Tucked away in a corner, the National Zoo of Malaysia is an underrated attraction. With more than 15 exhibits housing over 500 species of animals, there is just so much to cover! Tour our guide of Zoo Negara’s highlights to avoid missing out on the top exhibits at the zoo. 

Reptile House

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Ever wanted to get up close and personal with reptiles? Now you can at Zoo Negara’s Reptile House! It’s home to the saltwater crocodile, the largest species of crocodile in the world. You’ll find them relaxing in their pool – lying so still, you may not even be able to differentiate them and a floating log.

If that’s not your thing, then just head over to the tortoises and terrapins instead. You won’t miss the Aldabran tortoise, the second largest in the world. And what’s a reptile house without snakes? Complete with both venomous and non-venomous snakes, now’s your chance to observe their mesmerising scales in a safe environment.

Ape Centre

Chimpanzee (Photo Credit: Zoo Negara Malaysia)

Surround yourself in the lush greenery of the ape centre and observe one of our closest relatives – the chimpanzee. Did you know that chimps have almost 98.8% of human DNA? If you spend time observing them, you’ll notice their human-like interactions with one another.

Not only that, you get to see two different species of orangutans, the Bornean and the Sumatran orangutans. The Ape Centre is also home to Katy and Manja, two retired performers from the animal show. Snap a photo and they might strike a pose for you!

Savannah Walk

Giraffes (Photo Credit: Zoo Negara Malaysia)

The Savannah Walk features an open concept and is the largest in the zoo, very much like the vast and open plains of Africa. Animals like giraffes, white rhinoceroses, Sable antelopes and zebras roam freely and find themselves at home in the Savannah Walk. You’ll also find that this exhibit lacks trees and shade, something to truly mimic the Savannah experience, so be sure to bring a cap or put on sunblock on extra sunny days.

Tunku Abdul Rahman Aquarium

Photo Credit: Zoo Negara Malaysia

Take a break from the outdoor exhibits and dive into one of the oldest public aquariums in Malaysia. Flow from the Upper Stream Zone to Mid Stream Zone, past the Wetlands Zone and finally, down to the Lower River Zone. Complete your experience with a visit to Peat Swamp Zone, Mangrove Zone and explore the depths of the ocean in the Marine Zone.

Learn all about aquatic flora and fauna, from the common, to the rare and endangered, including both sea and freshwater species. Observe these aquatic animals as they would behave in their natural environment, as these exhibits are landscaped to imitate their natural habitat.

Giant Panda Conservation Centre

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It’s easy to see why these giant pandas are the stars of the national zoo. With their gentle nature and slightly clumsy demeanor, Xing Xing and Liang Liang have captivated the hearts of the people. More than just a zoo exhibit, these pandas represent peace and China’s diplomatic relationship with Malaysia for the past 40 years.

If you’re lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of the fluffy panda cub. Born in January 2018, this is the second panda cub from the pair in three years, making it a world record for pandas in captivity. This is a rare conservation success story you don’t want to miss!

Butterfly Garden

Photo Credit: Zoo Negara Malaysia

Perhaps one of the more underrated exhibits at the zoo, the butterfly garden is filled with these magnificent and colourful pollinators. Observe them fluttering from flower to flower – you might even spot one drinking nectar! Bring a good camera and be very, very still to get some good close-up shots of these beauties. On top of that, Zoo Negara also has a Butterfly Project as part of their Nature Science Programme for Kids. Your kids will have fun and get exciting hands-on experience, it’ll definitely be more than they bargained for!

Bird Aviary

Photo Credit: Zoo Negara Malaysia

Tour the Bird Aviary to hear the melodic chirping of the birds’ symphony. From the majestic peacock to the endangered milky stork, you’ll get to observe birds that are hard to come by in the wild. Spot the colourful birds perched atop a tree branch and take in the beauty Mother Nature has offered us.

Bear Complex

Malayan Sun Bear (Photo Credit: Zoo Negara Malaysia)

Why should the pandas get all the spotlight? These bears deserve some love too! The Bear Complex holds three different bear species: the Malayan sun bear, the brown bear, and the Asiatic black bear. Watch them paddling in their little pool or just dozing under the sun. You can even pack your lunch and have a little picnic with these beary adorable creatures – just be sure to clean up after yourselves!

Mammal Kingdom

Photo Credit: Zoo Negara Malaysia

Nothing beats visiting the good ol’ mammals at the zoo. Home to the ferocious leopards and adorable slow loris, the Mammal Kingdom houses a myriad of mammal species. You’ll find the largest rodent species, the capybara, as well as Malayan porcupines and striped hyenas.

Malaysian Elephants

Photo Credit: Zoo Negara Malaysia

The Malaysian elephants Siti, Sibol, and Teriang are retired superstars from the elephant show. Originally form Pahang, these gentle creatures have been raised in the zoo since they were young. Brighten up their day by feeding this trio a sugarcane or a banana!