Warning: Some of the images may blow your mind, make you sad.
Honestly, it was a visit that stirred a mixed pot of emotions: I found myself overwhelmed with joy at times, seeing and interacting with the animals in such a close and intimate atmosphere. You could reach into just about any pen and feed them – a really cool experience, especially with playful animals like the giraffe, zebra, and monkeys.
That said, there was something in the air that made it all wrong, that brought on great feelings of sadness. I sort of got the sense that the animals were underfed (they would fight over the food we had), and some of the “pens” were simply heartbreaking (see my photo of the bear, for example).
I’m still not sure how I feel at this point. I had a blast playing around, yet the aura of the place seemed wrong, as if I was taking advantage of animals who were starved for love and attention.
Then there were other things that simply made me shake my head and chuckle, like the fact that they had hamsters on display, that the baby tigers were available to be pet (click to see the video).
The photos tell the story – both the good and the bad: