Vallarta Zoo… No Ordinary Zoo

After five or so thousand steps, Rob, Jan, Patrice and I left the Zoo just south of Vallarta in Mismaloya. We spent nearly three hours slowly wandering through the jungle on the sturdily built walled walkways. It was so quiet; it seemed we had the entire place to ourselves. It was midday, and the animals were far smarter than us, buried in whatever shade and/or water was available. Almost all the animals came to visit us, hoping for and receiving appropriate treats purchased at the beginning of our self-guided tour.

It is clear from the get-go that this is no ordinary zoo. For one, it is a non-profit and receives absolutely nothing from any government agency, meaning every centavo received goes back to the animals. The flip side of that coin is that there is no monetary incentive for tour operators, hotel concierges, or private contractors to “sell” the zoo to anyone, as there is nothing in it for them.

If you are coming to Vallarta, especially if you have kids, plan a day spent wandering this unusual, interactive, and essential facility. And, if you live here, you owe it to yourselves to go and have a visit. Two entry fees are available: general admission is 200 pesos; 1,700 pesos will get you a date with a baby wildcat. Under supervision, of course, but if you are a cat-lover, this gentle adventure takes you to a whole new level.

The bottom line is that we share this planet with all living things. The Zoológico de Vallarta introduces people to its animals; then, they learn to see us as friendly creatures who will do them no harm and maybe even share a carrot or two