by Ethan David
(Taytay, Rizal, Philippines )
Animal shaped rocks at the Million Years Stone Park & Crocodile Farm, Pattaya
It is a “living museum” of rocks, animals and vegetation that offers fun and exciting shows.
The park opened in 1992, following four years of construction, financed by a Thai businessman, Khun Suan Phanomwattanakul, who collected the natural artifacts exhibited as a hobby for over 30 years prior and saw it as his mission to preserve the botanical and zoological treasures of Thailand.
The park’s sights include 100 million year old petrified trees, award-winning bonsai trees, 75-ton animal shaped rocks, and Thailand’s largest artificial waterfall.
The Million Years Stone Park & Crocodile Farm also hosts, of course, crocodiles in the largest water environment amongst similar farms in Thailand.
They have the largest population of crocodiles in the country, some bred in their own grounds. The crocodiles also perform in shows, doing tricks and stunts with the park’s professional performers and crocodile handlers. They house thousands of crocodiles, both saltwater and freshwater.
Other exotic animals are also on display at the park. They have giant catfish, snakehead fish and Thepa fish, an endangered species of Thailand. There are also albino bears, albino tigers, and albino crocodiles. Elephants, camels, lions, several species of deer, cranes, emus, cassowaries and ostriches also live at the park.
Tourists are encouraged to take photos with the animals at The Million Years Stone Park & Crocodile Farm. People are also allowed to come into close contact with the animals, to pet them and play with them.
The park also offers tram and coach rides around the whole 70-acre area.
Like other zoos and animal farms in Thailand, The Million Years Stone Park & Crocodile Farm has been criticized by animal rights groups. They claim that the crocodiles are in poor living conditions and that crocodile shows are cruel to the animal.
The health and care of the other animals, such as the bears and the tigers, have also been questioned and noted as inadequate. Other concerns about the park were the limited living space for some of the crocodiles and tigers, and the obesity of the bears.
The Million Years Stone Park & Crocodile Farm still enjoys the status of a “must-see” tourist destination in the Pattaya, Chonburi area of Thailand.They hold shows and performances daily, attracting thousands of visitors, both local and foreign.
I enjoyed the visit, but would also express my concerns about living conditions & animal treament, but on the day we visited, the park was very busy, and everyone who visited all appeared to be enjoying themselves.