Kolkata’s 16-hectare zoo opened its doors in 1875 as one of British India's showpiece zoological gardens, but has gradually dropped in stature and standards over the years. The spacious lawns and lakeside promenades are very popular with weekend picnickers (hence all the rubbish). Avoid visiting between Christmas and New Year as the place is swamped by locals. You'll find toilets and stalls selling snacks and bottled water within the premises.

The zoo has had its share of critics in recent times, who have questioned its facilities and the overall quality of its animal program. Predictably, tigers, lions, bears and leopards draw the biggest crowds, while hippos, giraffes, zebras, rhinos and innumerable other birds, reptiles and mammals idle away their days in caged or moated enclosures.