Kuala Lumpur Zoo & Aquarium

Kuala Lumpur Attractions

Kuala Lumpur National Zoo & Aquarium

Kuala Lumpur National Zoo & Aquarium is laid out over 110 acres around a central lake. Also known as the Zoo Negara, it is located 13km northeast of Kuala Lumpur beyond Jalan Tun Razak along Jalan Ulu Klang. The zoo is home to approximately 5,137 animals including tigers and wildlife from Asia and Africa.

90% of the National Zoo’s animals are kept in spacious exhibits with landscaping emulating its natural habitat. Opened in 1963, it is managed by a non-governmental organisation known as the Malaysian Zoological Society. A member of the South East Asian Zoos Association (SEAZA), the zoo is set on such vast grounds that you will need at least three hours to explore the whole place.


The idea for an official Malaysian zoo began in 1957 with a mini zoo started by the Malayan Agri-Horticultural Association (MAHA). Slowly but surely, as it attracted more and more visitors (eventually hitting its one million mark), the concept for a larger space was proposed and the federal government decided to build it in Ulu Klang, Selangor.

In 1963 Malaysia’s first Prime Minister YTM Tunku Abdul Rahman officiated at the new zoo’s opening. Since it was located in such close proximity to so much undeveloped land mainly consisting of lush tropical forest, the zoo was nicknamed the ‘Zoo in the Jungle’.



The National Zoo has a forest, lake and over 459 species of wildlife, with particular emphasis on indigenous species. There is an entire exhibit dedicated to man’s closest relative at the Ape Centre which houses Bornean and Sumatran orang-utans, while the Monkey/Lesser Apes section has gibbons, siamangs, silver leaf monkeys, long tailed macaques and pig-tailed macaques.

What’s more, native wildlife such as the musang, civet, tiger, bearded pig and rhino can be found and the park also features an exceptional collection of snakes, including the Sumatran pit viper and the Indian rock python. To make it easier to explore the zoo, there is a shuttle bus which drops visitors off outside popular enclosures such as the tiger and lion exhibits.

Other Exhibits

There are a total of 16 exhibits at the National Zoo & Aquarium – the Reptile Park, Malaysian Elephants exhibit, Lake Birds display, Bear Complex and Mammal Kingdom are among its most popular sections. Kids are well catered for with a whole section devoted to kids-friendly animals such as rabbits, ducks, chickens, parrots and guinea pigs at Children's World. There is even a mini-rainforest with a variety of plants and insects plus a small aviary, fish pond, miniature horse barn and playground here. Another kids-favourite section is a little island with a pair of smooth-coated otters – watch as they swim around and play with each other; it almost seems like they adore the public attention.

The Aquarium

The Tunku Abdul Rahman Aquarium at the back of the zoo proper is rather gloomy but it is worthwhile to venture in and catch a glimpse of rare fish species and various coral fishes. It is the first ecological-based freshwater aquarium that highlights the Malaysian river and wetlands with local fish and even endangered species such as crabs, prawns, corals, and aquatic insects. There are over 80 species of marine life here.


The National Zoo has undertaken numerous conservation efforts in the last few years, its most successful one primarily being the breeding of 200 highly endangered Milky Storks, that the zoo intends to release into the wild.

Besides that there are animal shows and photo booths and the zoo provides other guided tours, talks, seminars and interactive sessions. However, it is the National Zoo’s volunteer program that lets you in on the real action; you’ll get to interact with the animals as well as learn more about them. In an effort to raise animal awareness Zoo Negara has published a storybook chronicling the life of Manja the orang-utan, plus it distributes a free publication, the Animal Classification Workbook, to primary school students.

A New Age

The National Zoo constantly strives to embrace new ways to attract visitors: in 2007, it began a 24-hour internet video feed streamed live from inside the zoo known as Zoo Negara Live! A joint project between Zoo Negara and the Faculty of Art & Design at UiTM Shah Alam, the camera feed focused on two Malayan Tigers, Pacin and Zanah, transferred from the Melaka Zoo in an exchange program. An incredibly interesting attraction as it allowed visitors to see the show area and the night quarters of the tigers (also the feeding area), due to unfortunate circumstances the stream became unavailable in early 2010.

More recently, the National Zoo started a program where visitors have a chance to see nocturnal animals at their prime in the Zoo by Night safari.

Getting to National Zoo

It is easy to get to the National Zoo; those driving from Ampang can use the Middle Ring Road 2 (MRR2), u-turn at the Taman Melawati exit and take the first left; from Gombak, take the first left after Taman Melawati and exit the flyover.

From central KL a taxi will take you to the National Zoo & Aquarium although it’s cheaper to hop on a bus. Metrobus #16 from Central Market in Chinatown runs to the zoo; alternatively, another cheap transport option is to use the Kelana Jaya Line Light Rail Transit, alight at the Wangsa Maju LRT station and take a taxi or the feeder bus to the zoo.

National Zoo Kuala Lumpur

Opening Hours: 09:00 – 18:00
Location: Ulu Klang, Taman Melawati
Tel: +603 4108 3422

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