As an animal lover, I am drawn to any excursions where I can see and possibly interact with animals. Normally, I don't believe in or support zoos, unless they are known for exceptional care of their animals. I am wondering about the Belize zoo or even the Baboon sanctuary. I am possibly considering these places, but first, I need to hear from others who have been there. What are the conditions like? Are the animals well cared for and do they have great, natural settings? I will be absolutely devastated if I go and see the wonderful animals in small or primitive cages. I am suspecting that this is what I may find, but I don't want to rule them out without hearing from someone first hand. I don't think I would get an objective view from Belize's tourism Board, so I am asking to hear from people who have seen it. As an animal rights advocate, will I love or hate these places? Thanks
Although I did not go there (did Cave Tubing instead), I believe the Belize Zoo is exactly what you are looking for. It is in a natural setting established by concerned citizens to protect the endangered species. The one statement I have read repeatedly is "It is not the San Diego Zoo!". Go to many cruise forums and check out the Belize port forums for more input. Reggie Trapp can arrange a private tour for you too. He and his family normally do Cave Tubing, but he is able to schedule a private tour that you would like.
I;ve heard very mixed things about the zoo -from "primitive" to "an amazing jungle setting with a fence around it." Doesn't seem like a lot of people go there. Has anyone been to the Zoo or the Baboon sanctuary?
It's more of an animal sanctuary. They only have native animals and birds that they've rescued. Their environment is much more natural than even the most animal friendly zoos we have in the states. Becasue they are local animals they've only had to enclose their natural habitat (jungle) to create space for them. The cages are very large - big enough to enclose several full grown trees. No concrete floors for the animals or even paths for the visitors. Just grass, dirt or gravel.
One last word. Take your insect repellent, water and your camera.
I've been there and really enjoyed it. It's very "natural" and laid back. Be careful, however of the tapirs. If one takes a shine to you it expresses its adoratation by turning its back and releasing a magnificent stream of urine.
The setting is very rustic and the paths are crushed stone.
The "official" websites are very accurate and do not sugar-coat the experience.