Melbourne Zoo is a fantastic zoo filled with many animals that pull big crowds, like the elephants, lions and orangutans. But the less popular attractions are also well worth a look, in fact some of them are my favourite things to see and do at the zoo.
The first animal that is commonly overlooked is the golden pheasant. This bird lives in a small enclosure at the beginning of the elephant and tiger trail. Many people miss out on it in the excitement of getting to the larger, more exciting animals, but it is not to be missed. The golden pheasant is possibly the most beautiful bird I have ever laid eyes on and I assure you that this photo does not do it justice.
The second thing that people will rule out, but definitely shouldn't, when they check their map at the beginning and plan their day is the Japanese garden. Located just next to the lakeside bistro it is the most peaceful part of the zoo. There aren't really any animals to see here, apart from plenty of ducks and the occasional turtle in the lake, but it is great for a quiet break from the screaming hoards in the rest of the zoo.
The third and fourth attractions not to be missed are the new meerkat and giant tortoise enclosures. These are regularly disregarded as there are other meerkat and giant tortoise enclosures in the heart of the zoo. These are a lot smaller however, and are not at all as good. The new meerkat one is especially good for small children, with tunnels to crawl through that get them right to the heart of the enclosure and really get amongst the meerkats.
The last enclosure I will mention is one that is not so much overlooked as overly rushed, the aviary. This is one of Melbourne Zoo's most popular attractions, but from what I can tell people rush through it, glancing at the occasional bird, keen to get on to the next exhibit. This is understandable as there is a lot to do at Melbourne Zoo and fitting it in to one day can be a struggle, but you really need to take your time in the aviary to get the most out of it. Watch the birds fly around, listen to them chirp playfully and enjoy the ducks frolicking in the water.
I hope that these little trinkets will make your next trip to Melbourne Zoo a more enjoyable one and I will leave you with one piece of advice. Don't go on Saturday. If you have a job or kids in school, take the day off work or take them out of school and go on a weekday, it will be infinitely more enjoyable.