Million Years Stone Park and Pattaya Crocodile Farm
The Million Years Stone Park
The Million Years Stone Park and Pattaya Crocodile Farm is located a short distance inland from Pattaya City over the Sukhumvit Road. Not immediately accessible by foot it really needs to be visited by private car, taxi or Sang Thaew. Many Pattaya hotels are able to arrange trips on behalf of customers. It would appear to be a 'must' for Thailand holidays in the Pattaya Chonburi area.
The Park is quite well signposted from the Sukhumvit road but as you get closer the signage goes awry and it is quite easy to miss the entrance to the collection altogether.
The collection first opened its doors to the public in 1992. It was four years in construction and financed by a local businessman, whom, it is said had a great appreciation of natural beauty. He brought to the place a number of interesting natural artifacts which he had collected as a personal hobby over thirty years. Today its spreads out over 70 acres and is a very popular venue for visitors to the Chonburi area of Thailand.
A case of overcrowding
Entrance to the park is 300 Thai Baht for an adult. Just inside the entrance there is a large and quite interesting gift shop which would appeal to most Thailand tourists. There are a few places dotted around where you can purchase food and soft drinks.
No safety barrier here
The gardens at the Million Years Stone Park are both beautiful and bizarre at the same time. They are possibly unique too in that I have not seen anything quite like them anywhere on my travels. Here huge unsually shaped stones compete with both natural and petrified trees to both complement and enhance the display of beautiful, shrubs, bushes, flowers and trees.
For the most part the paths are in very good repair and these along with the neat and litter free environment make it a pleasure to walk around.
One of the very rare signs
It is when one gets to the zoo side of things that the place starts to go downhill fast, like a runaway train. I have visited the collection twice before, it has not improved, or for that matter changed in any of my visits. It remains consistently bad.
I am not suggesting that it is dirty because it isn't. Everywhere is very much neat and tidy.
Honey Coloured Bear
I dislike crocodile shows. In fact I hate crocodile shows. They are not clever, brave or educational they are consistently cruel. What do people get out of watching animal abuse. This is akin to cock fighting or bear baiting and such senseless behaviour has no place in the modern zoo.
But this is not a modern zoo. There is no conservation, no education, no research, no enrichment, very poor signage. This is pure commercial exploitation and explains its links with the Tiger Temple and Sri Racha Tiger Zoo. All three much of a sameness of not really caring about the creatures they are earning their living from.
Many Tigers housed in less than adequate enclosures
Another Sri Racha
One of the nicest features of the collection is the Giant Mekhong Catfish in the lake. Public are allowed to feed and so it is not difficult to get a glimpse. They must be coming up to 80-90 kilo in weight now. I did notice that there was about quarter the number of previous visits.
The Aviaries are all very much of a sameness and several contain Macaws of uncertain parentage. There was a Greater and Lesser adjutant stork in adjoining aviaries. Interesting to compare...but why one of each? I would be inclined to double them up for a bit of company.
One of the better crocodile enclosures
There appears to be a deliberate attempt to hybridise Zebras with Domestic Ponies. Wow won't that be clever? NOT! Again one of these things which destroy any serious good zoo leanings.
There were Ostrich, Emu and Cassowary. Impressive looking Cassowary too.
Tigers? They appear to be trying to go into competition with Sri Racha Tiger Zoo. I counted 43 of them and I don't think I saw them all. Most were inadequately housed. There was one halfway decent enclosure for them but I doubt that it was possible that all ever got the chance to go in there.
Another of the rare signs
There were nine elephants including 4 calves. All appeared to be in good condition.
Loads of crocodiles. All shapes, colours, sizes and deformities. Some had space whereas others were very overcrowded. There was the opportunity to feed the crocs with baited fishing poles. The public like it and actually I would much prefer this as the 'crocodilian activity' than the cruel perverted 'shows'.
One of the 'specials' here are the blonde Himalayan Bears. I saw four of these along with a couple of natural coloured ones. All were obese! I actually believe that such obesity is cruel.
There were a couple of leopards (one with an injured back), dromedary camels, Llamas, a few pheasants and not much else.
Barriers around the collection ranged from the more than adequate to the non existent.
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