One of the most popular and most recommended places when visiting Ibadan is the Agodi Gardens. I’ve been staying in Ibadan for a while and the only place people have told me to visit is this same place. I finally decided to go and see what the hype is all about. Turns out I really don’t blame them because there is really no other interesting and exciting place to visit in Ibadan city (kindly recommend if you know)!
Agodi Gardens is a major tourist attraction in Ibadan, Oyo state. Formerly called Agodi Zoological and Botanical Gardens, it was originally created in 1967 and was managed by the Western region. It was a recreational centre.
In 1980, it was destroyed by the Ogunpa flood disaster. The flood swept away most of the animals at the park. In 2012, however, the Oyo State government started renovations and in 2014, the new Agodi Gardens was launched.
A lot of features were added to the recreational centre to make it a top notch. These features include the water park, children’s play area, rides, picnic spots, restaurant area, a lake and a mini zoo.
Agodi Gardens is located in Agodi on Secretariat Road, Ibadan, Oyo state. It is directly beside the secretariat. Easily accessible from the popular Mokola roundabout, it is only about ten minutes from the roundabout and about 5 minutes from University College Hospital Ibadan (UCH).
Entrance Fee and Budget
The entrance fee into Agodi Gardens is 500 naira per person. An extra 500 naira is required in order to gain access to the swimming pool area. In fact, for every activity, a minimum of 500 is required: horse riding is 500, hover board is 500, etc.
There are different restaurants and several shops that sell refreshments. There is also a fully functioning bar at the park. External drinks are not allowed into the park, but external food is allowed. They also have a local shop where they sell palm wine, pepper soup, asun and other local delicacies.
Attractions and Activities at Agodi Gardens
The garden provides some side attractions which is one of the reasons why Agodi is on the list of tourist attractions in the country. However, some attractions and activities depend on the time and season. I was told there are more activities during the festive periods because there are higher numbers of people visiting the park. Perhaps that is why private companies are allowed to partner with them and bring in any amusing activity to the park.
Here are the major attractions that drive people to the park and are always available in the garden:
This is one of the most prominent features of Agodi Gardens. The facilities at the water park include 3 swimming pools and 2 water slides. The pools cater to both adults and children. There are inflated balloons to accommodate younger kids.
Gardens/ Picnic area:
Agodi Gardens is a first choice recreational facility for nature enthusiasts, photo-shoots, garden parties, outdoor events, concerts and weddings. It’s the perfect place for picnics because there is a sitting area basically everywhere. No wonder it is highly recommended for couples!
The lawns are well maintained and neat. And they are large enough to accommodate more than 1000 visitors at a time. Beautiful sidewalks with wooden pavements are built around it to edify the garden. The garden/picnic areas are one of the best things about the park to me. In fact, there are just so many scenic spots in the garden.
Mini Zoo and Natural Reserve:
The zoo is currently under renovation and I was told it has been that way for some years now. There are just a few animals available at the zoo for now. Previously, they had animals like lions, crocodiles, monkeys, ducks and different species of birds. A sign at the entrance of the zoo clearly states that it is still being worked on, so the amount and variety of animals present can be excused.
Apart from the zoo, there are different varieties of plants and trees in the garden. Each tree has detailed description on it with its scientific and local name, its history and function.
Playground for Children:
The playground holds a reasonable number of structures to enable kids have lots of fun. It is the perfect place to take your kids to for a relaxing family time!
There are swings, trampolines, a train ride, a bouncy castle and so much more. You can be assured the children will have an exciting time with various physical activities to engage in so that you can have enough time to enjoy the place as well.
Activities available at this exotic destination include swimming, horse riding, hoverboarding, paintball and shooting range, train riding and a playground for kids
I visited Agodi Gardens with my friend and it was very easy to locate, we didn’t have any difficulty in getting to the place. We boarded bikes which cost 100 naira from Mokola to Agodi.
On getting to the gate, we were asked to pay the entrance fee of 500 naira which I felt was fair enough. After paying, I saw the NO CAMERA POLICY. Wow!
I was so shocked because I thought it was a major tourist attraction in Ibadan. I couldn’t wrap my head around why a tourist attraction wouldn’t allow cameras. I asked the girl why they didn’t allow cameras and she said it’s just what the management said. I went further to ask her who the management was because I was ready to give them a piece of my mind. I had had a similar episode when I was in Enugu but I made it clear to them that such policies are bad and discouraging to tourists and travellers. But unlike the people in Enugu, this girl had poor work culture and was being rude. Then I told her I wouldn’t be dropping my camera until I see the management.
A security man at the entrance who was collecting tickets tried to explain better to me and told me he will allow me to take my camera in but I shouldn’t use it. At this point, my friend was already tired of the argument (me I was just getting started though). So she begged me to let it go, besides, we could just use our phones to take pictures. Then they finally revealed that the reason they don’t allow cameras is that there is a fee of 10,000 naira that is paid before photo-shoots. I found this very ridiculous, to be honest.
Went we got it, we saw directions to different sections of the park but not all. The first direction led to the waterpark. We were told we had to pay an additional 500 naira each to go in. Looking through the gate, I knew I wasn’t going to swim because of the number of people in the pools. The pools were full and overcrowded. We told the woman at the gate that we were not going to swim; we just wanted to see how the water park looked. She decided to give us a discount of 500 naira and asked us to pay 500 naira to go in. I felt that was also reasonable but I wanted to see more of the park before going in. So we told her we would be back.
Earlier on, I had made enquiries about the gardens before coming. I was told, and I read online, that they had boat cruises and many more activities. To my greatest disappointment, I didn’t see a lake, not to talk of a boat! We also had a hard time locating the zoo. The directions were limited and there was NO TOUR GUIDE. We had to figure everything out ourselves.
While trying to locate the zoo, we met a man named Mr. Ayansola. Mr Ayansola approached us to sell his activities to us. He was in charge of the paintball and hoverboard. After he told us what he did and the prices, we asked him more about the park and he was able to direct us to the zoo. Mr Ayansola is the reason Agodi Gardens was fun for me!
On our way to the zoo, we passed through a mini bridge and I kept wondering if the water under is what everyone called a lake. When we finally got to the zoo and found out the place was deserted, we didn’t spend much time there. We just took some pictures and then we were out.
We went back to Mr Ayansola’s stand for the shooting range. We couldn’t do the normal paintball because it required a minimum of four and we were just two. So we settled for the shooting target. The price was so reasonable and he gave us extra bullets. He taught us how to position ourselves and shoot the target. I wasn’t able to hit any but my friend did. Mr Ayansola also took us some lovely pictures as we were at it. After the shooting practice, we discussed about his life and work then we took a walk to the other end of the park to get food and drinks.
When we got back he insisted that we go for the horse riding. I told him I couldn’t because I was scared of horses and my friend was on the same page with me. I told him my previous experiences with horses and I really didn’t want to make a scene at the park with my fright. Mr Ayansola encouraged me and promised it will be a different experience. He said he wasn’t going to take me on a ride on the horse; he was going to teach me how to ride a horse!
At a point, I was wondering where my adventure spirit had gone to. I started pep talking myself into reasons why it’s good to always learn new things and reminding myself that after all, I’d promised to face all my fears and crush them this year. I finally gave in and went on the horse.
I met all the horses in the park. Taillon (the calmest), Governor (which was my best and belongs to the governor), Sharon and her baby (she just conceived and was a little bit cranky) and Bolt (the fastest). I went on Taillon because he was calm and gentle. I learnt how to move him and direct him all by myself with the help of Mr Ayansola. I started riding Taillon all-round the park using the horse whip. I went on and on and as simple as that, my fear for horses was conquered. However, my friend still refused to get on the horse. She is so strong-willed!
I had so much fun learning how to ride and how to shoot. After horse riding, we sat and gisted with Mr Ayansola and his wife, his sales girl and the man in charge of the horses. We talked about different activities they should have in the park and then we linked the conversation to politics. We talked until the park was ready to close, then we all left.
Generally, Agodi Gardens is the perfect getaway from the noise and hustle of Ibadan city. It’s an ideal location for picnics and get-togethers with friends and family. It is also an epitome of peace and beauty as a result of the abundance of forestry surrounding it and other features that have been provided to complement it such as the water park, children’s playground, garden/picnic area and bar.
However, a lot still needs to be done and can be done. The maintenance culture can be better. A lot of different activities can be added to make it top-notch.
Did I feel refreshed? Yes, I did. I enjoyed every moment there.
Can it be better? Definitely, YES! They should really do better. The garden has been poorly maintained and a lot can be done to improve the place.