Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
Submitted by viravira on 19 November 2013 • Destination
What’s so secret about this Batu Secret Zoo? Well, seeing that it was packed with visitors, at least during the weekend when Diyan and I visited it, I’d say nothing. But I think that’s the brilliance of whoever came up with the name idea.
“Let’s name it a Secret to evoke people’s curiosity. People love secrets!” That’s how I imagined the name Batu Secret Zoo came about.
And I say, they hit bull’s eye! Diyan and I were as curious as so many other people, so we visited the zoo in our honeymoon trip.
Batu Secret Zoo is basically like any zoo you may have been, where animals are exhibited in cages, ponds and tanks, with paths for visitors to walk amongst them. They divide the sections to monkeys, marsupials, reptiles, rodents, marine animals, and many more.
The animal collection consists of those from around the world, naming tigers from Africa and Sumatra, wallabies from Australia, a gigantic old turtle from Aldabra Island, capybara, the biggest rodent Diyan liked to talk about so much, from South America, and a lot more.
With Ragunan Zoo and Bandung Zoo as the only zoos I knew growing up in Indonesia, I didn’t think a zoo could be this cool and well-maintained! That is, putting aside the Safari parks in West Java and Bali that I’ve seen before, but that’s another concept.
Batu Secret Zoo opened in 2010 and so far the animals seem healthy and well-fed, and the exhibits are well-maintained. I hope all the animals live well and happy even though they’re being taken from their natural habitat, and that the conservation objective is kept real.
The zoo is sort of divided in 2 major sections. The part you see since entrance is where they exhibit the smaller and less dangerous animals (well, except the snakes in the reptile section). The bigger animals, like tigers and bears, are located near exit. And between these two parts you can have a fun break in the Happy Land.
Since most of the visitors of Batu Secret Zoo are families with children and youngsters, it’s pretty logical that there’s a mini amusement park in the back part. It’s called Happy Land, though it’s Fantasy Land if you look in their official website.
You’re free to hop on the rides in Happy Land, such as the mini roller coasters, carousels and bumper cars, and have a scare at the Horror House, with no extra charge. But don’t expect adrenaline-pumping rides. These are baby rides compared to, say, Cedar Point (the only one I’ve been in the US and got me almost puke after one helluva ride..LOL) or even Dufan in Jakarta. Having said that, Happy Land was actually a happy place, judging from the smiles and laughter of the visitors, including us 🙂
Still in Happy Land, there’s a swimming pool with water slides. One thing I didn’t expect was to see this cute little girl – about 2 year old – actually pooped in the kiddie pool! Aarrrgh, now that was the real horror! LOL..
Batu Secret Zoo is only a part of the whole Jatim Park 2 (yup, it’s a sequel from Jatim Park; where “Jatim” is short for “Jawa Timur”, translates to East Java). Jatim Park 2 also includes Museum Satwa (the museum of animals) and Pohon Inn (‘pohon’ means tree), a hotel with gigantic tree façade. And then there’s also Eco Green Park in the complex, which is a park where you can learn about the ecology, supposedly in a fun way.
Honestly, I regret not having enough time to do all the parks and museum. We only went to the Batu Secret Zoo because we arrived there already at 2 PM, and it was almost dark when we got out.
Someday we will go back to Batu again, I promise!
Aside from the good maintenance, what I really like about Batu Secret Zoo is the informative and effective signage. You don’t need to worry about getting lost.
Entrance fee when we visited the zoo in June, 2013:
Jatim Park 2 (Batu Secret Zoo plus Museum Satwa): IDR 90,000 / person. (You can’t buy a ticket worth only for the Batu Secret Zoo).
Jatim Park 2 plus Eco Green Park: IDR 110,000 / person.
Batu is a small town only about 30-45 minutes drive from Malang city, where most tourists are accommodated (so did we, in Tugu Hotel). To get there from Malang, you can rent car for about IDR 500,000 (US$45.50)/day, which includes gas and driver. We had it arranged by the hotel’s kind staff.
If you’re driving from Surabaya, it takes about two hours to get to Batu Secret Zoo.