NEWS that the 95-year-old Johor Zoo, closed since 2020, will reopen by the end of the year after extensive upgrading works has been welcomed by many.
Part-time art tutor Lee Wei Ling, 39, said her family shared many fond memories at the zoo before its temporary closure.
“We spent countless weekends and school holidays going to the zoo, sometimes bringing along my nieces and nephews as well.
“My two children were disappointed when it was closed, as they were also concerned about the well-being of the animals,” she said.
Lee said the zoo used to be packed during public and school holidays.
“There would be long queues of people waiting to buy tickets.
“I read that with the upgrades, there would also be better parking facilities.
“This is good news for visitors who often had to park on either side of the road, which caused traffic congestion.
“I hope that after the upgrade, the zoo will once again be a popular destination for families and tourists,” she said, adding that one of her children’s favourite activities was feeding sugar cane to the elephants.
Civil servant Nur Fadhliana Shaari, 41, is looking forward to taking her six-year-old son to the zoo for the first time in his life.
“We have never been to the zoo, so when I found out that it would open by year-end, I got really excited.
“This is the first time I’m bringing my son to see the animals up close.
“It is expensive for us to visit the zoo in other states or cross the border to go to the Singapore Zoo.
Johor Zoo, the oldest in the country, has been closed since 2020 for upgrading works.
State housing and local government committee chairman Datuk Mohd Jafni Md Shukor was quoted as saying that Johor government was in the final stages of appointing a contractor for the upgrades.
The long and tedious documentation process had been completed.
“Upon appointing a contractor, work would begin in July to meet the target of completion in December, he had said.
Works include improving the visitor walkway, entrance arch, a new outdoor carpark and moving to online ticketing system.
Mohd Jafni had said the project also involved improving the zoo’s pond, gates, piping and electrical systems.
He said the animals would not be relocated or affected by the facelift.
The current ticket price is RM2 per adult and RM1 per child.
Mohd Jafni said the state had allocated almost RM1mil annually for the zoo’s maintenance, workers’ salary and food for the animals, among others.
Johor Zoo is a legacy of the late Sultan Sir Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Sir Abu Bakar.
The zoo, located in Jalan Gertak Merah, was named “Kebun Binatang” (animal park) when it first opened in 1928.
It has constantly remained a popular hangout for locals during weekends, school holidays and public holidays.