Melbourne Zoo. Zoo in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Melbourne Zoo

Zoo in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Tree Kangaroo Photo © Richard Ashurst

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Melbourne Zoo

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	Melbourne Zoo
Melbourne Zoo. Photo by David Tomic
Melbourne ZooRoyal Melbourne Zoological Gardens in full – is a zoo in Melbourne, Australia. It is located approximately 4.0 kilometers north of the city center in Royal Park, which covers 55 acres and is the largest urban park in the city. Opened in 1862, the zoo is the oldest zoo in Australia and was modeled after London Zoo.

Melbourne Zoo is home to more than 300 different animal species, including Asian elephants, orangutans, and gorillas, and more than 5,000 specimens. There are several exhibitions in the park, ranging from the Butterfly House and Baboon Lookout to Australian Bush and the award-winning Trail of the Elephants.

In addition to animals, the zoological gardens are also home to numerous plants. In fact, there are no less than 70,000 individual plants in the zoo. About 20,000 of Australia’s native plants species can be seen there. There’s a beautiful Japanese garden as well.

The main goals of Melbourne Zoo are education and conservation.

Mali - Melbourne Zoo
Mali - Melbourne Zoo. Photo by Natalie Manuel


Before the Royal Melbourne Zoological Gardens opened, animals were housed at the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne. The zoo was officially opened on October 6, 1862, and at the time, the zoo’s main purpose was to let newly-arrived animals acclimatize to the Australian climate. It wasn’t until Albert Alexander Cochrane Le Souef (Wikipedia Article) was appointed as the honorary secretary of the so-called Acclimatisation Society, a name that was changed to Zoological and Acclimatization Society shortly afterwards, that the animals started to be displayed and that the gardens and picnic areas were developed as public spaces.

Nowadays the zoo is a major educational institution, as well as a center of conservation. There is a large schools' section, which attracts many schools each year. Together with the Werribee Open Range Zoo that houses herbivores in large, open spaces and Healesville Sanctuary that consists of bushland and exhibits Australian animals, the Melbourne Zoo is now managed by the Zoological Board of Victoria.

Roaring Lion Melbourne
	Zoo - Melbourne Zoo
Roaring Lion Melbourne Zoo - Melbourne Zoo. Photo by 2minutes

Exhibitions and Animals

Melbourne Zoo features several different exhibition areas, attractions and educational displays.

Trail of the Elephants

The award-winning Trail of the Elephants leads past an Asian village and garden that houses five Asian elephants. These majestic animals are housed in a natural habitat. The trail allows visitor to learn about the survival of these endangered animals and about the co-existence of humans and elephants.

Orangutan Sanctuary

There, visitors can see orangutans in their natural treetop environment – they are the largest tree-living mammals in the world. The exhibit features interactive displays, games, viewing platforms, and information panels.

Wild Sea

Wild Sea is the newest and largest exhibition in the zoo. It shows the habitats and environments of the coast of Victoria and their inhabitants. There is a beach, sand dunes; a pier, a tidal pool; a wetland estuary, a saltwater pool; and coastal vegetation. Animals that can be seen there include seals, penguins; pelicans, rays; seahorses, and countless fish.

Baboon Lookout

This lookout offers views of the baboon colony in their Savannah habitat, surrounded by palm trees, rocky ridges, and pools.

Butterfly House

This is one of the zoo’s most popular exhibitions, especially among children. There you can walk among lush vegetation and see hundreds of colorful native butterflies.

Lemur Island

Lemur Island offers visitors the experience of walking among cute lemurs. The landscapes are spectacular and the excellent soundscape makes it feel like you’ve been transported to Madagascar.

Australian Bush

Kangaroos, Koalas, Wombats, Echidnas, Emus,… is what you can see in the Australian Bush exhibition.

Growing Wild and Keeper Kids

The Growing Wild exhibit was developed especially for kids between 3 and 8 years old. This is where children can explore the world of animals; they can walk among Meerkats and crawl into an empty Tortoise shell. It offers entertainment, education, excitement, and plain fun. The Keeper Kids is an indoor play space where children can learn what it’s like to work at a zoo. They can learn about safety, design, caring for animals, and animal nutrition among many more subjects.

Melbourne Zoo, Sanook.
	- Melbourne Zoo
Melbourne Zoo, Sanook. - Melbourne Zoo. Photo by Nick Gibson

Historic Elephant Exhibit

This is one of the main exhibits in Melbourne Zoo. It showcases the historic, heritage-listed Elephant House. This is where the popular Roar ‘n’ Snore nights are held. These nights include dinner and wine in the cages where elephants used to sleep, followed by actually spending a night there.

Other great exhibitions include the Savannah (Giraffes, Zebras, and Ostriches), the African Rainforest (Gorillas, Pygmy Hippos, and Mandrills); the Asian Rainforest (Sumatran tigers, Otters, and Asian birds), the Lion Park; Small Cat Alley, and Great Flight Aviary.

How to Get There

Located only a few minutes from the CBD, Melbourne Zoo is easily accessed. There is ample car parking available and the zoo can also be reached by Melbourne’s iconic trams and trains. Tram 19 from Elizabeth Street and Tram 55 from William Street on Monday through Saturday, and Tram 68 from Elizabeth Street on Sunday will get you there. Trains run from the Flinders Street Railway Station.

Similar Landmarks

Other major zoos in the world include the Bronx Zoo, Dublin Zoo, London Zoo, and Taronga Zoo.

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Author: bramreusen. Last updated: Mar 06, 2015

Pictures of Melbourne Zoo

Rainbow Lorikeet - Melbourne Zoo
Rainbow Lorikeet - Melbourne Zoo. Photo by Ian Thomas


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