Why Do Chimps have four Hands?
Kids ask the weirdest questions. My two -year old daughter and I were going through an animal picture book when we came across a chimpanzee. He was sitting happily on the branch of a tree and I saw my daughter’s eyes widen in some kind of dilemma. Then she asked me, “mummy where are his feet?” It was full length picture, they had to be there. So I pointed them out to her. She was not satisfied. Those are another pair of hands she said, she was right in a way, their feet do look like human hands! After that we talked about the chimp for days. I knew then it was time for the zoo. We had been before but she was too young to bother about most of the animals, except for the really large ones and the familiar simians. She was asking such pertinent questions so I was sure her curiousness was adequately piqued.
The Delhi Zoo (a.k.a. The National Zoological Park) has improved considerably over the years and I am surprised that such fewer urban families visit it. The animals are well taken care of, cleanliness is paramount and the ambience is one of
leisure and fun. We picked a Sunday morning, which is convenient but the zoo can get very congested with tourists, large families and even school excursions on weekends. So an early start is a must (timings are given below). Fortunately they don’t allow any food or beverage except water and baby milk/foods inside the sprawling complex. I say fortunately because this is the main reason the area is clean and the animals are not fed unnecessary junk. The entry fee is as low as Rs. 5 for kids (till age 12) and Rs. 15 for adults.
One of the things children love most about the Delhi zoo is the venue. It is nestled in over 200 acres of the Old Fort, with beautiful enclosures and rich flora. The wide open walkways are great for kids to prance around and the fencing is very safe too. Since there are no vehicles except the Zoo’s golf cart service, children feel as wild as their animal friends. We saw everything, from otters to pythons, to barking deer (they really bark, it’s bizarre) and a variety of exotic birds like Macaws and Parakeets. Ally waited anxiously for the chimp enclosure and as we reached, she asked me one last time if he would have feet and I explained yet another time, his feet look like hands but work like feet. As luck would have it the chimp was walking almost erect when we saw him and she knew immediately what I meant.
The National Zoological Park is located at the Old Fort, near Pragati Maidan, New Delhi. It is home to 2,000 species of animals and birds and over 200 varieties of trees. The animals come from all over the world and they are proud to house the endangered ‘white tiger’. Timings are 8:30 am to 5:30 pm (April to October) and 9:30 pm to 4:30 pm (October to March).