Its A Zoo Out There…

While our friends from New Mexico were here, we wanted to go up to El Valle and see the El Nispero Zoo & Botanical Gardens, the Butterfly Haven and the mud baths. Two out of three ain’t bad. We rented a car and headed up the Pan American highway and turned off at El Valle, and headed up into the hills. Normally, where we are, if you turn off the highway, you either get to the beach or the hills, depending if you turn left or right. It’s also a bit cooler if you head up into the hills. We found the zoo and paid our admission ($3.00) and went in.

Entrance to the Zoo...
Entrance to the Zoo…

Now, this is not your typical zoo. It is actually an animal sanctuary. There are no sidewalks or paved roads to walk on. There is a trail with signs pointing the direction to go. There are no safety fences between the animals cages and you, no moats. You also won’t find elephants or giraffes or the normal zoo type animals here. Here’s what we did find:

Flowers being grown for replanting...
Flowers being grown for replanting…
Beautiful flowers...
Beautiful flowers…
All kinds of flowers...
All kinds of flowers…
Even cactus...
Even cactus…

The first exhibit we came to was more bird than animal. A beautiful parrot just hanging out in his cage.

The first "animal"...
The first “animal”…

Zoo 8

Caimans...
Caimans…
Do NOT sick your fingers in the cage...
Do NOT sick your fingers in the cage…
Turtles...
Turtles…
Quail...
Quail…
Ok, quails...
Ok, quails…

Next comes a favorite of mine…

Monkeys...
Monkeys…
So cute...
So cute…

And you can buy corn to feed the monkeys and other animals.

Yes, that close...
Yes, that close…

Off over the trees, we saw two large bird cages.

Huge bird cages...
Huge bird cages…

We followed the trail and found beautiful red and blue Macaws …

So far...
So far…
Yet so close...
Yet so close…
Also blue ones...
Also blue ones…
So colorful...
So colorful…

No zoo would be complete without this…

The Toucan...
The Toucan…

And then there were these strange looking guys…

Zoo 36Donald Trump look-a-likes???

Very pretty birds...
Very pretty birds…

Zoo 39

Beautiful views along the trail...
Beautiful views along the trail…

The zoo even has built-in places for a break…

My beautiful wife...
My beautiful wife…

Into the reptile house…

Brown frog...
Brown frog…
Horned frog...
Horned frog…
Green and brown frogs...
Green and brown frogs…

Back outside we came across Bambi…

Baby deer...
Baby deer…

Yes, you can feed Bambi too…

Feeding the deer...
Feeding the deer…

A noisy addition to any zoo…

The goat...Not GTO...
The goat…Not a GTO…
Baby pigs
Baby pigs
Raccoons...
Raccoons…

Just relaxing…

chillin....
chillin….

My buddy…

The 3 toed sloth...
The 3 toed sloth…
Smile for the camera...
Smile for the camera…
Never a bad day...
Never a bad day…

A good zoo for all the family…

A family zoo...
A family zoo…

Iguanas, a hawk and monkeys in a box…

Iguanas...
Iguanas…
Hawk...
Hawk…
Monkey in the box...
Monkey in the box…

And even more monkeys…Zoo 61

Wise old souls...
Wise old souls…
More parrots...
More parrots…

An alligator…

Zoo 67 Zoo 68 Zoo 70

A friend from back home…

A coyote...
A coyote…
And this cool cat...
And this cool cat…
Just taking it easy...
Just taking it easy…
And a few more monkeys...
And a few more monkeys…

Zoo 75 Zoo 76

As an animal lover, going to this zoo was something I was looking forward to. It is not a world class zoo by any stretch. And while the animals for the most part seemed to be ok with their surroundings, I did see a few signs of stress in a couple of them. I can only hope that more people will make the trip here and go to the zoo, and maybe generate more income to help the animals live a better existence.

From the zoo, we headed to the Butterfly Haven. A beautiful facility where you can walk among the various native butterflies that live here in Panama. We paid our admission ($4.00) and went inside the enclosure.

Butterfly 95

Beautiful colors...
Beautiful colors…

Black and Orange Butterfly

Slight wing damage on this guy...
Slight wing damage on this guy…
Yes, they will land on you...
Yes, they will land on you…

Zoo 80

Butterfly 87Butterfly 86

And of course, there is the family dog, Fred!

Fred
Fred

I highly recommend both these places to see if you are in the area. They are worth the drive and are also child friendly. We hope to find the mud baths soon…

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