Yangon Zoo beside Kandawgyi Lake is a good place to escape from the heat and hustle and bustle of the city, especially for families with young children. The zoo was established in 1901 and was called Victoria Memorial Park and Zoological Gardens in honour of Queen Victoria. At that time, the highlight of the opening was the auspicious white elephant belonging to King Thibaw, the last king of Burma. Renamed Yangon Zoological Gardens and Parks in 1951, the spacious 70-acre establishment now boasts over 1,100 animals, representing 200 species that include rare and endangered breeds such as Bengal tigers, Asian elephants, clouded leopards, hornbills and marsh crocodiles, among others. The rich varieties of animals include 60 species of mammals, 70 species of birds and 20 species of reptiles. Apart from the fauna, Yangon Zoo also houses a rich variety of Southeast Asian flora including trees, shrubs, bamboo, palms and seasonal flowers. The Museum of Natural History, located at the southern end of the park, is well worth a visit for its exhibits of taxidermy of rare indigenous animals with explanatory charts and captions. In addition, there is an amusement park with the city’s only roller-coaster, and a large-scale aquarium. Yangon Zoo, which includes part of Kandawgyi Lake, is a welcome respite from the heat of the city and although some animals have been moved to the zoo in the new capital Naypyidaw in 2008, there are still many to go around, and children in particular will enjoy feeding monkeys and watching such exotic animals as hippopotamus, crocodiles, Himalayan bears and otters. Don’t miss the snake shows and elephant performances at the weekend and on public holidays.