Christmas Day at the Chiang Mai Zoo

Sparkly happiness!
We were in Thailand this year, Chiang Mai to be exact!  We had been looking into a visit to the zoo but it was a bit expensive.  When we started to talk about a fun Christmas experience, the zoo came to mind right away.  You see, one of the coolest things about the zoo here is that they have a snow dome.  That's right a huge room, kept at subzero temperatures full of snow!  We were sold!

Going in, doesn't it already look freezing?
After spending Christmas eve staying up far too late watching It’s a Wonderful Life, we all slept in until about 7am.   We ate a quick breakfast and were off for the Chiang Mai zoo!  It is roughly a 10 minute ride out of town heading towards Doi Suthep.

We all love animals but typically zoos are overpriced and offer not much more then a very sad day of wishing the animals could be happy and free. We heard from several people that this zoo was different.  Honestly though it was the snow dome that sealed the deal.  The snow dome is complete with sledding hills and the whole room is kept a -8 degrees Celsius, the cold factor did not disappoint and neither did the zoo!

I dislike cold and snow but around the holidays it feels great. My youngest, who is 4, has never even seen snow so this fit quite well into the “Christmassy” thing to do category.  Admittedly the snow dome was slightly disappointing. It was subzero, and there was a sledding hill and snow but mostly it was very small, very cold, and just plain icy!  We were allowed in for only 20 minutes at a cost of 150 baht (roughly $5 US) per person and no cameras were allowed in.  I, of course, sneaked mine in, but got terrible pics before being reprimanded and turning the thing off.  The sledding hill was the best part as the rest was just an ice field, and the kids played on it the entire time!

Blurry, but you get the idea, darn their no camera rules!
I went down once, almost peed my pants with fear (remember I said ICY) and then watched their joy! The cost to get in to the snow dome for 15 mins was about as much as it cost to get in to the entire zoo so it probably wasn’t really a good value for what we got but, on Christmas day, for 5 people that haven’t seen snow in over 5 years, we sure thought it was well worth it.

Once we were done with our snow play we started to explore the animals and right away we knew this would be a very different zoo experience.  There was so much interaction and the animals all seemed well loved and cared for.  We did see some sad living quarters and the tigers were pacing (nothing like their happiness at Tiger Kingdom).  But honestly the elephants, giraffes, monkeys, and gibbons all seemed to be very social and happy with some beautiful enclosures.  Zoos are zoos and I feel bad when I go most times but this time it was not nearly as bad.

One of our favorite things at the zoo, baby elephats
We had such a great day, I suggest that anyone visiting Chiang Mai include a day at the zoo.  On top of the snow dome and huge array of animals, there was a 4D movie ride, panda enclosure (entrance separate and an additional $5 per person), and aquarium.  The aquarium was very expensive so we did not bother with it, but I have heard it is also very nice.  At $5 per adult and around $2 per child this was a stop well worth making.

Enjoy some pics from our wonderful Christmas day outing below.

Giraffes that you could hand feed

This poor guy was all alone, we watched him for a while
Fun orbs the kids could run inside of
Koalas sleep pretty much all day!
This was our favorite thing of the day, adorable!
My speedracer!
Hippo love
This Gibbon wanted to come home with us I think.  They had the nicest enclosure!
Beautiful white tigers
Christmas night lantern release for good luck

We ended our night with some good friends and a lantern release.  When releasing the lantern you also release all negativity from the year  and invite good luck into your life.  Seemed fitting to set a few off on Christmas.  They were trickier then you would think and we were sure we would start a fire or something.  These things were flimsy paper with a huge flame inside.  Seemed to be a recipe for disaster but they all flew and not one caught on fire!

In the words of my 8 year old, "this was the best Christmas ever"!  And to think it didn't include any gifts, tree, or typical traditions!

Tell me how you spent your Christmas....


Sharing is Caring

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


  1. I love reading your blog! I just found it, as we will be traveling with our family through Thailand, Laos and Cambodia in Dec/Jan with our girls, ages 11 and 9. I think we'll be in Chiang Mai for Christmas as well, and loved reading about you Christmas Day experience (I've been a little worried about a Christmas without the traditional activities would go). I'm going to read more and then I'll probably email with questions. What an awesome experience this is for your family!!

  2. Thanks so much and please feel free to find us on facebook, ask any questions there, or email me anytime. I've loved Asia so much so far and would be thrilled to help in anyway:) I also wrote a post about living a simpler life in regards to Christmas! Hope to hear from you soon but if not have a great trip! Maybe we'll still be here and run into you on the road! I love when that works out!