A bright peacock greets you at the door to the state's most popular cultural attraction, whose best-known exhibit showcases man-eating Komodo dragons in a lush re-creation of a cavernous riverbank. The newest exhibit is the much-anticipated, $50-million, 10-acre Toyota Elephant Passage, which houses elephants, gibbons, clouded leopards, and tapirs, along with other animals from the Asian continent. The Conservation Carousel ($2) rotates in the center of the 80-acre zoo,
with handcrafted endangered species as mounts. A seven-acre Primate Panorama houses 31 species of primates in state-of-the-art environments that simulate the animals' natural habitats. Other highlights include a nursery for baby animals; seal shows; the world's only painting rhinoceros, Mshindi; the electric Safari Shuttle, which snakes through the property as you are treated to a lesson on the zoo's inhabitants; and the usual lions, tigers, bears, giraffes, and monkeys. The exhibits are spaced far apart along sprawling concrete paths, so build in plenty of time to visit.