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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Piedra Azul (Blue Rock) Petting Zoo Offers a True Kunuku Experience and More

Deep in the heart of Mexico (Bonaire’s Mexico, that is) resides a wonderful place in which to spend a few hours.  All children will love the Piedra Azul Petting Zoo, but even big kids of all ages will enjoy a visit.

Piedra Azul means Blue Rock in Papiamentu, Bonaire’s spoken language, and the big, brightly painted blue rock marks your arrival at this petting zoo in the kunuku (farm) area of Mexico, roughly located between the neighborhood of Antriol on Kaya Korona and the east coast of Bonaire.

At Piedra Azul, director Burnett Felida has created a wonderland for all sorts of animals, including goats, sheep, ponies, pigs, cows, tortoises, a capuchin monkey who needed a good home, and a very large quantity of birds–geese, white doves, ducks, chickens, turkeys, and ostriches.

Wait–ostriches?  On Bonaire?  Yes, Burnett has several adult ostriches, the largest birds on earth, and even has a breeding program with an incubator so that any eggs can be safely brought to term and add to the current population.  Sometimes visitors can feed these large, flightless birds.  Ostriches can reach up to 9 feet/2.7 meters tall and can weigh up to 320 lbs./145 kilograms.

The animals that live at Piedra Azul are happy and healthy.  They have enclosures which not only provide for their physical comforts, but also insure that their mental needs are taken care of as well.  The entire petting zoo is clean and well kept and it’s a joy to see the obvious affection these animals have for their caretaker.  That affection goes both ways, as Burnett’s eyes shine when he speaks of his animals.

Burnett enjoys working with some miniature species, and he has miniature goats and even a miniature donkey.  All baby animals are cute, but miniature baby animals win the prize for cuteness.  And, because the animals at Piedra Azul are happy and healthy, there are lots of babies around the zoo, with more on the way.  Nothing can put a smile on a young child’s face faster than getting almost nose-to-nose with a mother pig and her baby piglet.

And although there are miniature species, there are also some very large animals.  The ostriches are, of course, extremely tall birds, but there are immense pigs and huge, grass-fed cows, and even a bull.  In fact, Piedra Azul is now in the process of growing its own specialty grasses, just to give the cows nutritious feed.

When asked how many animals reside on Piedra Azul, Burnett smiles and readily admits he doesn’t know.  But what he does know is that he loves his work with the petting zoo, and he will continue to do all he can to keep his animals happy.  Expansion plans call for a refreshment area and patio on which to sip a cool drink, and a kids’ driving track where they can begin to learn about road signs while having fun in a safe manner.

Piedra Azul is open Monday through Friday from 4:00 PM through sunset, and on Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM.  The zoo does not have a large staff, so it’s best to call ahead to let them know you would like to visit (telephone +599 780-3524).  The petting zoo covers 6 acres/2.4 hectares.  Entrance is totally free.

Piedra Azul Petting Zoo is part of the Bara di Karta hiking, cycling, and driving trails.  To find the zoo, turn east onto Kaminda Lagun from Kaya Korona.  When you see a low, red marker sign on your right, turn left onto the dirt road and continue to follow the red markers.  When you see the zoo’s namesake, the blue rock, you have arrived.

Additional images can be viewed on the Bonaire Insider Photo Gallery by clicking here(Source:  Bonaire Insider Reporter)

Posted by Susan Davis on October 28, 2015 at 10:29am AST


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