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Melbourne Zoo

Melbourne Zoo is a popular attraction located in Royal Park, Parkville, Melbourne. It is the primary zoo serving Melbourne and is home to over 3700 animals from 243 different species, both from Australia and around the world. The zoo is committed to conservation work and has a strong focus on education and community engagement.


Visitors to Melbourne Zoo can expect to see a variety of animals, including lions, tigers, elephants, gorillas, and many more. The zoo also offers a range of experiences, such as behind-the-scenes tours, overnight camping, and close-up encounters with some of the animals. Additionally, the zoo is home to a number of special events throughout the year, including the arrival of dinosaurs in March 2024.


Founding and Early Years

Melbourne Zoo, located in Royal Park, Parkville, Melbourne, Australia, is the oldest zoo in Australia. It was founded on October 6, 1862, as the Melbourne Zoological Gardens, and opened to the public on January 6, 1863. The zoo was established by the Royal Society of Victoria, which was founded in 1854. The society aimed to promote the acclimatization of animals from other parts of the world to Australia.


Initially, the zoo was a small collection of animals, mainly birds, which were kept in cages and aviaries. The first animals to arrive at the zoo were two emus, which were donated by the Governor of Victoria, Sir Henry Barkly. The zoo's first director was Albert Alexander Cochrane Le Souef, who was a zoologist and naturalist.


Animal Exhibits and Attractions

Melbourne Zoo is home to a wide variety of animals from all over the world, with a particular focus on native Australian fauna. Visitors can explore a range of exhibits and attractions, including:


Native Australian Fauna

The zoo's Australian Bush exhibit is a must-see for anyone interested in the unique wildlife of Australia. Visitors can spot kangaroos, wallabies, emus, and a range of bird species in this immersive exhibit. The zoo also has a dedicated Koala Forest, where visitors can see these iconic animals up close and learn about the conservation efforts underway to protect them.


Exotic Species Displays

Melbourne Zoo is home to a diverse array of exotic animals, from African lions and Asian elephants to Sumatran tigers and American alligators. Visitors can explore the zoo's Asian Rainforest exhibit, which features a range of primates and other tropical species, or check out the Butterfly House, where they can see hundreds of colourful butterflies and moths.


Conservation Programmes

Melbourne Zoo is committed to conservation and works to protect endangered species both in Australia and around the world. Visitors can learn about the zoo's conservation programmes and initiatives, which include breeding programmes for endangered species, habitat restoration projects, and research into animal behaviour and welfare.


Visitor Information

Opening Hours and Admission

Melbourne Zoo is open every day of the year, including public holidays, from 9 am to 5 pm. The last entry is at 4 pm. Visitors are advised to check the zoo's website for any changes to the opening hours before planning their visit.


Admission prices vary depending on the type of ticket purchased. Adults can expect to pay $39.00, while children aged 4-15 years and concession cardholders pay $19.60. Children under the age of four are free. Family tickets, which include two adults and two children, are also available for $98.00.


Facilities and Accessibility

Melbourne Zoo is a family-friendly attraction that offers a range of facilities to make visitors' experience as comfortable as possible. The zoo has several cafes and picnic areas, as well as a gift shop and a playground. Visitors can also hire strollers, wheelchairs and electric scooters from the zoo's main entrance.


The zoo is wheelchair accessible, and there are disabled parking spaces available at the main entrance. Visitors with hearing or visual impairments can request an audio guide or a sign language interpreter at the information desk.


Events and Activities

Melbourne Zoo offers a range of events and activities throughout the year, including animal encounters, guided tours, and educational programs. Visitors can get up close and personal with some of the zoo's animals, such as giraffes, meerkats, and kangaroos, or learn about conservation efforts through talks and workshops.


The zoo also hosts several seasonal events, such as the Wild Nights Christmas event, where visitors can experience the zoo after dark and enjoy festive activities. Visitors are advised to check the zoo's website for upcoming events and activities before planning their visit.


Photo credit: Visit Victoria 

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