Melbourne Zoo is a very typical Australian zoos with plenty of space, very botanical, an Australian walk-through, conservation and education facilities, a large collection of mammals mostly from Asia and Africa, and some smaller indoor exhibits of birdlife, reptiles and amphibians.
Larking Lemurs – You get to go inside the cage while the lemurs play around you. Something that isn’t possible in the brown bear enclosure for example.
Centre stage – Right in the middle of the zoo you will find the kings of the jungle and I would be lion to you if I said it wasn’t impressive
Gorilla Rainforest – This walking trail contains not only Gorillas but a wide range of monkeys who do their best impression of an end of season footy trip by showing off, swinging and throwing things at each other.
Bugs and Butterflies – In a good strategic decision the zoo has decided that butterflies would be the animals chosen to land on people. It’s a bit daggy but very iconic and the bug collection follows a newer world-wide zoo trend of showing off the small next to the large – make sure you don’t walk past it.
Local tips and knowledge
Tip #1: Make it a serendipitous discovery
The best way to enjoy your hometown zoo is to put away the map, ignore the feedings and keeper talks and just go for a stroll. Trying to be here at 10am and then there at 11am, just makes for a day of constant planning and continually looking at your watch. Make it a nice stroll, around the various walking paths. Occasionally you will come across a feeding time or keeper talk, at other times you will feel like you have the place to yourself.
Tip #2: Have lunch in the Japanese Gardens
The Japanese Garden is tucked away behind the Lakeside Bistro. It was built to mark the tenth anniversary of the sister-state relationship between Victoria and the Aichi Prefecture (an Australian garden was built in their zoo). Take advantage of the fact that the garden is a little out of sight and utilize the often vacant gazebo for lunch.
Tip #3 Search the news before attending
A baby being born is big news for zoos and will generate media coverage so it’s worth doing a quick search, particularly if you are either:
a) keen to experience the cuteness that little animals inevitably provide, or
b) keen to avoid the masses of people that descend on the zoo, each time a new addition crops up.
Address: Elliott Avenue, Parkville
*NOTE: If meeting a friend outside the gate, be warned that there are two entry points. People standing outside the gates on mobiles yelling ” I’m out the front and I can’t see you” is common.