We took a family trip to Buenos Aires last week to visit the biopark TemaikÃ¨n. I am not entirely sure what makes a biopark different than a zoo, but they seem to have taken great care to make sure you don’t think of it as a zoo. However it functions, it looks like just a fancy zoo.
On Tuesdays they have 1/2 price entrance which cut the cost from $16 to $8 per adult. Since the park is a couple of hours away from our house, we decided to combine our trip to the park with a trip we already planned to Buenos Aires. We spent the Monday after Easter with some missionary friends and then went from their house to a hotel in BA. The hotel was very nice and we enjoyed our stay. But, we had to be up early to make it to the park when they opened at 10:00.
Even though the park was only one subway and one bus ride away, the bus took over an hour to get there. We enjoyed the subway ride out of town during rush hour when all the morning traffic was going into town. It was fun to watch all the people crammed into the trains going the other direction. Then we only had to wait a few minutes to get the bus to the park.
The park is very clean. That is the thing that I think I was most impressed with. Everything seemed to be in good condition. I told someone it was like Disney ran the place. It is not quite that manicured, but almost.
They had many of the normal animals you would see in any other zoo, but they seemed to be missing several important ones. There were no lions, giraffes or bears. They had large flying foxes (a type of bat) that were gigantic! They have wing spans up to 6′. We were able to go into the cage with them. It took a few minutes to convince our daughter to go in, but she eventually did. They were mostly asleep.
There were plenty of play grounds to distract our daughter. One of them was compelling enough that I got in on the fun too. I think we may have had more fun at the playground than the rest of the park.
One of the things that really set this park apart from many other zoos is that there were so many cages that we could go in with the different birds. One whole section of the park was huge bird cages. You wouldn’t know you were inside a cage if you didn’t specifically look at the cage above you. Then you would leave one caged area right into another. So they were able to keep the various birds separate from one another, but we did not have to exit the cage and enter the next. Going out of one put you right into the next one. We could get really close to some of the birds.
They had a beautiful white bengal tiger that we enjoyed watching. It was as if he understood that people were watching him and he put on a show for us. There was a moat that he could swim in right up to the glass where the people were. He jumped in and played with the water before swimming over to the people. He didn’t run around and do backflips or anything special like that, but just seeing a large cat walk around is impressive.
The trip back to BA took another hour. Then we had to ride two subways to get back to the next bus. The first subway was going into town during rush hour when most people wanted to go out. We got to experience the same joy as in the morning where we were on a subway train with few people while the train going the other direction was jam packed. But on our next train we got to experience the sardine can. I have been on packed subway trains before, but this was the worst I have ever experienced. There was no need to hang on to anything, it would have been impossible for anyone to fall. We got on and at every stop moved a little closer to the opposite side of the car. Or, I should say we got shoved to the opposite side of the car. Without our knowing it, the stop we needed to get off at opened up to the “inside” of the tracks. That meant that when the doors opened we didn’t have to fight the crowd to get out. We just had to make sure we did not get trampled when other people got off with us.
The rest of the trip home was less eventful. We enjoyed a little nap on our final bus to the house.
If you are in Buenos Aires and are looking for a great place to spend the day with the family, I can highly recommend TemaikÃ¨n.