The Melbourne Zoo is really nice! It’s part of the Zoos Victoria which comprises of the Melbourne Zoo, Healesville Sanctuary, and Werribee Open Range Zoo. I had the chance to enjoy the Melbourne Zoo on a brisk sunny day earlier this month.
The Melbourne Zoo is open 9am-5pm every day, and located not far from the downtown CBD district, slightly northwest of the University of Melbourne. I took a car there, and I suggest if it’s a holiday or weekend to go early, as parking get full. I went around 11am and there were only a few spaces left at that time, but they’ll open up again after lunch when the morning crowd starts leaving. Getting to Melbourne Zoo by public transport is easy too:
Tram 55 runs from William Street in the city centre every day, stopping directly outside Melbourne Zoo.
Trains run from Flinders Street Station on the Upfield line every day, stopping at Melbourne Zoo’s own Royal Park Station.
Bus route 505 from Moonee Ponds to Melbourne University stops outside Melbourne Zoo.
The zoo looks very large on the map, but is in fact very walkable and manageable. The zoo is separated into six sections, or journeys as they call them.
Naturally I was more interested in the Australian bush than anything else, but I did have time to check out many other parts, such as the cool new lemur exhibit near the main entrance and the Wild Sea area where I saw some cute penguins enjoy their swim. I also had the pleasure of getting up close and personal with some squirrel monkeys which are available as one of the animal encounter experiences.
The lemur exhibit is really nice and well designed. You walk through a few doors to enter the exhibit and the lemurs are living in something similar to their natural habitat. It’s hard to see them as they were hiding in the shade most of the time during my sunny visit, but I was able to catch a bunch of them sleeping, and one hanging out on a rock, see below.
After the lemur exhibit I swung up to the Australian Bush. They themed the area so it appeared you were in the outback with chicken wire and all! It was really cool, especially since I’ve never been to the outback myself. There were plenty of animals roaming around freely, such as this Emu. I appreciated the fact that you can get up close and personal with all of the animals. It was a really unique feeling that you don’t experience at many zoos in this world. It was funny how they had this fencing, but the emus would just crawl underneath them and wander around.
Other creatures in this open exhibit included some kangaroos, but I couldn’t get a good picture of them as they were far away and in the shade. I did see some later on while I was in the bird aviary. Read more below.
In a separate area there were some wombats. I’ve never heard of a wombat before, less see one. So this was really cool to see a wombat in person and it’s actually now my favorite animal! It looked pretty cute and furry, and I love how it wobbles when it walked. It looks fat, but I read that they’re actually very muscular. Wombat mignon anyone? Just kidding.
There’s a giant aviary you go through in the Australia bush with all of these beautiful exotic birds. It’s wonderful that you can walk into the aviary and not just view it from the outside. It’s an immersive experience that you shouldn’t miss, feels like being in the jungle or rain-forest. Be on the lookout for bird-doo though.
Of course no visit to Australia would be complete without seeing the koalas. There were three koalas perched on the trees and eating when I was there. I was mesmerized at them eating. Usually when I’ve seen them, they’re sleeping on the tree branch. This is the first time I got to see them actively eating and picking at the leaves. It was cool certainly memorable and I even took a video!
After the Australian Bush I swung by the Wild Sea real quick to take a peek and my beloved penguins. There was one getting his afternoon swimming exercise in.
My last activity for the day was the squirrel monkey encounter. The squirrel monkeys are located near the main entrance and I had the opportunity to go into their cage. The zookeeper made sure we left out belongings outside and they might make a swipe for them, as they did someone’s sunglasses. We made sure we Purelled ourselves before and after too, as not to contaminate the mammals, or ourselves. I wouldn’t want some monkey disease now. It was cool to be able to hold them and have them crawl and jump over me. I wouldn’t say I’d want one as a pet, but it was a good unforgettable experience that’ll probably never happen again, unless I venture to the jungles of Costa Rica.
Overall I had an absolutely fantastic day at the zoo. All of the staff I met and spoke with were very professional, knowledgable, and caring, especially Judith. If the weather is nice, and you’re looking for a nice activity to do in Melbourne, go stroll around the Melbourne Zoo. It’s not far outside of the city, but it feels like you’ve entered the wild!