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Taronga Zoo in Sydney is a captivating haven for wildlife enthusiasts.
Situated against the picturesque backdrop of the iconic Sydney Harbour, Taronga Zoo offers an unforgettable experience filled with awe-inspiring encounters with animals from around the globe.
Whether you’re seeking a family outing, a day of exploration, or a chance to connect with nature, Taronga Zoo has it all.
In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about visiting this world class zoo, including what to see, how to get there, and a bit of background about the zoo.
- Is Taronga Zoo worth visiting?
- About the Award-Winning Taronga Zoo
- Things to Do at Taronga Zoo
- Special Events: Wild Lights, Vivid Festival
- Opening Hours & Entrance Fees
- Facilities at Taronga Zoo
- How to Get to Taronga Zoo
- Before You Go
- More Top Tips for Exploring Sydney
Is Taronga Zoo worth visiting?
After spending so much time in the Safari Parks of Africa, visiting zoos does not hold a great deal of appeal to me.
If I am to walk through the gates of a zoo, it has to be world class, which is exactly what Taronga Zoo offers.
Taronga Zoo has a strong emphasis on conservation, education, treating the animals with kindness and respect, and have an energy of peace and happiness.
I was more than happy to walk through the main entrance of this World Class Zoo, especially when upon entering the gates and walking down the hill a bit, we were greeted with these views.
The views and the experience are absolutely worth the price of admission alone.
The natural bushland setting, looking out to the Harbour, had me at times forgetting I was at the zoo and actually not in the animal’s jungle homes.
Taronga Zoo is situated on Sydney Harbour at Mosman on the North Shore, one of Sydney’s most exclusive and wealthiest suburbs.
What a spot for a zoo!
Being Father’s Day, the Zoo seemed to be converted to pram city, and we were happy to throw our two in there with the hordes.
About the Award-Winning Taronga Zoo
Taronga Zoo, located in Sydney, Australia, has a rich history that dates back to 1884.
Originally known as Moore Park Zoo, it was situated in an area called Billy Goat Swamp. However, in 1916, the zoo was relocated to its current site and officially opened to the public on October 7th of that year.
Taronga is the aboriginal word for “beautiful view” which you will quickly realize why when you visit.
The zoo is one of Sydney’s most famous attractions and has evolved from a place of entertainment to a renowned conservation and education center.
They also have a second site, Taronga Western Plains Zoo Dubbo.
Things to Do at Taronga Zoo
While you might think that a zoo is just a zoo, this zoo in New South Wales is much more than that.
Below are some of the most unmissable things to do in Taronga Zoo, Sydney.
Admire Taronga Zoo Sydney’s Beautiful Outdoor Harbourside Location
Being set on a hilly location there were plenty of spots to stop and take in the panoramic harbour views.
It’s not just about animal encounters and learning about the native wildlife, but a place to capture a beautiful view of the magnificent Sydney Harbour.
There are plenty of places for you to have a picnic lunch with the animals and the views. We loved sitting just back from the giraffes while we ate.
And an afternoon coffee at the Harbour View Cafe, while the girls slept in their prams was simply divine.
Spending the day walking around the zoo had me gushing at the exquisite views that stretched out in front of us no matter where we walked.
See the Exotic Animals
There are a wide variety of animals from around the world at Taronga Zoo.
Each animal enclosure has facts on display giving you the opportunity to learn more about these wonderful creatures who are so important to our ecosystem.
We were lucky enough to see the new baby Asian elephants who were born at the zoo.
I even discovered a few new animals like the Bongo, Malayan Tapir and Binturong. Kalyra was a little disappointed that her favourite Zebras were missing.
Some other notable animals worth seeing are the Sumatran Tigers, Lions (sometimes you can hear them roar), Chimpanzees, and Penguins.
Of course, there is also a wide variety of Aussie animals too, such as Crocodiles, Wombats, Kangaroos, Emus, Tasmanian Devils, and a rare mountain pygmy possum, platypus, brush-tailed bettong, and parma wallaby.
Watch a Seal Show
Kalyra was enthralled with the entertaining seals, which I found really educational at the same time, and appreciated their strong conservation message.
Kalyra learned how dangerous it is for the animals to have rubbish thrown in the oceans, an invaluable lesson for someone so young.
Get a Photo with the Animals
You have the opportunity to have your photo taken with many of the park’s animals throughout the day.
The great thing about our Aussie Animals is that for many of them it is perfectly safe for you to wander around the enclosure with them, give them a pet and have your photo with them.
I wouldn’t advise you do that with a Tazzie devil though!
I can’t guarantee that you will be able to do either but you can definitely use Taronga Zoo as your opportunity to meet our cute and cuddly marsupials, not to forget our birds and reptiles too.
Attend Daily Keeper Talks
Taronga Zoo has many conservation and animal research programs in place, as well as daily keeper talks that educate and inspire visitors about the conservation efforts.
Keeper talks include leopard seals, gorillas, and giraffes.
The money raised goes to assisting in the reintroduction of animal species into the wild around the world, support injured Australian native wildlife through their wildlife hospital and have several other conservation projects running.
Many of these animals are on the brink of extinction, and much of Aussie’s wildlife, such as the Koala, are now an endangered species in some regions.
Check Out the Australian Rainforest Aviary
The Australian Rainforest Aviary in Taronga Zoo is the place to be for bird enthusiasts.
Set in a lush rainforest setting, visitors can observe a variety of bird species up close.
The aviary is home to a diverse range of exotic birds, including the Owls, Fruit Pigeons, Honeyeaters, Bowerbirds, and Eastern Whipbirds, among others.
It provides a tranquil escape from the bustling city, where you can enjoy the sights and sounds of these beautiful creatures in their natural habitat.
Free Flight Bird Show
This daily show showcases the incredible skills and beauty of various bird species in free flight.
You can witness these magnificent creatures soaring through the sky, performing mesmerizing aerial displays.
The show takes place twice a day, at 12:00pm and 3:00pm, and is included with the zoo entry.
No booking is required, but it’s advised to arrive early to secure a seat.
Check out the Zoo Shop
Taronga is a non-for-profit organization so every penny you spend goes towards conservation efforts. Be sure to visit the shop and take home some souvenirs.
Special Events: Wild Lights, Vivid Festival
Taronga Zoo has many special events on during the year. One of our favorites in s the Wild Lights held during the Sydney Vivid Festival in May.
It’s an illuminated trail through the zoo lights up giant animal multimedia light sculptures. Each year there is a different theme for what kind of animals they show. When we visited each sculpture featured one of ten critical species.
Opening Hours & Entrance Fees
Taronga Zoo is open everyday from 8.00am-5.00pm.
Zoo tickets cost: Adults $45.90, Children (4-15 years) $27, Kids (under 4) Free entry, Disability and concessions, $35.10
Parking costs $16 for the day. If you are lucky you might jag a free park in the streets outside.
Facilities at Taronga Zoo
Taronga Zoo offers a range of facilities to ensure accessibility for all.
Most areas of the zoo are wheelchair accessible, and exhibits are designed to be within short walking distances from the main circuit.
Accessible stand-alone bathrooms can be found throughout the zoo, including an accessible toilet near the entrance and below the giraffe enclosure.
Strollers and manual wheelchairs are available for hire at the Visitor Information Desk.
Carers or essential companions of individuals with disabilities receive free entry.
All food outlets, shops, shows, presentations, and animal displays are wheelchair accessible.
How to Get to Taronga Zoo
To get to Taronga Zoo in Sydney, there are several transportation options available.
One popular and scenic way is to take a ferry from Circular Quay. The ferry ride takes approximately 12 minutes and offers beautiful views of the harbor.
You can catch the ferry from Circular Quay, Wharf 4, Side B, and it will take you directly to Taronga Zoo Wharf.
Once you arrive at the port you can catch the cable car up to the top of the zoo to save your legs the walk up the hill. You can ride it without even arriving by ferry.
It gives you magnificent views of the zoo and the harbour. You can get a ferry plus zoo combo ticket here.
Another option is to take a bus or taxi. You can catch the M30 Metro Bus from Central Station to Taronga Zoo. Alternatively, you can also take a taxi to the zoo.
Before You Go
Before you go, we have just a few tips to help you maximize your experience. The first is to take your own food and drinks and you will save a lot of money.
The second is to make sure you wear appropriate sun protection as much of the zoo is outdoors and has little shade.
Wear comfortable shoes and drink plenty of water.
Disclaimer: Our stay was hosted by Taronga Zoo, though all thoughts and opinions in this guide are of my own.
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Have you ever been to Taronga Zoo before? Would you like to now? What do you think makes a world class zoo? Let us know in the comments.