Melbourne Zoo, Melbourne: How To Reach, Best Time & Tips
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Day Tours
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Sightseeing Tours

Melbourne Zoo Tours & Activities

About Melbourne Zoo

The Melbourne Zoo is also known as the Royal Melbourne Zoological Gardens, and it is one of the biggest zoological parks in Australia and one of the amazing tourist places in Melbourne. Located in the Royal Park premises in the Parkville region of Melbourne, the zoo is about 4 km away from the center of the city.

It is the primary serving habitat for many animals in Melbourne and is home to more than 320 species of animals. Some of these animal species are native to Australia, but there are many that are native to other parts of the world as well.

The Royal Melbourne Zoological Gardens are an institutional member of the Zoo and Aquarium Association. The gardens are also a part of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, shortly known as the WAZA.

A large part of the zoo is inspired by the London Zoo. It was inaugurated in 1862 on the 6th of October. The 55-acre land area for the zoo was donated by the city. Soon after its opening, the zoo became home to many animals that were previously living in the botanical gardens in the city.

It is set amidst beautiful gardens and picnic areas and is divided into several bioclimatic zones. The African rainforest zone, for instance, is home to many gorillas, pigmy, hippos, and parrots. On the other hand, the Asian rainforest zone houses animals like otters and tigers. 

Some of the most popular exhibits in the zoo are The Trails of Elephants, Butterfly House, Orangutan Sanctuary, Australian Outback, and Predator precinct. For animals’ lovers and wildlife enthusiasts, this is an unmissable destination in Melbourne.

How to Reach Melbourne Zoo

Here are your best options for travelling to the zoo from Melbourne Airport:

- Via bus/train: You can take a bus from the T1 Skybus or Arrival Terminal and reach the Skybus Coach Terminal. After that, you have to take a train from the Southern Cross Station to the Royal Park. From there, the zoo is a distance of 8 minute walk. This trip will cost you $14 in its entirety.

- Taxi: You can also take a taxi directly from the airport to the zoo. This route is almost 20 km long, and will take 15 minutes. It is also one of the most expensive ways and will cost you around $30.
If you own a car or are renting one, you can drive from the airport. 

- Shuttle: Shuttling is the cheapest way to transfer from the airport to the zoo. The journey costs around $9 and will take around 15 minutes.

Best Time to Visit Melbourne Zoo

The best time to visit Melbourne zoo is during summer, that is between the months of January and February. This is because the weather is hot and sunny during this time without being too oppressively hot or extremely cold.

The animals in the zoo are usually in a playful mood and can be seen walking freely in their enclosures and in the wild. Additionally, this type of weather is ideal for sightseeing and enjoying the various tourist attractions the city has to offer.

From November to December,  the city experiences extremely hot weather. The outsides are extremely steamy, so much so that it is not uncommon for some buildings to suffer from power outages because of the extreme heat.

Additionally, the animals may not even come out of their cages and enclosures because of the scorching sun, so your trip may not be successful. And that is why it is not recommended to visit Melbourne Zoo in summer.

During winters, that is, between March and August, the weather drops below zero degrees. The animals retreat to their caves and hiding places to weather the freezing winters. The temperatures tend to go extremely low as soon as the sun goes down. That is why it is not recommended to visit the zoo during these months either.

Between August and October, Australia experiences the monsoon season as the months turn warmer. This is also not a bad time to visit the city but you may have to deal with the rains. That is why the ideal time for a trip to the zoo is between January and February.

Other Essential Information About Melbourne Zoo

Elliott Ave, Parkville VIC 3052, Australia

Timings: open at 9 am every day, irrespective of the day of the week, and closes at 5 pm.

Entry fee:

Here are the various fee packages of the zoo:

- Child (0-3 years): Free

- Child (4-15 years) - weekends and holidays: Free

- Child (4-15 years) - Monday to Friday: $19

- Child with disability concession on weekdays (excluding weekends, public holidays and school holidays): $5

- Adults: General Admission: $38

Zoo Membership: $9.50 per month or $114.00 per year

- Seniors: General Admission: $34

Zoo Membership:
$8.75 per month or $105 per year

Weekday family saver: 2 adults + 3 children - $95

Weekday family saver: 2 adults + 3 children: $105

Food Facilities in Zoo

1. Cafes and kiosks

You can visit one of the cafes or kiosks in the zoo, if you want to have a meal within the zoo premises, or take away a special treat back home. There are plenty of options available at these establishments, including some samples of the finest pastries and sweets, along with savory dishes, in Melbourne. 

For instance, the Lakeside Café offers some vegan dishes and chef specials, that will make your mouth water. The Giraffe Lookout Café, on the other hand, is perfect for getting some spicy BBQ ransky while watching the lovely giraffes. There is also a South East Asian restaurant at the Elephant Kiosk.

2. Catering for Groups

If you are traveling with a large group, you can arrange your tasty take away lunch bag for the entire party at one of the group catering restaurants in the zoo. Pre-ordered lunch boxes are available for groups of 10 or more people. This will make your entire trip to the zoo extremely convenient and stress-free, not to mention the delicious food that you will get to feast on.

These lunches are packed in biodegradable boxes. The contents of the lunchbox will include a sandwich or a baguette, a small salad, some nuts, a piece of fruit, a treat from the bakery in the zoo and a drink. All you have to do is pre-order your lunch bag and then you can easily enjoy the food at one of the picnic tables or out on a cozy  blanket in the lawn.

It should be noted that these lunch packs can only be ordered 7 days in advance and you will need to order for at least 10 people in one order. You can also get low-gluten options on request.

3.  Picnic facilities and Pavilion hire

 If you are organizing an office retreat in the Melbourne Zoo, you can hire a section of the lawn or the pavilion for lunch. The former can handle up to 150 people, while the latter only has room for 50 people. 

Discover The Different Animals and Habitats of the Zoo

1. Lion Gorge:
Witness the big cats roar at this exhilaration section where you will also get to watch the African wild dogs from up close. This carnivores tail features some of the most majestic animals in the zoo, including tigers, lions, Philippine crocodiles, and snow leopards. The crocodiles on this trail are one of the most endangered species in their genus, and an absolute treat to watch. Learn more about the habits and life spans of these amazing animals as you walk through this lush green trail.

2. Australian Bush: If you want to learn more about the indigenous wildlife of the continent, this is the place to be at. The wild Australian bush trail is home to some of the most notorious animals in the country, like emus, kangaroos, wombats, koalas, and Tasmanian Devils. You will also encounter some native birds here, like parrots, honeyeaters, and cockatoos. The scenic bush also features over 20,000 flowering plants that are also native to Australia.

3. Gorilla Rainforest: Explore the wildlife of the African continent here. The deep jungles of this trail feature some of the goofiest apes, like lemurs, gorillas and monkeys. Hear the apes sing at the top of their voice, and watch them hang from branch to branch, tree to tree. You may also get to meet the pygmy hippo on the way here.

4. Trail of Elephants: The lush Asian village and garden called Trail of Elephants is one of the award-winning sections of the zoo. Here, you will get to learn about the endangered Asian elephants, find out how they survive in the wild, and explore their natural habitat. The guided tour is free and is run by volunteers.

5. The Main Trail: The main trail of the zoo will let you interact with various animals like frogs, reptiles, birds and mammals. You can also check the conservation efforts of the zoo on this path, and explore areas like World of Frogs. Meerkats, Zebras, Giraffes can also be seen on this trail. This path will also take you to the Carousel Park, Keeper Kids, and other interactive areas of the zoo.

6. Growing Wild: This interactive play area is ideal for people who love tiny animals. It is specially designed for children under the age of three, but can also be enjoyed by adults who like small, adorable animals. Some of the wildlife you will find here includes the meerkats, reptiles, insects, and Brush Turkeys. There are also several sculptures and figures with which the kids can play using their imagination.

7. Wild Sea: For people who love sea animals, this is the place to be at. The Wild Sea section is home to some of the most amazing marine life of Victoria, and allows you to explore the lovely beaches of Melbourne. You can take a walk on the shore, watch the penguins play, or take part in one of the interactive zones where you will get to know more about how the sea animals live.
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People Also Ask About Melbourne Zoo

  1. Can you bring your own food to Melbourne Zoo?

    Yes, you are allowed to bring your own food to the zoo. There are plenty of picnic spots in the zoo grounds where you can lounge on a cozy blanket and enjoy your special treats while soaking in the beauty of the wildlife around you.
  2. How long do you need at Melbourne Zoo?

    To cover the entirety of the zoo and see all the wonderful wildlife it has to offer, you will need at least 4-5 hours. If that seems too long to you, you can cover all major exhibits within 2-3 hours, or take a guided tour according to your preferences.
  3. Can you bring alcohol to Melbourne Zoo?

    No, the zoo is a licensed venue. This means that you cannot bring your own alcohol here. However, if you do want to get a drink, you can do so at the zoo premises as there are plenty of food and drink vendors in the zoo grounds that sell alcoholic as well as non-alcoholic drinks.
  4. Is Melbourne Zoo free on weekends?

    No, the zoo is not free for everyone on the weekends. Free entry on weekends, Victorian Public Holidays and Government School Holidays is only allowed for children between the ages of 4 and 15. Additionally, entry is always free for kids under the age of 3, no matter what day of the week it is. Therefore, free entry on weekends is not available for everyone, but only for kids.
  5. Is Melbourne Zoo in the free tram zone?

    Recently, under the Barton plan, Melbourne zoo has been added to the free tram zone, along with the MCG, the National Gallery of Victoria, and the Shrine of Remembrance.
  6. Are there kangaroos in Melbourne Zoo?

    Yes, you can see kangaroos in Melbourne Zoo living in their natural habitat.
  7. Can you hire prams at Melbourne Zoo?

    Yes, you can hire pram at the zoo. Single strollers are available for hire for $17 for those who have the membership of the zoo, and it is available for $20 for those who do not have a membership. However, it should be noted that these strollers are available only in a limited number, so you may or may not get one, depending on when you visit.
  8. How many animals are at the Melbourne Zoo?

    Melbourne zoo is home to nearly 5,120 animals belonging to around 320 species.