Elkan’s 5m Encounter with the Lions

Elkan was just 10m away from the beastly lions and tigers. Of course, he was sitting in the comfort of a mini-bus – watching the wildlife outside the windows.Yesterday, we decided to visit the infamous wildlife zoo at NanHui, Shanghai. It was famous for its blood-shed incident when a visitor was eaten up alive by its wild exhibits (lions!). Before we enter the premise, I was feeling quite nervous. Man, this zoo is almost 13 years old – and I have little faith on its facilities. Nevertheless, this is exactly what we need – a little risk, a little imagination and fear. It helps to fuel the excitement of a “Kenya wannabe” ride.

This place seems to lose its origin glory. There was sign pointing to a grand Chinese restuarant but the building is empty. The animal rides and games stalls at the entrance were rusted out. Tall grass grew along the gaps of the cement ground. It was pretty empty and quiet – I can really count the number of visitors. Less than 50, I am sure. Maybe it is winter…maybe they get better crowd in summer.

The entrance tickets plus the wildlife ride aren’t cheap either. It is about S$20/adult and S$10/child. The 20-min wildlife ride is S$30. The cab fare from our house to the zoo was S$60! And the journey there took about 1 hour. So, it isn’t a cheap excursion. For experience’s sake, I will not recommend to serious zoo-lovers. This place is only worth 4 out of 10.

Still, there is always an excitement, experiencing a “first”. Like in the movie “Jurassic Park”, our transport took us into “high-fenced” terrains where wild animals run freely. We came face to face – with tigers, lions, bears and zebras. Elkan was excited. Tracy was eager to get down to shoot. I was chatting non-stop with the driver and Felicia was trying to “belt” Elkan still on his seat. Elkan was banging on the glass and roaring at the beasts outside. (In Hokkien, it means “bay jai si” – don’t know what death is!).

It looks like we are more wild inside than the place outside.

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