The Taipei Zoo is ending its two-month run of evening activities today with a series of Aboriginal performances, games and workshops starting at 5pm in front of the zoo’s main entrance.
Now in its seventh year, the annual series of events takes place every Saturday during the vacation months of July and August, providing children and their parents the opportunity to participate in different themed activities designed to help participants gain a better understanding of the animal kingdom and the environment.
The zoo extended its opening hours to 9pm on Saturdays during this period, with a number of areas — including the nocturnal animal house, amphibian and reptile house, koala house, insectarium, indigenous animal area and the children’s zoo — remaining open to visitors after sunset.
The evening hours have proven popular with visitors, the zoo said. More than 13,000 visitors have made nocturnal trips to the menagerie so far this year, compared with 12,100 in the previous year, said Lin Hui-chen (林惠珍), a member of the zoo’s promotion and education department.
Tonight’s festivities will begin with bamboo dances, followed by chanting by Atayal elder Kao Chin-lien (高金蓮) and a series of traditional dances and folk music performances by Atayal artists.
Apart from performances, several demonstrations and games have been set up to introduce participants to the wisdom of Aboriginal cultures. For example, members of the Tsou tribe will show how a traditional spinning top is used to predict harvest yields.
Other visitors will have a chance to learn about the Bunun tribe’s bow-shaped string musical instrument made from shell ginger and bamboo, as well as the croquet equipment made by the Paiwan tribe using Kleinhovia hospita, an evergreen tree native to parts of tropical Asia.
The evening activities are also intended to let children and youngsters have first-hand experiences of zoologists’ work, Lin said. Previous workshops have included an overnight summer camp in which the zookeepers show participants what it is like to work at the zoo.
“Zookeepers demonstrated how to train large animals such as chimpanzees and giraffes to open their mouths or stay still so they can do health checks on them,” Lin said.
Another workshop took a group of senior-high school students to the veterinarians’ workstation where they learned about the vets’ work and skills such as making tranquilizer-tipped arrows.
The evening admission costs NT$30 for grown-ups, but it is free of charge for children aged 12 and younger. The zoo also offers free shuttle rides till 9pm. More information can be found at the zoo’s bilingual site at www.zoo.taipei.gov.tw.