Tbilisi has many cool tourist attraction sites, but there is one, which is rarely mentioned in official guides or Tbilisi reviews - meet the hidden pearl of nations capital - Tbilisi Zoo.

On the other hand worldwide coverage Tbilisi Zoo got after Tbilisi floods on 14 June 2015, leaving many animals dead or on the loose. See: Zoo animals on the loose and deaths feared after Georgia floods

Tbilisi Zoo is located in the Vere valley just next to the Heroes square. There is a symbolic 2 GEL entrance fee in Zoo's territory. In park there some additional attractions for kids, like Ferris wheel and other carrousels. There is a terrarium with separate 1GEL ticket for amphibian lovers.

Peacocks at Tbilisi Zoo

Peacocks at Tbilisi Zoo

The Tbilisi Zoo was established on 1927. It was designed by a group of Georgian and Russian specialists. The Zoo was further expanded in the 1930s. At its heyday in the 1970s, the Tbilisi Zoo was home to more than 1,000 animals and enjoyed more than 500,000 visitors per year. The Zoo, largely depending on dwindling funding allocated from the city budget, went into decay as a corollary of an economical collapse and political unrest that hit post-Soviet Georgia in the 1990s.

Open air Ferris wheel

Open air Ferris wheel

Once I actually took a ride in this Soviet time Ferris wheel. My adrenaline level got very high, and not because I'm affraid of height, but rather of such construction. Take your risk and you will have a superb panorama of surrounding areas.

Zebras at Tbilisi zoo

Zebras at Tbilisi zoo

For a second it felt I'm in real African safari shooting with telephoto lens from above. ha ha

Donkeys and rhinos

Donkeys and rhinos

When I visited Tbilisi zoo it was already afternoon and meal time for most of the animals, that's the only reasonable explanation to explain why almost all animals I photographed here are from back.

Black llama posing for a portrait

Black llama posing for a portrait

This black llama was very friendly, I would even say flirtatious, she followed my every move and freeze when I photographed here. She loves attention. Say hi to her, when at Tbilisi Zoo.

Meal time for white lions

Meal time for white lions

I had a chance to observe a very strange show - feeding the white lions. At first Zoo's workers hang up meat in the trees (take a closer look at the top right corner of above image), then they went out and stayed behind the bars (top left). The Lions were released and then workers or journalists or God knows who - started to photography lions from the bars. I'm not sure for 100% is this a regular attraction or is performed just on special events (journalists)

Speaking of me - I was staying behind the large glass window.

Leopard

Leopard

The Zoo experienced a modest revival in the late 2000s. A marine aquarium, the first such establishment in the Caucasus, was opened in 2007. The Zoo belongs to the Tbilisi City Hall and largely depends on funding allocated from the city budget.

A goat

A goat

For me it is always sad to see animals captured and been held in cages (I haven't visited Circus for more than 20 years). To add more drama how sad a visit to Zoo can be - I tried to photograph an elephant, but he was so enormous huge that didn't fit in my frame, I decided to take a close up and post process in B&W.

An elephant eye

An elephant eye

Visit www.zoo.ge to learn more