Standing as a heritage zone and the one next to the Napier Museum is the Trivandrum zoo which adds to the proud and prestige of Tvm city. One of the oldest in the country, was established as an adjunct to the Museum in 1857 by the erstwhile Maharaja of Travancore in order to attract more visitors. The typical iron barred, cement floored, dingy animal cages built in the past still stand as monuments of the royal style and architectural supremacy rather than being proper housing for animals. Spread over in 55 acres of land located in the heart of the temple city of Thiruvananathapuram, the Zoo offers a rare opportunity for the visitors to experience and enjoy unparalleled picturesque and panoramic sylvan surroundings besides vivid animal collections.
The Zoo has 82 different species of animals from all over India and abroad. It has several species of animals and birds from Ethiopian and Australian Zoo geographic regions. The Lion tailed Macaque, Nilgiri Langur, Nilgiri Tahr, One Horned Great Indian Rhino, Asiatic Lion, Royal Bengal Tiger are prominent among the indigenous endangered fauna whereas, Giraffe, Hippo, Zebra, Cape Buffalo are the guests from African region. It will usher in a new era with the completion of the ongoing modernization works in the Zoo.
It is one among the well designed in Asia and is set amidst woodland, lakes and lawns. The Trivandrum Zoo was originally set up for recreational purpose only. But with more and more loss of forest and wildlife in the process of human development, the goal of the Zoo changed from recreation to conservation. Today Zoos are seen as the last resort for endangered animals and birds. A trip to the Zoo is like taking an adventurous tour through a jungle in the heart of the city. A reptile house, with various species of poisonous and non-poisonous snakes, is also located in the premises. The recently-opened snake house ranks as one of the best in the world. The Zoo is undoubtedly a big attraction for children and the Zoological Garden makes for a perfect tourist destination. There was one boating facilities available in zoo but now due to some reasons that has stopped and the water is used for other purposes.
The Napier Museum is an art and natural history museum situated near the city zoo. Both are in same premises. The museum was established in 1855. In 1874, the old Museum Building was demolished and foundation for the new building was laid. The new building was named after Lord Napier the Governor of Madras from 1866-1872.The architectural masterpiece was designed by Robert Chisholm, the consulting Architect of the Madras Government and the construction was completed in 1880. Napier Museum is a landmark in the city with its unique ornamentation and architectural style with gothic roof and minarets. The Indo-Saracenic structure also boasts a natural air conditioning system. The museum houses a rare collection of archaeological and historic artifacts, bronze idols, ancient ornaments, a temple chariot and ivory carvings. It also contains the Sri Chitra Art Gallery, which contains works from Raja Ravi Varma and Nicholas Roerich, as well as examples of Mughal and Tanjore art. There is also a children’s park inside the zoo premises. The museum will be opened from 10.00 am to 4.30 pm. It will be closed on Mondays, Wednesday forenoons, January 26th, August 15th, Thiruvonam and Mahanavami. A visit to the Napier Museum complex reveals a glimpse of Kerala. An oriental collection consisting of paintings from China, Japan, Tibet and Bali offers a visual treat and are a tribute to the art and culture of these countries rich cultural heritage.The museum displays a rare idol of Vishnu that dates back to the 8th century. The idol has been retrieved from the Ambalapuzha temple and is regarded as the oldest known metal image in Kerala. The stone sculptures in the museum too belong to the same time period. A prominent attraction is the sculpture called Shiva with Sati. A 400 year old clock and a herbal coat worn by the Maharajas of Travancore are some of the other fascinating attractions.