants.
What if we are tired? This zoo has many big lawns with old trees, suitable for picnic. There are several cold drink sellers too. There are few canteens, but it would be better to bring your picnic basket and have a picnic in the lawn under the tree.
Schmutzer Primate Center is named after the late Pauline Antoinette Schmutzer. It is a 13 hectares park located in the heart of the zoo. It is the must see place in this zoo, since it is one of the largest primate center in the world.
It opened since 2002. The icons of this center are Gorillas and Orang Utans. I believe this is the only place we can see a gorilla in Indonesia, since it is indigenous to Africa. On the other hand, Orang Utan is the endangered animals from Indonesia.
Since the concept of Schmutzer Primate Center is an open air zoo, we can walk through a bridge to see the Gorillas living in their habitat without disturbing them. The oldest Gorillas living here are Kumbo and Kihi, both born on May 1995 in Howletts Zoo, England. We felt so fortunate we could see one of them walking around on the grass.
We also can walk through Orang Utan tunnel to see the Orang Utans live in their forest-like habitat. Finally we saw a couple of Orang Utan played on the trees. We also found more Orang Utans near the windows.
Schmutzer Primate Center also has various species of monkeys, but they are put in cages, similar to zoo's cages.
Although the location of Schmutzer Primate Center is in the Ragunan Zoo, but it is under different management, hence, we have to pay separate entrance fee. Our bags will also be checked by the security prior entering the center, because we are not allowed to bring food and drink inside.
We, at ExploreSunda.com, recommends to visit the zoo early in the morning, when the sun is not too hot. The zoo opens daily at 7.30am.
View Direction to Ragunan Zoo - Jakarta in a larger map
The zoo is easily accessible both by private vehicles and public transportation.
The most comfortable public transportation that goes directly to Ragunan Zoo is Transjakarta bus, coridor 6, from Dukuh Atas under Sudirman Street to Ragunan. The last stop is right in front of the zoo parking lot.
Jakarta has a lot more interesting places to visit. What do you think of: