In my almost three years in Suriname, I was finally able to set foot in the Paramaribo Zoo which is only a few minutes away from my house. My place is near the center, so it will take a 5-minute taxi ride and a 7 SRD (1 US) fare.
The Paramaribo Zoo was officially opened in 1972 and was founded by Prime Minister Johan Adolf Pengel in 1966. It was recently renovated and you can see newly built pathways and beautiful landscapes. There are on-going constructions in some areas, but you can just roam around.
There is an entrance fee of 20 SRD (or 3 US) which is really affordable for a well-kept place with numerous animals that can be seen in the South American or Suriname jungle.
It was just sad to think that some of the cages looked too small for the animals, but you can also see that they were properly cared for. You can see most of the animals up-close. When one of the caretakers played with the jaguar, I took the chance to hold its hand. It is an 18-year-old jaguar and the oldest one in the zoo.
While strolling around, we saw some capuchin monkeys jumping freely from tree to tree. It made me feel like I am in an actual forest. They were really quick that we were only able to have a few shots of them.
Most of the rare monkeys were locked inside the cages except for the black spider monkeys or kwata apen. They were placed on a small island surrounded by water and they wander freely in the open area.
I didn’t expect to see lots of animals since I heard from locals that it was a small zoo. To be honest, it was my first time to go to a zoo, so I was really amazed by everything. I was fascinated by the huge anteater, the group of ostriches, crocodiles, and the jabiru who would ran to you thinking that you will give it food.
The zoo also has a small building that houses the different varieties of fish and snakes.
It has a huge selection of birds and monkeys, too. Most of the birds are really shy, but one of the tucans went near the camera and almost hit it with its beak.
The zoo has a playground and a zipline in the park for both adults and children to enjoy. You can also have a short horse or donkey ride for 5 SRD.
All in all, we spent almost 2 hours rambling in the zoo which also includes a few stops for photos and a small drink. It has a cafeteria with almost nothing except for a few juice bottles. I think it is better to bring your own food and drinks if you want to relax and spend some time with your family in the peaceful animal paradise. We went on a Tuesday and it felt like we had the whole zoo to ourselves. Saturdays and Sundays are usually the busiest days.
Location: Sawarienotolaan, Paramaribo, Suriname
Opening time: 9AM to 6PM (Everyday)