Are you looking for a place to enjoy nature and wildlife in Odisha? If yes, then you should definitely visit the Nandankanan Zoological Park, which is one of the most amazing and unique zoos in India. Located on the banks of Kanjia Lake in Barang, about 20 km from Bhubaneswar, the park is home to more than 1600 animals of 166 species, including many endangered and exotic ones. The park also offers various activities and experiences, such as safari, boating, toy train, etc., that make it a fun and educational destination for all ages. The park also has a botanical garden that showcases the rich flora and fauna diversity of Odisha. In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about the Nandankanan Zoological Park, such as its history, location, timings, entry fee, attractions, safari, facilities, and nearby places.
History of Nandankanan Zoological Park
The Nandankanan Zoological Park was established in 1960 as a small zoo with only two spotted deer and two monkeys. The park was named Nandankanan, which means “Garden of Heaven”, by the then Chief Minister of Odisha, Biju Patnaik. The park gradually expanded and developed over the years and became one of the most renowned zoos in the country. The park became the first zoo in India to join the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) in 2009. The park has successfully bred many rare and endangered animals, such as white tigers, gharials, black panthers, etc., and participated in various conservation programs. The park has also received many awards and recognitions for its excellence in zoo management and animal welfare.
Location of Nandankanan Zoological Park
The Nandankanan Zoological Park is located on the banks of Kanjia Lake in Barang, about 20 km from Bhubaneswar, the capital city of Odisha. The park is easily accessible by road, rail, and air from different parts of the state and the country. The nearest railway station is Bhubaneswar Railway Station, which is about 18 km from the park. The nearest airport is Biju Patnaik International Airport, which is about 15 km from the park. The park is also close to other tourist places in Bhubaneswar, such as Lingaraj Temple, Dhauli Giri hills, Udayagiri and Khandagiri caves, etc.
Timings of Nandankanan Zoological Park
The Nandankanan Zoological Park is open from 7:30 am to 5:30 pm on all days except Mondays. The safari zones are open from 7:30 am to 10:30 am and from 2:00 pm to 4:30 pm on all days except Mondays. The park is closed on Mondays for maintenance and cleaning purposes. The park may also remain closed or have different timings on some national or state holidays or festivals, such as Holi, Diwali, Dussehra, etc It is advisable to check the official website or contact the park authorities before visiting on such days.
Entry Fee of Nandankanan Zoological Park
The entry fee for the Nandankanan Zoological Park is very nominal and affordable. The ticket prices for different categories of visitors and safari rides are as follows:
Adults (above 12 years): Rs. 50 per person
Children (between 3 to 12 years): Rs. 10 per person
Senior Citizens (above 60 years): Rs. 25 per person
Students (with valid ID cards): Rs. 10 per person
Children below 3 years or persons with disabilities: Free
White Tiger Safari: Rs. 50 per person
Lion Safari: Rs. 50 per person
Bear Safari: Rs. 50 per person
Herbivore Safari: Rs. 50 per person
Aquarium: Rs. 10 per person
Reptile Park: Rs. 10 per person
Nocturnal Animal House: Rs. 10 per person
The tickets can be purchased online or at the park’s ticket counters. Online booking is recommended to avoid long queues and save time.
The Nandankanan Zoological Park has a variety of attractions that cater to different interests and preferences of the visitors.
Some of the main attractions of the park are:
White Tigers: The park is famous for its white tigers, which are a rare and beautiful variant of the Bengal tiger. The park has the largest population of white tigers in the world, with more than 30 individuals. The park also has a white tiger breeding center, where the first white tiger cub was born in 1980.
Lions: The park has a lion safari zone, where visitors can see the majestic Asiatic lions in their natural habitat. The park has more than 20 lions, including some cubs. The park also has a lion breeding center, where the first lion cub was born in 1991.
Bears: The park has a bear safari zone, where visitors can see the sloth bears and Himalayan black bears roaming freely in a large enclosure. The park has more than 40 bears, including some cubs. The park also has a bear rescue center, where rescued bears from illegal captivity or poaching are rehabilitated and cared for.
Reptiles: The park has a reptile park, where visitors can see various species of crocodiles, turtles, snakes, lizards, etc. The park has more than 300 reptiles, including some rare and endangered ones, such as gharials, king cobras, monitor lizards, etc. The park also has a crocodile breeding center, where the first gharial hatchling was born in 1982.
Birds: The park has a bird aviary, where visitors can see more than 80 species of birds, both native and exotic. The park has more than 800 birds, including some colorful and attractive ones, such as macaws, parrots, peacocks, flamingos, etc. The park also has a bird breeding center, where many rare and endangered birds are bred and conserved.
Other Animals: The park has many other animals that can be seen in different enclosures or zones. Some of these animals are elephants, rhinos, hippos, zebras, giraffes, deer, antelopes, monkeys, leopards, panthers, etc The park also has a nocturnal animal house, where visitors can see some animals that are active at night, such as owls, bats, porcupines, civets, etc
The Nandankanan Zoological Park offers a unique and thrilling experience of safari, where visitors can see the animals in their natural environment. There are four types of safari available in the park:
White Tiger Safari: A thrilling and unique experience of seeing the white tigers up close in their natural environment. Visitors can board a specially designed bus that takes them inside the white tiger enclosure. The safari lasts for about 15 minutes and allows visitors to witness the beauty and grace of these rare animals.
Lion Safari: A adventurous and exciting experience of seeing the Asiatic lions in their natural habitat. Visitors can board a specially designed bus that takes them inside the lion enclosure. The safari lasts for about 15 minutes and allows visitors to observe the behavior and lifestyle of these majestic animals.
Bear Safari: A fun and enjoyable experience of seeing the sloth bears and Himalayan black bears in their natural habitat. Visitors can board a specially designed bus that takes them inside the bear enclosure. The safari lasts for about 15 minutes and allows visitors to watch the antics and activities of these playful animals.
Herbivore Safari: A relaxing and pleasant experience of seeing various herbivorous animals in their natural habitat. Visitors can board a specially designed bus that takes them inside the herbivore enclosure. The safari lasts for about 15 minutes and allows visitors to see different species of deer, antelopes, zebras, giraffes, etc
Some useful tips and precautions for enjoying the safari are:
1. Book the tickets online or in advance to avoid long queues and disappointment.
2. Follow the instructions and guidelines of the safari guides and staff.
3. Do not feed or touch any animals or throw any objects or litter inside the enclosures.
4. Do not make any loud noises or flash photography that may disturb or scare the animals.
5. Respect the animals and their environment and do not harm or harass them in any way.
Facilities at Nandankanan Zoological Park
The Nandankanan Zoological Park provides various facilities and services for the convenience and comfort of the visitors. Some of these facilities are:
Boating: A fun and relaxing activity that allows visitors to enjoy the scenic beauty of the Kanjia Lake and its surroundings. Visitors can choose from different types of boats, such as paddle boats, row boats, motor boats, etc. The boating charges are Rs. 50 per person for 30 minutes. The boating timings are from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm on all days except Mondays.
Toy Train: A delightful and nostalgic ride that takes visitors around the park and its attractions. The toy train is a replica of a steam engine that runs on a narrow gauge track. The toy train charges are Rs. 10 per person for one round. The toy train timings are from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm on all days except Mondays.
Cafeteria: A convenient and hygienic place to have some snacks and refreshments during the visit. The cafeteria offers a variety of items, such as sandwiches, burgers, pizzas, pastries, ice creams, cold drinks, etc. The cafeteria charges are reasonable and affordable. The cafeteria timings are from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm on all days except Mondays.
Souvenir Shop: A perfect place to buy some souvenirs and memorabilia of the visit. The souvenir shop sells various items, such as t-shirts, caps, mugs, key chains, magnets, posters, etc., with the park’s logo or images of the animals. The souvenir shop charges are nominal and fair. The souvenir shop timings are from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm on all days except Mondays.
Parking: The park has a spacious and secure parking area for vehicles. The parking charges are Rs. 20 for two-wheelers and Rs. 50 for four-wheelers.
Locker: The park has a locker facility for visitors to store their valuables and belongings. The locker charges are Rs. 10 per locker.
First Aid: The park has a first aid center for any medical emergencies or injuries. The first aid center is staffed by qualified doctors and nurses.
Information Center: The park has an information center for any queries or assistance regarding the park and its features. The information center also provides maps and brochures of the park.
The Nandankanan Zoological Park is not only a great place to enjoy wildlife, but also a convenient base to explore other tourist places in Bhubaneswar or Odisha. Some of the nearby places or activities that can be combined with a visit to the park are:
Dhauli Giri hills
A historical and scenic place that is about 25 km from the park. It is the site of the famous Kalinga War, where Emperor Ashoka renounced violence and embraced Buddhism. It has a peace pagoda, a rock edict, a Buddhist monastery, and a museum.
Chandaka-Dampara Wildlife Sanctuary
A natural and wildlife reserve that is about 30 km from the park. It is home to many animals, such as elephants, leopards, bison, deer, etc. It also has a nature camp, a watchtower, and a trekking trail.
Udayagiri and Khandagiri caves
A historical and cultural place that is about 15 km from the park. It is a complex of rock-cut caves that date back to the 2nd century BC. It has many sculptures, inscriptions, and paintings that depict the life and teachings of Jainism.
The Nandankanan Zoological Park is a wonderful place to visit for anyone who loves nature and wildlife. The park offers a variety of attractions and experiences that cater to different interests and preferences. The park is also a great place to learn about the conservation and education of wildlife and biodiversity. The park can be easily reached from Bhubaneswar or other nearby places and can be combined with other tourist destinations in Odisha. If you are planning to visit Odisha soon, do not miss the chance to visit this wildlife wonderland and enjoy its beauty and charm.
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