Ever since I was still working at The Urban Mama, and saw the reviews and postings about Batu Secret Zoo, I had put it on my bucket list. The place looked so fun! So, when Jessi was talking about going to Malang, I immediately proposed to go to this zoo. Finally, we got to go there!
We left after breakfast in the hotel. It was just me, Ari and Aina, because Joe was still sleeping and Jessi wasn’t ready yet. So we called Grab to take us to the Zoo. Grab and GoCar were very easy means of transportation here in Batu/Malang area. They were everywhere, and responded within less than 1 minute from the app. Or maybe because we were there during off-season…
The entrance was kinda… crazy. it was colorful and lots of different textures. There was this very red building, which was the entrance to the zoo, and right next to it, there was a greyish brown building that looked like a gigantic cave of some sort. It turned out to be a hotel, and it was supposed to be a giant tree: Pohon Inn (pohon means tree).
We were lucky because we went there during off-season, so there were hardly anyone else. There was no lines to buy the ticket, nor getting into the zoo.
Once we got in, we were greeted by small animals like Nutrias (which I have never seen in any Zoo in Asia) and all kinds of Monkeys. Maybe because we got there before noon, the animals were still awake and moving around. I think this was the first time I saw an awake (and eating) Pigmy Marmosette. I had seen them sleeping…
We were excited because it seemed the animals were awake and quite interactive to us, the visitors. And apparently, that area was just the entrance… once we passed the monkeys, the whole thing opened up to a larger and more winding space with a lot more animals (which we realized later that it was maybe just a quarter of the whole zoo… so deceiving!).
In this area, we found more interesting animals that we have never seen before. There were Mara, Fennex Fox, Javan Leopard, Giant Anteater, Black Jaguar, Camel, Llama (pictures in the Flickr photo album!)… and Aina’s favorite: Alpacas!
And she got to feed them! It was like a dream come true for Aina…
After we finished feeding the alpacas, we washed our hands and took a break. We brought some juice and sat down while waiting for Popo, Kungkung and Jessi to arrive. They said, they were on their way down to the Zoo.
After greeting little Joe, we continued to the Reptile Garden, the Nocturnal House and the Aquarium. They had this super long King Cobra, which was quite impressive for Aina. And the Aquarium had some hands-on stuff, which was fun.
After we passed the African Village area, where Aina met a very friendly Meerkat, we got to the half-way point of the Zoo. We couldn’t believe that we were only half way around the Zoo! It looked small from the outside…
At the half-way point, the zoo turned to become a small amusement park, with roller coasters and rides. They even had a haunted house! We didn’t bother to do any of the amusement park stuff. Aina was never interested in amusement parks to begin with.
So, instead, we took a lunch break. For me: Rawon soup (again!) and squid with squid-ink sauce…. I don’t get those enough in Singapore. Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures of the food. I guess we were too hungry… Oops.
After lunch, Jessi, Popo and Kungkung decided to head home. So, we went separate ways, and Aina went to look for the Baby Zoo area, which was more like a petting zoo. Well, it turned out, the Baby Zoo was Aina’s favorite part of the zoo. It’s very little, but we can play, feed and — well — pet the animals. And they were all very friendly!
After spending an hour in the Baby Zoo alone, we decided to take the tram to go through the Safari Farm. It was a little over 3pm, and apparently it was the last ride of the tram. So we bought some carrots for feeding the animals, not knowing what kind of animals we would see…
Well, they were BIG animals. Started out with a few crocs (which we weren’t allowed to feed, of course), and slowly got to bigger mamals from stocky ponies all the way to an American buffalo!
By the time we finished the Safari Farm, it was almost closing time of the zoo. Since we were there during the Ramadhan month, the Zoo closed an hour earlier than their usual schedule, which was 5pm instead of the usual 6pm.
We went back to the Baby Zoo to finish up our carrots, and gave a chance for Aina to say goodbye to her dearest alpacas and stocky ponies, and we headed out to see their sea lion show.
The show was basically about two sea lions named Willy and Laro, doing all kinds of tricks with balls, hoops and stuff. They also gave a chance to 3-4 members of the audience to be kissed and take photos with the sea lions on stage. I think it was the typical marine mammals show. Kinda fun to watch and the sea lions were adorable.
After the show, we only had half an hour to get out, and we realized we were still only half-way around the zoo. So, instead of stopping at the animal enclosures, we could only pass by them quickly.
Apparently, after the sea lions area, it was mostly the big carnivores. They actually had many big cats, like Bengals Tigers, White Tigers, Sumatran Tigers, Siberian… all kinds of Tigers. Many bears and lions, too… But when we got to the enclosures, they were all empty. Then, the staff explained to us, since it’s nearly dark and getting nearer to the closing time, they led the big cats and bears in to their rooms behind the enclosure. So, basically, we were looking at a Closed Zoo by then.
I don’t know if it was their normal practice, or maybe because it was still the low season (less people come to the zoo), or maybe because it was the Ramadhan month and the staff wanted to go home as soon as possible, basically, an hour to half an hour before closing time, the Zoo had pretty much closed. We couldn’t see anything anymore. If you plan to come here to see the big cats, you shouldn’t take your time like us… Make sure you get to the second part of the zoo 2-3 hours before the closing time.
The ticket to get into the zoo included an entry to the Museum Satwa, the large animal museum right next to the zoo (that white building behind the elephant in the photo on the right). But we spent soooo much time in the zoo, by the time we got to the museum, it was 10 minutes to closing time. I guess, for us, we needed two days to explore the Zoo and the surroundings. Well, that means we just need to go back again!
For the rest of the trip, you can check out the entire stories at Batu 2018: Short Getaway with Family.