A mum of three, engineer, scientist, educator, and all around dabbler, I'm far better at finding interesting things to do than I am at doing housework.
Published April 29th 2012
Werribee Zoo , located an easy 30 minute drive from central Melbourne, is a great place for a relaxed zoo outing with the family.
Unlike the main Melbourne Zoo, Werribee's collection is fairly limited in scope, with the animals located on one of three loop walks, or in a large grasslands area accessed by safari tour bus. The smaller number of animals allows each animal to have spacious and naturalistic setting, and makes for a more relaxed atmosphere than the bustling Melbourne Zoo.
The safari bus tour, which is included in the price of admission, is a highlight of the day. The tour takes patrons on a circuit of the savannah area of the zoo, which contain a variety of antelope, giraffes, camels, ostriches and the very impressive rhinos.
At 45 minutes long, the safari is timed to hold the attention of school children and adults. If you are travelling with a toddler whose attention span (or bladder) may not last the distance, there is often the option of taking a family friendly safari which offer a shorter ride and songs to entertain the little ones.
The three loop walks allow visitor to view the animals at their own pace. Each walk takes approximately 1 hour to complete at a gentle stroll.
The African Plains walk is particularly popular with families as it contains a number of play areas, with each area taking its theme from a nearby animal on display (Hippo, Gorilla, Cheetah). The Serval Cat presentation on this walk is well worth attending, as it gives the opportunity to see this African cat at close quarters with no intervening barriers. A unique experience that our children enjoyed greatly!
The other walks focus on Australian animals and the local landscape.
The Werribee Zoo is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike, particularly as children now receive free admission on weekends and school holidays. With the opportunity to see animals that are not on display in the other Victorian Zoos, it is well worth a visit for any animal lover or aspiring zoologist.