Perth Zoo in South Perth has to be one of the favourite mid-week excursions in Perth for parents of pre-school aged children. After having visited the zoo and being in awe of the incredible animal and botanical displays, I learned about the Zoo Pass. This pass is an annual entry fee that allows you to visit the zoo as many times as you like within the year of purchase. The pass, coupled with the fact that children under the age of four are free, and that there is plenty of 2-hour free parking in the surrounding streets, makes the zoo supreme in my personal opinion.
We visit the zoo at least fortnightly, so I like to mix things up and make each visit different. Recently, I asked my 3-year-old to circle on the map his favourite things about Perth Zoo. It was great to hear his perspective of an ultimate zoo trip, because many of them differed from what my perceptions of his favourites were.
So here you have it. A three-year-old edit of the top 9 things about Perth Zoo. Add them to your list next time, you won't be disappointed.
1.Getting a map and a Stamp from the Visitor Information Booth
Starting your zoo experience with a little person at the Visitor Information Point just inside the main gate is a must. The volunteer guides are fabulous with children and are really well informed about the happenings at the zoo. There is always a tear-off map to collect, and the guides are more than happy to stamp small hands with various animal markings. It's always a good idea to ask the volunteers if there is anything new to see, new babies that have been born, or exhibits that have been changed. There are always lengthy discussions about what to see and these conversations generally help to form the route for our trip.
I am after all the Mum of two little boys. These animated primates always get a big laugh, especially when they flash their blushing rear ends towards us. I don't think there has been a time we have visited where they aren't doing something interesting.
We love looking at the Sausage Trees of sub-Saharan Africa. The botanicals at Perth Zoo are simply amazing, and I feel they are somewhat underappreciated. These trees lie within the African Savannah section of the zoo. They have beautiful blood-red flowers that hang in long panicles. On our most recent trip, we learned that those blushed-bottomed baboons actually like to feed on the flowers of the sausage tree.
This one drives me crazy, but alas the number one ticket item for my little buddy is the Nocturnal House. We do a minimum of two laps a visit. The house is a dimly lit cave-like building filled with owls, bats, possums, quolls, frogs and a range of other creepy crawlies including water rats. Ugh. We always play a game of "who can spot it first" as we try to see some of the more difficult and camouflaged animals on display.
Lap upon lap of the Nocturnal House is always on our to do list
My favourite thing to do is to spend time gazing at the beautiful Sumatran Orangutans, especially when one of the juveniles starts playing or swinging from the enclosure. It is, however, the interactive displays that really engage my boys. They love measuring their hands against the model ones, jumping like monkeys in the replica enclosures, and swinging the leaves to "read" all the interpretive panels.
It's a common talking point among fellow zoo going parents and carers, that the kids seem to like the non-animal exhibits the best. Luckily, Perth Zoo it scattered with plenty to satisfy curious hands. The safari truck, the bronze models of the tortoise, elephant and goanna as well as the playground are all firm favourites.
Stopping outside the reptile house for a quick 'ride'
We've really just discovered this nice little part of the zoo. I can park my pram on one side of the swinging bridge and the boys would be content to run back and forth for as long as I would allow. Great for a 5-minute break (for you).