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Visitor's Guide to the Shanghai Zoo


Visitor's Guide to the Shanghai Zoo

A giraffe stretches across the barrier to nab a treat at the Shanghai Zoo

© 2012 Sara Naumann, licensed to About.com.


Below is a guide to the Shanghai Zoo. The Shanghai Zoo, while not to the same standards as some of the famous and fabulous zoos of the world like the Singapore Zoo or the San Diego Zoo, is a pretty good zoo and much better than you'd expect in China. You and your kids will probably not be traumatized by the treatment of the animals or the state of their enclosures. Could they be improved? Of course. But generally speaking, it's a decent place with large green areas to run and play in and plenty for kids to do and see. It makes a great day out for families.

Visitor's Information:

Name in Chinese: 上海动物园
Entry Fee:
40rmb - adults / less for students and free for kids under 1.3m
Hours of Operation:
Daily 6:30am-5pm
2381 Hongqiao Road near Hami Road | 红桥路2381号
Shanghai Zoo (上海动物园) station, Line 10


  • Toilets (bring your own tissues and hand sanitizer) but none with changing tables (that I've found).
  • Snack shops and restaurants - but the food is not terribly nice and tends more to the junk food area like instant noodles and hot dogs. I'd advise bringing your own sandwiches and snacks with you. Water and other soft drinks are readily available so there's no need to bring this along.
  • Gift shops
  • Amusement rides & games
  • Petting zoo

Wheelchair / Stroller Friendly?:

Yes, very. There are places, like the Reptile House, where there are no lifts. I'd advise those in wheelchairs to give the Reptile House a miss. Strollers will have to be carried up and down stairs. Otherwise, for the vast majority of the park, the paths are wide and smooth and very easy to maneuver anything that has wheels.

Animals and Birds:

The Shanghai Zoo is home to a huge amount of animals and birds. Some of my favorite exhibits are the flamingos, the giraffes (who come very close to the barrier because they're used to being fed by the visitors), the elephants, the pandas and the tigers. There are a number of apes and monkeys. The gorilla indoor enclosure allows for close viewing (they have a large outdoor enclosure as well) as does the chimpanzee indoor enclosure.

Feeding times are at 10am and 3pm so if you're around at this time, you might be able to see some interesting action.

What to Expect at the Zoo:

There are two major things in the zoo that might surprise or upset a visitor to the Shanghai Zoo. The first is the state of some of the enclosures, especially the indoor ones. While things have improved a lot in the seven years I've been visiting the Shanghai Zoo, there's still room for improvement. In my last visit, I was surprised to see a Giant Panda sitting very happily munching on a pile of bamboo in a dank, gray concrete cell with the paint peeling off. Since the Panda is one of the biggest draws to the zoo, I would think they'd take better care of its enclosure.

The second upsetting thing might be the feeding and general bothering of the animals by visitors. You may be surprised to see local visitors flinging all sorts of food at the animals. Visitors trying to take good animal photos will tap on glass and yell at the animals. While signs are posted in Chinese advising against this practice, it is totally ignored. The giraffe enclosure is a prime place to see visitors throwing food over the fence. For some reason, the park staff seem to ignore this behavior - at least I've never seen any zoo staff member stop someone feeding the animals.

Aside from these two things, I think you'll be overall happy with your visit to the zoo as will any kids who are along with you. It's a nice place to spend the day outdoors and you'll get plenty of exercise because the zoo is rather large.

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