A day at the zoo is always exciting; not only for kids but for the entire family. And Melbourne Zoo is exactly that - a complete family entertainment destination.
Being located close to Melbourne CBD, it is easily accessible by public transport or a short drive with ample parking.
The zoo has two entrances. Kids have free entry during school holidays. Find more information on tickets and membership details here.
The zoo is huge and a full tour could take 4 to 5 hours. So if you are pressed for time, then you might want to know some highlights that the kids will enjoy most.
Trail of the elephants: Elephants brought from Asia have been preserved here and recently Australia's first female elephant calf was born in Melbourne Zoo. This baby loves frolicking in the pond.
Look out for peacocks while you are here, if you are lucky, you might catch the handsome display of feathers!
Asian rain-forest: Sumatran tigers and Asian birds make for this section.
Apes and monkeys: These animals are loved by all kids. Whether its their body language resembling humans or their 'monkeying' around, this place attracts most spectators.
The gorilla family with the mamma cuddling its young is a lovely sight.
The treetop monkeys can be enjoyed as you walk through an elevated glass chamber. You cannot miss the burst of energy as your little monkeys start jumping seeing the acrobatics of gibbons, capuchin, colobus, spider monkey, lemurs. Through their jumping, swinging and making faces at the crowds, this is a winner!
Are you in for some monkey time
Lemur Island: This is a new exhibit introduced early in 2014. A dedicated space for lemurs, walk along the bridge and look for the lemurs hiding underneath. Keep your eyes open, you might see one scurrying close by.
Savannah-like grasslands for the ever-munching giraffes and zebras. Good place to take pictures with the giraffe looming above your head. Check with the reception for giraffe feeding time.
There is a huge enclosure for lions. On both the occasions that I visited the zoo, the 'kings' of the jungle
were snoring to glory!
Lion enjoying afternoon nap
Aussie animals: This includes kangaroos, wombats, koalas, Tasmanian devil, echidna, emus. There is an option to feed kangaroos, check with the reception.
Aviary: This is a netted enclosure with a wide variety of birds. A huge range of colour, chirping and screeching, this aviary is wonderful.
Reptile house: You would want to see these creepy crawly snakes, lizards, mini-crocodiles, frogs and many others. Though the exhibits here are interesting, it takes a keen eye to spot them and younger kids may not enjoy this one.
Sea world: Get under the ocean which houses rays, eels, sharks, seals, little penguins. Blue and cold surroundings with sounds of water and waves this one is wonderful.
Star fish and many under water species to admire
What's on During school holidays, Melbourne Zoo has additional activities for kids. Spend time with the zoo keeper and learn more about your favorite animals or go 'undercover' with Barry the Bandicoot. Or choose an entire adventure-packed day exploring secret areas of the zoo. Get details here
Close up encounters Take the adventure one level higher and book the close up encounters with kangaroos, giraffes, meerkat. Also available is an opportunity to watch the tigers from a special viewing area.
Few pointers during your visit 1. Wear comfortable clothing and shoes as its a long walk.
2. Carry water and munchies (though cafeteria is available its in the center of the zoo and may not be close by when you feel hungry)
3. Near the snow leopard and wild cats, kids must maintain silence. Noise tends to distract the beasts and they go further inside the enclosures.
4. Try to plan your visit early in the day. If you visit after noon, most of the animals are enjoying their mid-day siesta and it gets rather disappointing.
This bear is entertaining the kids
5. If you have relocated to Melbourne, you will certainly make more than one visits to the zoo. Makes sense to be a Zoo member
All in all, its an awesome close-to-nature experience and I bet your family and you will be making trips often to have fun with these wonderful animals.