Zoos are a tough subject for me.
Philosophically I am opposed to them. I see the advantage to placing injured or those animals no longer able to care for themselves in controlled/protected environments; and offering people the opportunity to see and understand more about them... but I don't like zoos as a general rule.
Paradoxically I do see the benefit of zoos in that they offer a tremendous opportunity to educate people on the other inhabitants of our region and of other places. To understand that we are not alone here and that perhaps we should treat our environment and its other inhabitants with a bit more care and respect. Perhaps also to spark an interest in a kid to become something he or she hadn't considered before.
But I just hate the cages. But then again I have a dog, 2 cats, a fish and 2 cages with birds...what does that tell you?
Now being from the USofA I have seen some incredible zoo habitats; large spaces closely resembling an animals natural environment. However, a gilded cage is still a cage.
Tom and I took the opportunity to visit the zoo here in Merida recently. No gilded cages here!
Parque Zoologico El Centenario is located on Avenida Itzáes at the corner with calle 59, here in Mérida, Centro, Yucatán.
El parque del centenario was inaugurated 18 September 1910, which coincided with the celebration of the first century of Mexicos independence, under the Governorship of Don Enrique Muñoz Aristegui.
The Zoo is under Municipal Administration and entry is free. The objectives of the Zoo are to create and maintain ecological equilibrium, and to allow the citizens and visitors to better understand the creatures that exist in our region.
The zoo is fairly well-maintained, the walkways are clean, although quite rough and uneven. The animals seem well fed, although in some enclosures I couldn't always see a water source. The habitats, to me, are, well, sub-par.
Inside the parque, in addition to the zoo, are playgrounds, horse rides, aquarium display, go-kart circuits, a boating lake, a miniature train that circles the park & more.
You will infrequently see tourists visiting, but you will see Mexicans enjoying quality time with their families, especially on the weekends.
There are a number of places to eat local food, but hygiene is not to US/European standards, so bear that in mind. If travelling with kids you'll find this well shaded park is a great option.
Yucatan Living as usual has done a much better job reporting about the zoo, you can find their story here
I did take some photos, unfortunately my battery was dying.
Just after you enter the park/zoo grounds you will see this mosaic which I quite like!
This is where you enter the animal enclosure areas
The hippo enclosure was getting a thorough cleaning, all the dirty water was being drained out so we were able to get a good visit with Mom, seen below, Dad, and baby.
Here is one of the large caged cats kept in a very small enclosure
This guy was just out and about and was receiving just as much attention as the caged animals.
In the bird area were a number of peacocks, this one was very busy showing just how beautiful he is
The giraffe / ostrich area - man those ostriches are HUGE!
So, that was our visit to the Zoo, I've heard rumors that there are plans to build a new zoo. I hope so! I also hope they maintain this area as a nature park, keep the birds and a few things in better designed enclosures. This place is so well visited and enjoyed it would be a shame to lose it!