Timings: 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM, Weekly Holiday: Tuesday
Guindy Children’s park and Chennai Snake Park are a part of the Guindy National Park campus. They are a small extension of it, and is open to tourists. I guess the Guindy National park itself is a protected area and requires prior permission for tourists to visit, and it is one of the few national parks located within a major city in India. In case you don’t want to read everything below, just have a look at the above embedded short movie (1 min & 34 sec) I made on this place, to get an idea of what you can find here.
The Guindy Children’s park and Chennai Snake park are located in the same campus but have separate entrances. They are located just before the entry to Adyar/ OMR in the Sardar Patel Road, right next to Cancer Institute and IIT, Madras.
If you expect your experience to be similar to other national parks, where the animals are freely roaming around and you go around in a mobile vehicle (bus, van, etc), you’ll be disappointed! The Guindy Children’s park is more like a zoo than a national park! Most of the animals/ birds are kept inside cages, just like a zoo.
But there is one bigger enclosure (with a net on the top) where a lot of birds were kept and there was enough space for the birds to move around. Perhaps the enclosure was as big as 25 meters x 15 meters, if I remember it right. There was even a small pond in the center of this enclosure, where some of the birds were gladly swimming.
There is one more positive aspect – The spotted deer’s were freely roaming around the park! The deers were cool about people interacting with it and taking pictures. I saw one deer even in the parking lot! I wish the other animals were outside the cage too, and people could move around the park in a closed bus/ van. Its a good deal for both – think about it!
The play area, lawn and garden are very good and are being maintained quite neatly as well. The whole place is filled with rich fauna and there are so many varieties of trees/ plants/ shrubs where ever you look. There is a canteen just outside this park and some snacks are available there.
The Chennai snake park is just next to the Guindy children’s park campus but there is a separate entrance for this. There are two things you can expect to see here – Lot of snakes and lot of crocodiles (alligators).
There was one thing that was strangely common with all the crocodiles / alligators – They were not moving at all! At one place, I waited for a couple of minutes and one crocodile finally moved. Even the above crocodile with its mouth open was still for over a couple of minutes when I stood there, clicking its photo!
There is one chameleon in the above photo, which I was not able to identify even from three feet distance! This photo was taken after zooming from that close range. It seems there were four chameleon’s in this cage and there was a board challenging visitors to spot all of them. No, I was not able to!
Of course, there were a lot of snakes in this place, as well. After all, this was a Snake park. Perhaps the best exhibit of this park was its modern interactive center with many visual exhibits (pictures with back-lighting and videos on LCD monitors). That makes one wonder, if that is not enough? Why enclose animals, reptiles and birds inside cages when even jungles can be brought inside home (through TV/ Internet).
I wish more interactive centers replace zoos and cages very soon. Or at least, the animals and birds could be left in a protected natural surroundings where they are free to roam around and we could go through the premises in a closed bus or van. Its very much possible to do that in this place because there were no carnivorous animals (except the crocodiles) at all!