HAVE NOT SEEN YUAN ZAI (圓仔)
Taipei Zoo (臺北市立動物園) is open every day of the holiday except Thursday. Judging by Yuan Zai’s three weeks so far in the limelight, though, it is probable that she’ll be asleep during your stay. This simply means more quality time for you to spend with Little Mai (小麥) — the baby giraffe — or the zoo’s three new joeys. Born on July 24, Little Mai is now six months old. Like all newborn giraffes, she endured a drop at birth of 1.5m from mother Chang Hsiao (長宵). Not at all daunted, Little Mai got right back up and is now ready to face the public. The three baby kangaroos can be seen, too, as they protrude from their mothers’ pouches. Earlier this month, one was observed collecting nutritional supplements of its mother’s feces.
At the Taipei Zoo, the staff is also keeping busy. To mark the New Year, there’s a lion dance on Friday and Journey to the East (西遊記) puppet shows by the Ki Li Gan Puppet Show troupe (唭哩岸布袋戲團) from Friday to Feb. 4 between 1pm and 2pm at the entrance of the zoo’s Education Center (教育中心). Inside the center, there’s a special Year of the Horse exhibition dedicated to equines, a family that includes horses, zebras, donkeys and subspecies like Przewalski’s horse that have nearly been extinct due to poaching and human encroachment on their habitats. This show uses skulls and other specimen to tell the story of the animal’s evolution, their relationship with humans and conservation efforts, according to zoo spokesman Chang Ming-hsiung (張明雄).
What: Taipei Zoo
When: Starting Friday from 9am to 5pm
Where: 30, Xinguang Rd Sec 2, Taipei (臺北市文山區新光路2段30號)
Cost: NT$60 (regular admission)
WERE BORN IN the YEAR OF THE HORSE
Green World (綠世界), a 70-hectare ecological farm in Hsinchu County, is offering free admission to guests born in the year of the horse. This accredited wildlife preserve is fascinating and slightly more commercial than the zoo, featuring close-up experiences with animals, a rainforest thundershower simulation, a shop of butterfly specimen and a breathtaking outdoor toilet with stone urinals. The holiday offer is good with ID starting Friday. For more information, www.green-world.com.tw.
What: Green World
When: Starting Friday from 8:30am to 5:30pm
Where: 20, Neighborhood 3, Dahu Village, Dapu Township, Hsinchu County (新竹縣北埔鄉大湖村7鄰20號)
Cost: Free for select guests, NT$350 (regular admission)
On the down side, if your sign is the horse, it is your turn this year to clash with the Tai Sui. According to Taoist teachings, persons with an offensive sign can mitigate their bad luck by going to a temple and lighting a Tai Sui lamp (太歲燈), which is offered at most major temples. Dalongdong Baoan Temple (大龍峒保安宮) at 16 Hami St, Taipei City (台北市哈密街61號) is open throughout the holidays and will mark the New Year with a symbolic 108 bell chimes starting at 11pm on Thursday. Xingtian Temple (行天宮) at 109 Minquan E Rd Sec 2, Taipei (台北市民權西路二段109號) is also open daily and offers free spring couplets from 9am to 8pm.
WANT SOMETHING LOUD
Troupes from the Asia-Pacific region will meet in Greater Tainan to put on five days of modern and traditional percussion compositions. The 2014 Tainan International Drumming Festival (台南國際鼓樂節) has booked Ten Drum (十鼓), Cross Metal (手合鐵鼓樂團) from Taiwan; Japan’s T-E-A-M, Nobushi and Maidaiko Aska-Gumi; SLAP from South Korea; and NADI Singapura.