If you are sitting at home rummaging through the internet and racking your brain to look for places in Trivandrum to visit with your little one, this is like fate extending a hand to you to to visit the fascinating Thiruvananthapuram Zoo. It is one of the oldest in the country and established as an adjunct to the museum in 1859 built by the erstwhile Maharaja of Travancore in order to attract more visitors. The Napier museum was built and opened to the public in 1880 by Ayilyam Thirunal Maharaja. Named after Lord Napier, the former Governor General of Madras, Napier museum is situated in the same compound right in the heart of the Thiruvananthapuram city. This 135 year old structure is much of a landmark in the city with its unique ornamentation and architectural style with Gothic roof and rarely seen minarets.
Napier museum consist of exclusive Bronze images, Wood carvings, Ivory carving, Stone Sculptures, Coins and The Sword of Velu Thampi Dhalawa. It offers an array of display of artistic, materials of cultural importance, antiques comprising of sculptures in bronze and stone, lamps, textiles, Kathakali models, handicraft items, Koftgaris works, traditional music instruments, a treasure of numismatic collections representing Chera, Chola and Pandya dynasties of Southern India etc in its ancient past.
The zoo has hardly being a proper housing for animal rather more built in coalition with the royal style and architectural supremacy with those typical iron barred, cement floored, dingy animal cages built then in the past. Presently the cages are being outmoded to modern by replacing them with open moated, spacious, nearly natural enclosures in phased manner.
The modernization of the zoo undertaken by the State Government have been lately justified to establish the zoo just not merely as an exhibiting structure, rather as an amusement to research, education and ex-situ conservation. The establishment located in the temple city Thiruvananthapuram, offers rare opportunity for the visitors to experience and enjoy naturally picturesque and panoramic wood-like surroundings beside fascinating animal collections. The zoo also consist of two natural lakes where more than 60 species of free ranging birds including migratory birds that can be seen throughout the year. A plethora of more than 100 different species of exotic and indigenous varieties inside the zoo provide an excellent ambience to the visitors.
The list of the fauna existing here includes several species of animals even from Ethiopian and Australian zpp geographic regions. The Nilgiri Langur, The Lion Tailed Macaque, one Horned Great Indian Rhino, Lion, Royal Bengal Tiger, White Tiger which are all major ones that are prominent among the indigenous endangered species whereas the Hippo, zebra, cape Buffalo are the guests from Africa, Green Anaconda from South America, Exotic birds like Black Swan, Scarlet Macaw, African Grey Parrot, Palm Cockatoo etc are all inmates of the zoo. A day spent with the thrills of the experiences is a day well spent.