Lorne Michaels once said: “People go to the zoo and they like the lion because it’s scary. And the bear because it’s intense, but the monkey makes people laugh.”
Lorne Michaels said was right! People go to the zoo motivated by various reasons that let them experience a spectrum of emotions. Whatever that reason may be, Taronga Zoo is the perfect place to interact with some of the most extraordinary animals you can ever see.
Taronga Zoo’s mission encompasses what this incredible place stands for. They believe that we shall dedicate our lives in the conservation of wildlife as our kind and theirs can share this planet harmoniously. This is why they treat the zoo animals with undeniable respect and care.
With the breathtaking view of the Sydney Harbour, Taronga Zoo is merely 12 minutes away from the city via ferry. Visit the zoo to not only observe the animals but also to indulge on free shows or talks throughout the day.
The Taronga Zoo, formerly known as the Moore Park Zoo, was opened to the public in 1884. It was managed by the Zoological Society of New South Wales. At that time, the zoo consisted of 64 reptiles, 228 mammals, and 552 birds.
Then by 1912, the original site was no longer enough to fit the animals and its caretakers. So the state government granted a land in the Taronga Park – the north of the Sydney Harbour. The new site was more than they can ever imagine! It was 21 hectares wide and has since expanded to 28 hectares now.
At the present, the zoo serves as the home to about 2,900 exotic and native species such as koalas, kangaroos, giraffes, wallabies, platypus, leopards, and tigers. The zoo is divided into several sections according to the animals’ corresponding regions. These sections are namely: Wild Australia, Wild Asia, Serpentaria, Himalayan Mountains, Park Aviary, Dog Row, Big Cats, Giant Tortoise, Great Southern Oceans, South American Aviary, African Waterhole, Chimpanzee Park, Gorilla Forest, and Bear Canyon.
Things to Do
Get up close and personal to some of the amazing animals at the zoo through their “Animal Encounters”. As the name suggest, Animal Encounters allow you to closely interacting with a meerkat, koala, giraffe, reptile, penguin, or an owl. From feeding a giraffe to taking an owl on your wrist, all these Instagrammable moments are captured through a souvenir photo.
Different rates, times, and conditions apply to each encounter. For instance, the Koala Encounter costs AU$24.95 while the Penguin Encounter costs AU$49.95. These prices already include the encounter and the souvenir photo.
Shows and Talks
Upon paying for the zoo admission, you are free to attend the shows and keeper’s talks. There are two shows that run regularly and these are the Seal Show and the QBE Free-flight Bird Show. The latter showcases several species of birds, each with their own impressive talents.
While, the Seal Show is all about showcasing the adorable seals and their natural abilities such as catching fishes and diving into the waters. The Californian Sea-lion, Australian Sea-lion, and New Zealand Fur-seal are the stars of the show. Since this show is presented two times a day, some of the seals need a time off. So do not fret if you are not able to see them all!
Now let us focus on the keeper’s talks. As you may know, the keeper is the individual who is responsible for feeding and taking care of a certain species of animal. With their knowledge and experience, you can surely learn a thing or two. The presentation that I am most interested to see are the Komodo Dragon, Tasmanian Devil, Sun Bear, and Koala keeper talks.
Your visit to the zoo will not be complete without a tour. Taronga Zoo offers 5 types of tours with one being virtually free. These tours are namely the Wildlife Hospital Tour, Nura Diya (Aboriginal Discovery Tour), VIP Aussie Gold Tour, Australian Walkabout Tour, and Audio Tour App.
Ever dreamt of treating or curing sick animals? Why don’t you avail the Wildlife Hospital Tour. It will take you on a behind-the-scenes journey to the workings of a world-class wildlife veterinary hospital.
Another interesting tour is the Nura Diya. Nura Diya means “this country or camp”. This tour allows you to hear the tales of Australian wildlife through the perspective of an Aboriginal guide. These tales explore the connection between Aboriginal Dreamtime and Australia’s animals and landscapes.
The VIP Aussie Gold Tour shines out from the rest due to its relatively intimate group size. For curious minds, it gives you the prime chance to digest the guide’s vast knowledge.
Moving on to the Australian Walkabout Tour…an expert guide will take you from one end of the zoo to another. He or she will introduce you to Australia’s native wildlife and some of the most exciting animals.
Lastly, you can download the Audio Tour App for free on your iOS or Android devices. This interactive App (with 33 audio tracks) is suitable for independent visitors. A map translated in Mandarin is also available inside.
The admission for the zoo ranges from AU$0-46. The rate for adults is AU$41.40* while it is only AU$23.40* for children aged 4 to 15. Senior citizens and students get to avail the concession price worth AU$32.40*.
Lucky are the children below 4 as they can always enter for FREE!
*Prices do not include tax.
Address: Taronga Zoo, Bradleys Head Road, Mosman NSW 2088, Australia
Telephone: (02) 9969 2777
Operating hours: 9:30 am to 5 pm