I may not be the biggest fan of zoos, or most things for that matter, but when your house mate volunteers there and has free tickets, you’d be a fool to decline.
Depending on your current location in Sydney, the journey across to the zoo is in itself a treat. If you are based south of Harbour Bridge the best way to get across is by ferry. Costing around $10 return and taking 15 minutes, the ferry will depart for Athol Bay, which will just be labelled as Taronga Zoo, from Circular Quay giving you great photo opportunities for the Opera House, Harbour Bridge, cruise liners docked in the area, the CBD, parks and the old jail (Fort Denison). Be sure to go on the top deck for the best views.
On arrival at Athol Bay you have the option of getting the Skyline or the bus up to the zoo. Unfortunately the day I went the Skyline was not running but this is basically a cable car which travels over the zoo to the entrance and so is well worth doing to wet your appetite. Entrance to the zoo will cost you:
Child (4-15): $22
Child Under 4: Free
Family: Adult $37.40, Child $18.70 (minimum 3 persons with one child)
Although I believe there is an option to purchase both your ferry ticket and zoo entrance all in one go saving you a few dollars.
It seems the key to a good day out at the zoo is seeing some of the talks and shows. This is something I have never really done before and usually I just wonder around at my own pace staring blindly at the animals waiting to get to what I consider to be the good stuff…..spiders, snakes, insects and other such weird or deadly creatures. But
today was going to be different as I was there with a very enthusiastic and somewhat childish Shauna (my housemate).
Having walked around for a bit and taken in the lazy Koalas, some very still Crocodiles and touching a snake we headed for our first talk/show: The Bird Show. I really did not expect a lot from this, which I made very clear to Shauna, but I was actually pleasantly surprised. You are sat in an arena style setup where a very passionate speaker will spring out into the centre jeering the audience into making some noise. The show lasted around 15 minutes and has a myriad of different birds being described in detail made all the more impressive by the birds performing numerous tricks and skills and actually playing out story sequences. It is a definite recommendation from me to see this, just check out the shows times on the flyer/map you get on your way into the zoo.
As you can imagine being an Australian zoo there is an eclectic mix of animals ranging from your well know Australian animals through to the more further afield varieties such as Giraffes, Elephants and apes. I won’t bore you into naming every animal I saw as there is no benefit in this and my memory isn’t that good, but there should be something for everyone.
The second show we went to see was the Seal and Sea lion show. This one has the added fun of a splash zone in the first few rows, not only a favourite for kids but also anyone who wants to cool off.
The show again comprises a lot of interesting facts and numerous performances from the animals incorporating a fair bit of comedic styling’s which even as a semi miserable adult I found myself unwillingly smiling to. There is a small amount of audience participation so be sure to get your hand in the air straight away to get the chance to interact with the animals.
The third and final show/Talk we saw was the Arachnids. This one is perhaps not for everyone, which was evident from the fairly small turn out and the fact it is held in a much smaller area than all the other shows, and beware, they do bring the spiders into the audience for everyone to get a better look, but don’t worry too much as they are in jars given their ‘deadly’ status.
There is plenty to see and do within the zoo and it can take a lot of walking to get around everything, it’s not that flat either so be prepared to tackle a few slopes. There is a food court to get refreshments/lunch and picnic areas scattered around should you wish to bring your own food. As with many of these types of attractions/days out you exit through the gift shop, which I ended up buying something in…..it works. The exit is back at the bottom of the hill near the ferry port and so there is no need to worry about getting a bus back down.
The zoo does hold limited period attractions, with one of the latest being Jurassic themed and containing animatronic dinosaurs, so be sure to check out their website to see if there is anything additional going on.
Love Scotty x