A Day at the Rīga Zoo(dārzs)The Mežaparks Stop on the No. 11 Tram

No feathers? No fur? Then you'll find what you're looking for here. Since this covers a lot of territory, we've more-or-less arranged it by biggest to smallest.

Click on a thumbnail to view the picture. Mouse over the either side of the picture and click to navigate or use the left/right arrow keys.

No contest here! Elephants rule where size is concerned. There are two at the zoo.

Say hello to Rupa. She was born in Savala, India, in 1975. Previously, she's lived at the Basel and Copenhagen Zoos. The Zoo's other elephant, Radja, was born in 1968, also in Savala. It seems he developed a bit of temper as a young circus star and was put out to pasture in early 1970 and has been living the zoo life ever since.

Elephants may be big,
but hippos are wi-i-i-i-i-de!

This big alligator doesn't seem to mind the heat. Sadly, he's still living in an old exhibit...

...not much more than shallow concrete pool. As the zoo's patriarch (here since 1935!) he deserves better!
We were overjoyed to hear from Guna that the Zoo's oldest inhabitant, and perhaps the oldest alligator in captivity, who turns 67 this year, has moved to a brand new exhibit in the Tropical House! And, yes, you do use all the s's and p's: alligator mississippiensis
Čabulītis, as he was named, died August 21, 2007.

This poor snake is in a plain old tub, just trying to stay cool, hoping for a corporate sponsor... the old and new exhibits are worlds apart. Fortunately, as the good news about our alligator friend demonstrates, progress is being made!

Pink bare flesh, that would be...
wait, hold on!
Kids can go on a camel ride for one lat.

There's actually quite a wide and interesting collection of smaller reptiles...

...they've been able to benefit from more natural surroundings.

These tree frogs can stick to just about anything!

There's even an aquarium!

On the grand scale of things, these fellows are the smallest.
Then again, there are the ants!

We should mention that zoo fans have written Čabulītis' biography on on Wikipedia!

There's a lot more to see and do than we've been able to show here, especially the exhibit halls — like a complete state-of-the-art rain forest, complete with gum trees! Or the leaf cutter ant exhibit, complete with leaves, branches, and the ant colony in cutaway view in plexiglas. If you find yourself in Riga, you definitely should make the Zoological Garden one of your stops! It's a short ride on the #11 tram from the center of town to the zoo stop (Mežaparks). You'll know as soon as you've arrived, the tram stops opposite the zoo entrance—and it's the last stop on the line, so you can't miss it.

We hope you've enjoyed our little tour and that you'll be motivated to visit the next time you're in Rīga. We're always glad to hear your comments and suggestions.

Of course, the animal kingdom is not grouped by "birdies," "fuzzy-wuzzies," and "baldies." As the Riga Zoo web site informs us, it's grouped by "abinieki" (amphibians), "rāpuļi" (reptiles), "putni" (birds), and "zīdītāji" (mammals). You can find their site, in Latvian, English, and Russian at:

Conservation and zoo links you might also find of interest:

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