It’s finally happening, folks. Three years after it was closed for improvements, the Manila Zoo is now open to the public. This time, it comes with major changes that are sure to excite every Filipino. You can spend quality bonding time with the fam again while introducing the kids to all sorts of animals and plants. Presidential aspirant and Manila Mayor Isko Moreno can’t help but be proud of all the work for the new Manila Zoo. And if you’re curious to see what exactly is new at the Manila Zoo opening and find out how you can get free tickets, read on!
The Manila Zoo had a soft opening last Dec. 30
The five-hectare Manila Zoological and Botanical Garden had its soft opening last Dec. 30, 2021. Visitors included families of around 1,300 construction workers that worked on the zoo’s renovation. Mayor Isko said that these people get premium treatment since they labored hard to make sure the facility is at par with international standards. Aside from being the first visitors to the zoo, Mayor Isko also gave the families free food and drinks while they enjoyed strolling inside the park.
Manila Zoo opening: A total facelift
What’s new? The Manila Zoo and Botanical Garden have transparent glass enclosures for the animals and elevated viewing decks for visitors. The Butterfly Garden, Animal Museum, and Botanical Garden have wider pathways and a loft area for better viewing. Visitors can rest on benches scattered around the park. Mayor Isko also made sure that the place is well-lit at night with several dancing fountains mini waterfalls in the zoo’s lagoon.
According to reports, the Manila Zoo’s two-year renovation had a budget of P1.8 billion. This is the zoo’s first major renovation since it was first opened in 1959. Everyone’s excited to see all the enhancements made with that huge amount of money.
Designs from a Chinoy architect
Who do we credit aside from the construction workers that made the renovation possible? Chinoy architect Kevin Siy is one of the people behind the design of the new Manila Zoo. Back in 2019, Siy, had the opportunity to present his thesis proposal on the zoo’s potential redevelopment. Siy, a graduate of Bachelor of Science in Architecture at the University of Sto. Tomas, shared that it took him a year to come up with a thesis proposal so he was delighted when Mayor Isko took an interest in it. Manila Zoo has a special place in the architect’s heart and he’s glad he shares the Mayor’s goal to “bring back Manila Zoo to its prime.” We’re sure he must be so proud now that the renovation is complete!
At par with international facilities
Mayor Isko’s dream for Manila Zoo was to have it “compete with Singapore Zoo” in terms of being a world-class facility. The zoo was given a new state-of-the-art sewage treatment plant. Mayor Isko also gushed about how the unique and beautiful rebranding will make Filipinos feel as if they’re abroad and not in Manila.
Free entrance for January 2022
Good news for everyone, the newly renovated Manila Zoo will be open for free for the whole of January 2022. This is until the city councilors can decide on entrance fee rates. Mayor Isko assured everyone that there’s enough open space inside the zoo to practice social distancing. Considering a two-meter distance, it can accommodate up to 6,000 visitors. And if there are more visiting on a particular day, others can wait at the parking lot and other covered areas before they’re allowed access inside.
But how much are the actual ticket fees?
Once the free entrance fee period elapses, Filipinos should expect to pay P100 for Manila residents and P200 for non-Manila residents. The price, while not final, was initially discussed by city councilors. But don’t worry! Mayor Isko plans to make the entrance fee “affordable. There are also plans to make online payments and reservations for Manila Zoo visits.
Free passes for visual artists
Mayor Isko has also mentioned considering giving Filipino visual artists free entrance tickets to the renovated zoo. There are certain areas inside the zoo that are “designed for artists and their craft.” Mayor Isko specifically referred to the new botanical garden perfect for “grandparents, children, and visual artists.” However, the plan for free tickets is currently still under consideration.