Emperor Valley Zoo Port of Spain. Daily 9:30am-6pm. TT30/US$5, under age 13 TT15. Named for the giant iridescent blue butterfly that once populated this valley, this small 7-acre zoo has been here since 1952 and is the largest in the Caribbean. It is currently being expanded and upgrading exhibits as it aims for accreditation. Assistant curator Richard Wallace says the aim is “to be a small San Diego Zoo.” It has an extensive collection of local animals (crab-eating raccoons, boa constrictors) and birds (the Trinidad motmot) plus flamingos from the San Diego Zoo. Two large South American River Turtles are the oldest in Trinidad and have been here since the zoo opened. I saw two Trinidad white-fronted capuchin monkeys busy grooming each other, and two bright pink scarlet ibis perched way back in an enclosure. A circular path takes you past most exhibits. Two 3-year-old giraffes from Texas are the first in the Caribbean. A contest named them Melman (children’s choice, from “Madagascar” movie) and Mandela (adult’s choice, to honor Nelson, who had just died). The zoo has five white Bengal tigers, two of which were born at the zoo and are the first to be born in Trinidad and the Caribbean. If you visit, be sure to apply insect repellent. My souvenir was a bite, probably from a sand fly, and it left me with big red welts for several days--probably an allergic reaction. Note that the local natural treatment is to rub a lime on bites.
|blue macaw at Emperor Valley Zoo in Trinidad|
|flamingoes at Emperor Valley Zoo in Trinidad|
|turtles at Emperor Valley Zoo in Trinidad|
|Trinidad white-fronted capuchin monkeys at Emperor Valley Zoo in Trinidad|
|scarlet Ibis at Emperor Valley Zoo in Trinidad|
|giraffe at Emperor Valley Zoo in Trinidad|
|baboon at Emperor Valley Zoo in Trinidad|
|playground at Emperor Valley Zoo in Trinidad|
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images ©2017 Carole Terwilliger Meyers