“World’s Biggest Petting Zoo”

Sukawati, Bali, Indonesia
November 4, 2015

Copyright 2015 Douglas M. Landback

About a week before I left on my journey, I stopped at the mall to pick up something I was sure I wouldn’t be able to live without during my travels. Can’t remember what it was, but I’m sure it came in handy.

Preparation for my trip was almost as much fun as the trip itself.

What was more important than my shopping was Cheryl Larsen. I had stopped at BJ’s, a brew pub in the mall, and was enjoying one of their blonde ales when I met Cheryl, a lovely young woman who had overheard me talking to someone about my trip.

Talking to people about my trip was almost as much fun as the trip itself.

Turns out, Cheryl works at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo. After running through my itinerary and the amazingness of my adventure, I asked her professional opinion: Where in the world was the best don’t-miss-this zoo?

Cheryl deferred to her boss. Turns out, he’d come to Tampa from San Diego Zoo. His job, as I understood it, was curator. He travels the world obtaining animals for this ever-growing attraction. She sent him a text with my query. He responded almost instantly with three words: Singapore Night Safari.

The Night Safari is the world’s first nocturnal zoo and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Singapore. The facility houses over 2,500 animals, more than 130 species, 40 percent of which are threatened.

I couldn’t wait! Unfortunately, when I arrived in Singapore, the Night Safari had been sold out for weeks. Which turned out to be moot, because that night’s “safari” had been canceled because of potential health risks associated with the “haze.”

“Haze’ is Singapore’s nice way of saying toxic smog. A big problem throughout Malaysia and Indonesia, it’s more agricultural than industrial. Farmers set fires to clear post-harvested rice and sugar cane fields.

‘Tis the season.

So, to make a short story long, I pledged to visit the next available zoo – in Bali.

You know how most zoos have areas where you can pet deer and rabbits and goats? The Bali Zoo has something on a slightly bigger scale.

They let you pet the elephants.