Other Pages of Interest

Friday, September 16, 2011

Temaikén Bioparque

This weekend we packed up our things and headed out of town to a zoo of a different kind, a biopark.  You might ask what a biopark is, and I would tell you - it's a nice zoo.  Not in a sarcastic way, an actual, nice zoo.  To the point that I'm hoping that there is no communication line between the animals at Temaiken and the animals at the Palermo Zoo because it is pretty obvious who got the short end of that stick. 

Temaiken is in Escobar, which is about 30 miles (~50km.) northwest of the center of Buenos Aires.  To get there you can either drive or take one of two types of bus, the Route 60 semi-rapido or the Chevallier Costera Metropolitana.  The information regarding each mode of transportation is limited on the Temaiken website, so we used what information we received from friends and other websites and used the Route 60 bus.  It was easier than we expected. 

The ticket kiosk on Sarmiento Street
The Route 60 bus stop is on Sarmiento Street immediately in front of La Rural Exposition Center.  They are on the same side of the street as the US Embassy, across the street from the Palermo Zoo near Plaza Italia.  There is a small kiosk marking the bus stop, this also serves as a ticket counter.  You can buy day passes for Temaiken (which I recommend in order to avoid a potentially long line at the park) and a bus ticket to the park at this kiosk.  As of Sunday, the one-time park entry ticket is $78 pesos, $60 for children ages 3 - 10 and free for children under 3.  They offer a discounted rate of $39 adult/$30 children, on Tuesdays (the park is closed on Mondays) and if you plan on going more than twice in a year, it makes sense to purchase a yearly pass for $145 adult/$110 children,  Yearly passes are available on Ticketek or at the park entrance ticket office.  Bus passes are $6.50 pesos each way, though you can only purchase a one-way pass at the kiosk, you need to buy the return pass at the returning bus stop at the park. 

The Rt. 60 bus indeed is semi-rapido, it still makes quite a few stops.  That considered, it took us an hour and 15 minutes to arrive to the gates of the park, and the ride was pretty pleasant.  This bus is a bit different from the regular collectivos that you ride in town; the seats are a bit nicer, more spacious and in general a more civilized ride.  As a side note, we brought our stroller with us and it took up an entire row of seats.  I'm not sure the other riders appreciated this and we found out later that you can rent a nice-looking stroller from the park, a service that appeared to be free.

Since we bought our tickets ahead of time we were able to bypass the long lines and walk right into the park after we arrived at Temaiken.  You want to stop at the information booth inside the gates on the left to get a map, the park is well marked but a map is incredibly helpful.  The park is large and though they don't have the array of exotic animals that the Palermo Zoo has, but the animals that they do have are kept in much nicer habitats.  We brought our jogging stroller, but the pathways were nice enough that a little umbrella stroller would have sufficed, something that we are generally not used to here in the city.

The zoo is spacious and even on a busy weekend day we didn't feel cramped in the park.  There were times when the animals were doing something particularly interesting that it was hard to see through the front line of viewers, but that is bound to happen anywhere you go with lots of children on a weekend.  The exhibits are well marked and coordinate perfectly with the park map, and each exhibit has a sign that is the shape of that animal, so even if you don't speak Spanish, you can ascertain what you're looking at.
Daddy checking in on Gretchen
 One of the highlighted parts of the biopark is the "El Lugar de Las Aves" or the birdpark.  It is hard to impress me since we've been to the birdpark on Brazil's side of Iguazu Falls, but this exhibit was not too shabby.  There were lots of "normal" songbirds and such in smaller cages, and then there were large walk-through cages that had more exotic birds like toucans and parrots.  I am completely in love with toucans so this part was great for me.  The toucan pictured below actually hit Jon in the head as it flew by, notice that the cage is on the opposite side of the bird.
 I am not quite as big of a fan of parrots, they are noisy and generally seem pretty mean so I was surprised that the bird exhibit path guided us right into another walk-through cage that housed parrots. Again, a parrot flew right at Jon's head, and then they seemed to guard the exit as we were leaving.  I think we both envisioned a parrot flying right into Gretchen's stroller, so we hightailed it out of the parrot exhibit.  If you aren't a parrot-coward like me, this would have been a really nice place to take pictures.
 The park has quite a few places to stop and eat, the food isn't fantastic, but we made out just fine.  Gretchen needed a break from sitting in the stroller, so here she is enjoying sitting on our lunch table.
In all honesty, we could have used more umbrellas in the food area, but what you can't see here is a water feature that was crazy fun for the older kids which makes up for the lack of umbrellas.  Their parents were able to eat in peace while the kids marveled at the water. And here we are together, simultaneously trying to get some sun for me while trying to shield Gretchen from it's harmful rays.
 Aside from the bird exhibit, there were several really great animal habitats to see; the aquarium was impressive with it's variety of sharks, stingrays and other large fish, we enjoyed the hippos, zebras, wallabies, and these adorable meerkats pictured below.  I especially like the little guy in the rock who is looking at a plane passing by. 
 And as we were on our way out, we caught one last photo by the entrance sign. 

We had a wonderful day outside of the city.  I think Gretchen would enjoy the biopark much more in 6 months or so when she is able to run around and play on the grass.  We avoided going to Temaiken for close to 2 years because we thought the bus would be too big of a hassle, and it was really not that big of a deal.  We should have tried this last year, it was really worth the trip.  Hooray for Temaiken!

1 comment:

  1. I may be Argentinean, but your post was more helpful than the actual website! good to have you in Buenos Aires! Thanks!