Lion Safari at Arignar Anna Zoological Park, Vandalur, Chennai
Vandalur Zoo(Aringar Anna Zoological Park) is about 25Kms from Chennai city on the NH45 national highway (the same road as Chennai Airport, Tambaram railway station) and driving there is easy once you cross Tambaram.Anna Zoological Park popularly known as Vandalur Zoo is spread over a sprawling area of 602 hectares.It is one of the largest zoo in south East Asia . There is ample car parking available inside the zoo premises. The Chennai suburban electric train service is another way to reach the zoo ,But the Railway Station is 2 Km away from the Zoo.There are lots buses operating from all parts of the city to reach the Zoo.The buses drop you in front of the Zoo which is more comfortable than Train.People Coming by train can get down at Tambaram and take a Bus to the Zoo. There are ample Number of buses available.
The zoo is open from 9.00am to 8.00pm all days, except Tuesdays. Lion Safari is conducted by the Arignar Anna Zoological Park every half an hour from 9:30 AM to 4 :30 PM
We managed to book this ticket , advance booking for the 4:30PM tour, for the Lion Safari. It is best to book the ticket for the tour as
soon as you reach the zoo. As it is an attraction, we always get tickets 2 or 3 hours later. The time depends on the day, season, crowd et al. Since our safari was 3 hours later, we decided to visit the zoo and come back for the lion safari. By the way, lion safari starts from the entrance and we have to get back to the entrance to board the bus.
By the time we reached the lion safari area, the staff said that the bus had left 5 minutes back. We explained to them that the time was just 4:29 PM, but it seemed the bus left earlier and the supervisor said he will try to accommodate us in the next trip if seats are available. We waited for an hour guessing if we will get a chance to go on a lion safari. If you plan to take the lion safari, it is better to reach the area well before 10 minutes. Luckily, we managed to get the seats in the next trip and we were taken in a special caged van to a special enclosed area inside the zoo where lions roam free.
The vehicle we were went very near to the Lions which were oblivious to our presence inside the van. When the bus was moving towards the lions, a lion came rushing towards us and hit the walls of the van. The driver seemed undisturbed and called the zoo officials and informed that the lion was having some physical problem. The whole tour lasted for about 20 minutes and it costs Rs 20 per person. If you are visiting Vandalur zoo (Arignar Anna Zoological Park , don’t miss the lion safari. It is an experience full of fun , thrill and action.
Pictures Courtesy : Photographer Ranjani