It took me a while, but ever since I've wrote to you about the incredibly mystifying Lisbon Oceanarium I have been wanting to tell you about the Lisbon Zoo. This institution has had many changes throughout the years, adapting from the more controversial "animals for our amusement" concept of its inception to a place where true efforts for conservation and awareness for these animals have been done.
The Lisbon Zoo has proudly displayed for visitors around 2.000 animals. From mammals to reptiles, from small monkeys to mighty gorillas, and even species of exotic plants, it is focused on educating the visitor by offering a myriad of informative panels, guided trips (specially design for a younger audience) and live shows, such as a Dolphin Show, where the animals show their skills but the handlers try to make it very clear that the creatures are not mistreated nor forced into performing.
I, myself, am a huge animal geek. I love to know and see all I can about animals. And I do recommend you visit this Zoo, it is large enough for a good family trip (although I do suggest you arrive early if you plan to visit on the weekends, it can make huge queues to get in) and it has enough variety to fill your interest! It is even great for art-students! If you're goal is to draw the live animals for references, the zoo staff has been known to let students enter for free if you come equipped!
Lastly some recommendations: Besides what I already wrote on arriving early, I also recommend you go see the small Children's Farm near the entrance (very good for families), the Reptile House is a personal favorite and the Cable Car that takes you around the whole park, giving you better scope of the area and some interesting perspectives on the animals.
And always remember to be respectful of these amazing creatures.
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