The Arignar Anna Zoological Park, also called the Vandalur Zoo is situated in Vandalur, a suburban town, which is 31 kilometres away from the City of Chennai. The zoo was founded in Chennai in 1855 and was recognized by the Central Zoo Authority of India as the first public zoo in India. It is spread over an area of 1,490 acres and is the largest zoological garden in India. This zoo is the neighbouring park of the Guindy National Park located in Chennai. The Arignar Anna Zoological Park accommodates about 170 species of animals in about 81 enclosures. There are about 47 varieties of animals, 63 varieties of birds, 31 varieties of reptiles, and is home to seven white tigers. It houses more than 5 varieties of amphibians, 25 varieties of fishes, and 10 varieties of insects in the zoo. The park is a storehouse of Tamilnadu’s fauna and is credited as the state's second wildlife sanctuary next to Mudumalai Forests.
History of the Arignar Anna Zoological Park
The Arignar Anna Zoological Park earlier known as the Madras Zoo was started in 1855 and was later moved to the Park Town, near Central Railway Station in 1861. The Madras Zoo was the first-ever zoo that was started in India. As population and urbanization were on the rise in the city, many animals began to suffer environmental pollution and as a result, a plan was formulated in 1976 to take care of the animals in a healthy environment. Following the instructions of the Tamilnadu Government, the State Forest Department selected a widespread area of about 510 hectares at Vandalur Reserved Forest, near Chennai City and began the park construction process in 1979. On completion of maximum work the zoo was renamed Arignar Anna Zoological Park and was opened to the public by the then Hon. Chief Minister of the state in 1985. It is one of the biggest zoos in India and one of the largest parks in the world. The mountain cave entrance is a specially attractive feature of this zoo and the other extraordinary features are the Lion and Deer safari parks, Bird confinements, houses for Reptiles and Nocturnal creatures and an aquarium. For the convenience of the visitors, non-polluting battery-operated vehicles are available to enjoy a tour of the park.
Animals at the zoo
The Arignar Anna Zoological Park of Chennai with its dry evergreen forests and gentle rising and falling landscape provides shelter for more than 170 varieties of animals. The open and dry island type enclosures, the unseen walls and the natural surroundings help the animals to move about with a feel of roaming in their natural habitats. The variety of animals residing at the Arignar Anna Zoological Park is Tigers, White Tigers, Lions, Leopards, Panthers, Jaguars, Hyenas, Elephants, Wolves, Jackals, Sambars, Giraffes, Hippopotamus, Camels, Nilgai, Barking Deer, Blackbuck, Hog, Deer, Sangai, Zebras, Baboon, Otter, Hanuman Langur, Leaf-capped Langur, Lion-tailed Macaque, and many more.
The zoo also proudly exhibits Butterfly houses, Bird Sanctuary Aviaries of Flamingoes, Seagulls, Teals, Storks and Herons, walk-through Aviary of Parakeets, Bulbuls, Peacocks, Partridges, Quails, pigeons, Mynas, Koels, Crows, Kingfishers and a variety of Indian fowls etc. It also has a reptile house, amphibian house, crocodile enclosure, small mammals’ house and aquarium.
Address: Arignar Anna Zoological Park, Vandalur, Chennai, - 600048, Tamil Nadu.
By Road, it is 32 KM from Chennai city
The nearest Railway Station:
Vandalur – 1 KM
Tambaram Railway Station – 6 KM
The nearest Airport
Meenambakkam – 15 KM
The zoo is open on all days from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm and is closed on Tuesdays for weekly maintenance.
1. Children below 5 years: No fees
2. Children (above 5 years and below 12 years): Rs. 10.00 (Ten only)
3. Adult: Rs. 15.00 (Fifteen only)
4. Government School and Government-Aided School Children (Age 5 – 12 years): Rs 2.00 (Two only)
5. Private School Children (Age 5 – 12 years): Rs 10.00 (Ten only)
1. Camera: Rs. 25.00 (Twenty Five only). Video cameras are not allowed inside the park.
2. Battery operated vehicles and Lion Safari tours are charged with Rs. 12 (Twelve only) for Adults and Rs. 6 (Six only) for children.
1. Motor Cycle: Rs. 1.00 (One only)
2. Car / Van: Rs. 2.00 (Two only)
3. Bus: Rs. 5.00 (Five only)
Private Vehicles are not allowed inside the park.