Spotting creatures in the wild always makes for a great highlight to any trip. But if you’re short on time, money, adventurous spirit, and/or even luck, an afternoon at an overseas zoo, bird park, or wildlife sanctuary can be the next best thing to seeing animals in their native habitats.
Malaysia’s capital city boasts an impressive and modern avian adventure worthy of an afternoon. Opened in 1991, the Kuala Lumpur Bird Park is located in the scenic Lake Gardens area just a 10-minute drive from the city center, and also easily accessible via public transportation. We wandered around the place for hours, eager to catch glimpses of the over 2,000 residents here; the park reports having over 200 different species of both local and foreign birds.
Watch the KL Bird Park slide show.
The main attraction is a free-flight walk-in aviary, billed as the one of the largest of its kind in the world. Here you can wander about as birds fly freely around you, interacting with each other and you in a unique and open setting. Another section of the park is devoted entirely to hornbills, quite common to this part of the world, and often difficult to spot in the wild. Other highlights included the odd-looking Southern cassowary, milky storks, and my favorite, the comical and friendly lories. You can feed these brightly colored and sociable little parrots at a scheduled time during the day.
Daily bird shows take place at the park’s amphitheater, which can seat 350 people. If you’re in need of a food or drink break, you have several café and refreshment kiosk options; there are shaded rest areas throughout the park as well. There’s also a gift shop on the property.
Don’t miss the Feathered Friends Photo Booth for a great souvenir. I paid a small fee to have my picture taken with my choice of friendly birds on hand. You’ll have to watch the slide show in its entirety to see the results.
For more info: Numerous airlines fly from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; expect to spend around $925-1,200 for the round-trip. Top-rated Emirates flies SFO – Dubai – KL; you can also go via Hong Kong, Taiwan, Tokyo, and/or Singapore. And consider checking with a consolidator like San Francisco-based AirTreks for discounted flights.
Park hours and admission
Foreign currency exchange website
Official website of Tourism Malaysia
Other nearby sites in the Lake Gardens area: National Planetarium, National Monument, Islamic Art Museum, Orchid Garden, Butterfly Park, and Deer Park.
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