Hainan today Fall in love with Hainan Pandas, Ligers, and More at Hainan Tropical Wildlife Park and Botanical Garden

Pandas, Ligers, and More at Hainan Tropical Wildlife Park and Botanical Garden

2 May 2019

When we arrived at Hainan Tropical Wildlife Park and Botanical Garden, the first animal they took us to see was a ginormous elephant. Giggling kids held their hands out with carrots and various greens as the elephant stretched out his truck and gobbled down his veggie buffet. Our big friend was eating the vegetables almost as quickly as smiling children where offering it! It’s not everyday that you get to hand-feed an elephant. 

Next, we had the opportunity to ride some horses. I don’t think I’ve been on a horse since I was a young boy!

The kids in our crew not only loved the elephant and horses, but also got to get up close and personal with some crazy monkeys! Just be careful they don’t reach into your pockets and steal your afternoon snack…

Hippos, giraffes, bears, snakes, birds… You name it and they have it! But have you ever heard of a liger or a tigon? How many of you thought a liger was a made up animal from that movie Napoleon Dynamite? Did you know a tiger and lion can mate together? What do their offspring look like? Well, you’ll have to come to the park to find out! And of course, what zoo in China would be complete without a few pandas?

But not only animals can be enjoyed at the park. Locals proudly display Hainanese culture, such as the traditions of Hainan Island’s original inhabitants, the Li ethnic group. 

If you had to pick just one tradition to represent the Li and their culture, it might be their bamboo dancing, and I've been lucky enough to see it twice now. Half of the performers kneel on the ground and move the bamboo staffs back in forth to the rhythm of music while the other half performs increasingly complex dancing and jumping overtop all while avoiding stepping on the bamboo or getting their feet stuck between two sticks. If you had to pick a second tradition, it would likely be their beautiful traditional clothing and jewellery which you can see here.

This time I was invited to have a try! It's definitely not as easy as it looks and you have to be very coordinated…

But then again, I was never a good dancer!

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