The Zoological and Botanical Gardens is one of the loveliest outdoor places within urban Hong Kong.Just above Central is one of the loveliest outdoor places within urban Hong Kong – the Zoological and Botanical Gardens. It’s like a well maintained public park with a good selection of trees and plants, plus birds, mammals and reptiles, plus benches under shade and around a large fountain; entry is free.
This is one of the world’s oldest botanical and zoological centres. First established as a Botanic Garden in 1860, in 1975 it was renamed the Botanical and Zoological Gardens as there was more emphasis on exhibits with animals. And though keeping animals in cages is hardly ideal, the ZBG does contribute to conservation, including by participating in captive breeding programmes.
The zoo and botanic garden is a few minutes’ walk above the lower Peak Tram station. Beside one of the entrances from Garden Road is this greenhouse, which has a good collection of pitcher plants.
There are also superb orchids.
Just outside the greenhouse are several large aviaries, with birds including waterbirds like this Carolina Duck, as well as flamingos, cranes, and intensely coloured Scarlet Ibises that grace an artificial waterfall.
There are also landbirds; many of them small, and with several species from east Asia. This Yellow-casqued Hornbill is among the ZBG’s larger landbirds; this is an African species.
Below the aviaries is a large fountain, set in an open area with good views over Central high-rises.
And at the western edge – beside a small magnolia garden – is the entrance to a subway, which leads under Albert Road to the west section of the ZBG.
West section of the Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens
In this west section, exhibits hold mammals and reptiles.
Orang-utans are the stars, though they can seem disdainful of their fans, maybe just slumping on the floor or on high ledges.
There are also lemurs, tamarins (tiny monkeys; the ZBG’s had success in breeding some rare species, which in the wild are now restricted to tiny pockets of South American rainforest), macaques, porcupines, gibbons, and mouse deer – the world’s smallest hoofed animals. Also some tortoises and – if you walk down to a lower exhibit – a huge python, and a couple of Yangzte Alligators.
If – like me during one visit – you find the animals hard to photograph, partly because of fences and bars, you can grab some close ups of plastic lemurs and orang-utans, by a snack bar at the western edge of the gardens.
Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens – info on Leisure and Cultural Services Department’s site.