Today was zoo day at Bannerghata National Park. We packed up the van and headed south, early on a Sunday morning. The park is south of town; we live north of town. Usually that is a two hour crawl through traffic, but leaving by 9 on A Sunday morning and we drove through a shuttered downtown without even slowing down. Bliss.
We stopped at the Indian Institute of Management to pick up our friends Rahul, Sharmila, and Ria.
With eight of us packed into a minivan that sits seven, we made our way to the zoo. The Bannerghatta park is a part of the cluster of parks that includes the Kabini Lodge where we took our safari and the Dubare Elephant Camp where we bathed and fed the elephants. But this place is more of a traditional zoo.
We began our adventure with the Grand Safari tour. The queuing was the most organized that I Have seen in India. Shaded, orderly, no pushing or shoving. It felt strange, actually. We boarded the bus and set off.
The animals are not wild in this park, but they live in vast natural habitats on the safari. The bus is covered in grating and you enter and exit different areas of the forest through big double gates that keep the animals in their respective ares00the bear area, the tiger area, and so on.
While they have houses and are fed regularly, I was amazed at just how close these buses got to the animals. We had remarkably up close and personal views of animals that we saw from very far away on Safari, including:
Very adorable sloth bears
White tigers. This male looked through a dividing fence….
To his love…..
And my personal favorite, the lions. This lion was lying across the road that we had to travel. It refused to move until the bumper of the bus gently nudged it along. I did not cropping of this photo—we were truly this close.
After our adventurous safari ride we visited the butterfly building. While the room did not have as many butterflies as expected, we enjoyed the beautiful architecture.
The kids had even more fun climbing a mango tree and picking its sweet fruit outside of the building.
We got just as delighted by the wild monkeys as all of this big lions and tigers and bears! They are so funny.
Then we headed off to have a delicious pizza, pasta and salad lunch.