Cebu offers quite a number of interesting venues for a fun and educational day with your kids. Pull them away from the television or computer and let them experience the province’s rich biodiversity.
Cebu City Zoo and Conservation Center
A great choice for an enjoyable and enriching trip is the Cebu City Zoo and Conservation Center, which features so many interesting species. Its resident celebrity is the Bengali tiger named Boggart. It also showcases a golden leopard donated by former Cebu City mayor Tomas Osmeña. Other resident animals include a 70-year-old parrot, a cat from Malaysia, some pheasants, roosters, guinea fowls, owls, goats and sheep, monkeys, and a few reptiles.
Hon. Raymundo A. Crystal spearheaded the construction of the Cebu City Zoo in the late 1950s. The foundations of the zoo were built in 1973, on the land that Governor Espina donated in 1969, with the assistance of Cebu’s Boy Scout organization.
The 7-hectare zoo was then under the care of Father Eleuterio Tropa of Lamplighters Foundation.
After his death in 1993, the management of the zoo was turned over to Cebu City authorities. The government entrusted the zoo to the Philippine Wetlands & Wildlife Foundation Inc. The Cebu City Zoo is presently under the management of Mr. Giovanni Stephen Romarate, with Dr. Alice T. Utlang as the zoo veterinarian.
Cebu City Zoo and Conservation Center is situated Woolbright Drive, Beverly Hills, Cebu City. It is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., including holidays. Entrance fees are at Php25 for adults and Php10 for kids. For more information, you may contact them at (032) 414-7103.
D’ Family Park
If you’ve had enough of your usual mall hopping, why don’t have a picnic at D’ Family Park in Nasipit, Talamban? The park offers a lot of recreational activities, while promoting the preservation of our plants and animals.
The huge property has a mini-zoo, lake, swimming pool, playground, and a jogger’s path. It has a multifunction club house and a gazebo for intimate celebrations. The big open field can be a venue for concerts or other major events as the place also has a stage equipped with sound system.
The mini zoo is home to beautiful birds such as the rufous hornbill, rufous night heron, kite bird, and large-billed crow. Other animals include monkeys, ducks, rabbits, deer, and the Philippine leopard.
The park is part of the 20-hectare property owned by Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD), the chief public utility company that provides water to Cebu City. It is open to the public from Mondays to Sundays, from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. The entrance fee is only Php15 for adults and Php10 for kids. To uphold the wholesome atmosphere and family-centered orientation of the park, smoking and drinking of liquor are not allowed.
For more information, please call (032) 344-4384, or c/o MCWD: 254-8434 / 256-0424. The fax number c/o MCWD is (032) 254-5391.
Crocolandia is a mini zoo/park located in Baisong, Talisay City. It was founded in 2001, by the Crocolandia Foundation Inc., a non-profit, non-stock private group that centers on nature and wildlife preservation.
Providing a habitat for endangered and endemic animals, Crocolandia is home to different kinds of reptiles, mammals and birds. A huge majority of its animal residents is made up of different types of crocodiles, which is obviously the reason behind the zoo’s name. The park’s most famous occupant is a six-meter long saltwater crocodile named Lapu-Lapu.
Crocolandia has a lot of interesting and fun facilities. In line with its mission to educate, it has a library and a museum. The park boasts of gardens and fishponds, a souvenir shop, and a playground. If you wish to have some yummy snacks and refreshing drinks, they have a restaurant called the Crocolandia Grill.
A trip to Crocolandia allows kids to have fun while learning about nature, wildlife, and biodiversity. The entrance fee is Php100 for adults and Php50 for children 11 years old and below. The park gives 20% discount to groups of 25.
With its affordable entrance fee and educational features, Crocolandia is indeed a must-visit destination in Cebu. For inquiries and reservations, you may contact Crocolandia at (032) 273-1842. You may also visit www.facebook.com/pages/Crocolandia/162302317132919
Rainforest Park Cebu
Rainforest Park, which opened on August 2011, offers a unique blend of adventure, recreation and education. To fulfill its aim to create social awareness on the current environmental issues in the city, it organizes relevant activities and promotes eco-friendly products.
You will love the park’s distinct ambience, with its lush greeneries, lighted pathways and jogging track, wide walkway and streetscapes, and man-made forest areas. It also boasts of a number of adventure-thrill rides, a spa/salon, and a gift shop. It is the ideal setting to bond with family and friends, or hold educational tours for schoolchildren. It also accepts bookings for indoor or outdoor weddings and other special events.
Visitors will enjoy the different restaurants inside the park. For a cozy dining experience, head to the Oceanarium Restaurant that features a lovely view of aquarium walls. These aquariums are home to unique breeds of marine life. On the other hand, the Zoofari Café serves some delectable coffee and pastries. If you and your friends want to bond over beer and other alcoholic drinks, the Tribe’s Bar is perfect for you.
The Amazon’s Aviary & Tarzan House allows visitors to interact with different kinds of birds. Everyone should watch out for additional animals that the park will house in the future. They plan to bring in some wild animals like lions, tigers, and pythons.
Another main feature of the park is the Jungle Adventure Rides, where guests can participate in a number of exciting activities. For only Php250 per hour, they can try the Earthquake Bridge, the Deep Bucket, the Cat Walk, the Jacob Ladder, the Vines, the Burma Bridge, the Zip-Zag, the Cargo Net, and wall climbing.
Rainforest Park Cebu is located at the Ayala Access Road, in Panagda-it, Mabolo. For inquiries, you may call them at (032) 266-3246 or fax them at 239-0350. You may also visit www.rainforestparkcebu.com or www.facebook.com/pages/Rainforest-Park-Cebu/144068468988236
Mactan Island Aquarium
Do you want to see Cebu’s wonderful marine life without having to be wet and going underwater? At Mactan Island Aquarium, you get to witness some of the most mesmerizing sea creatures like sea turtles, octopi, seahorses, jellyfish, clown fish, and lionfish.
Located in the beach resort area of Mactan island, this sea aquarium provides its visitors an enriching experience. The entrance fees are Php250 for adults and Php200 for children 4.5 feet or below, while children below 2 feet are free of charge. The aquarium gives discounted rates to local residents and organized tour operators.
The fees include a personal guided tour of the ocean exhibits that ends at the shark tank. Visitors get a chance to actually feed the blacktip reef sharks (Carcharhinus melanopterus). The trained tour guides are very friendly and they may conduct the tour in English or local dialects. Guests can freely use the puzzles and coloring materials that are available in this “must-sea” place. They can hang their artworks in the kiddies’ corner or take them home.
Mactan Island Aquarium is open daily, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. It is located in Barangay Maribago, on the main highway around the island, near the EGI Resort & Hotel and Cebu White Sands. For more information, please call (032) 236-6248 or (0919)485-1276. You may also visit its Web site at mactanaquarium.xetaspace.net or Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pages/Mactan-Island-Aquarium-Cebu/44963612890
Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary
If you want to see Cebu’s rich coastal ecosystem that consists of wide-ranging coralline sand flats, mangroves, offshore coral reefs, and sea-grass beds, visit Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary. It is a sanctuary for marine species and migratory birds in the Olango Island Group, located approximately five kilometers east of Mactan Island, Cebu. The group of islands is consist of Olango Island and six other islets specifically Gilutongan, Sulpa, Nalusuan, Pangan-an, Caohagan, and Camungi.
The Olango Island is under the jurisdiction of Lapu-Lapu City and the municipality of Cordova, Cebu. It has a total land area of about 1,030 hectares or 10.3 square kilometers. In 1992, the Philippine government declared the 1,020 hectares of tidal flats in the Olango Island Group as a protected area. These tidal flats are home to several species of marine invertebrates that are the main food of the migratory birds.
The wildlife sanctuary is one of the major tourist attractions in Cebu since it is one of the seven best-known flyways in the world for migratory birds. The migrating birds that visit the sanctuary usually come from Japan, Siberia, Northern China, and other parts of northern Asia during the winter months.
About 97 species of birds can be found in the Olango Island Group, 48 of which are migratory species, while the remaining 49 species are permanent inhabitants of the island. Some species of the visiting birds are considered endangered. Among others, the migratory birds in the island group are Asiatic dowitchers, Chinese egrets, Eastern curlews, black-tailed godwits, plovers, sandpipers, and Red Knots.
For more information, you may call (0915)386-2314 or (0928)713-0117. You may also visit www.olangowildlifesanctuary.org or www.facebook.com/pages/Olango-Island-Wildlife-Sanctuary/147425111957645