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What to do and what not to do at the premier zoo in Sydney Taronga Zoo
Taronga Zoo things to do and Taronga Zoo things not to do
Sydney Zoo is Taronga Zoo, cages, tips and information
Taronga Zoo turned ninety in 2006. The official opening was on 7th October 1916. The old lady does show her age occasionally. In particular the Bears, Lions and Tigers look exactly what they are, exhibits in a zoo.
The newer sections like the elephant enclosure and recently opened aquarium are a different kettle of fish. When we last went the aquarium appeared to lack residents which is surprising given the accommodation crisis. Maybe they were still looking for a park - see below.
The cage less Zoo
You'll struggle to find the word 'cage' anywhere at Taronga Zoo (including the guide and map). Perspex for bars makes no difference to the inhabitants except perhaps to make it hotter in summer.
An oddity is the amount of seemingly dead space and unused enclosures. Harbourside real estate is very expensive.
Elephants, Gorillas and Chimps
Some of the enclosures / habitats (not sure what the correct p.c. is for cage) are excellent. Examples being the Elephants (new in 2007), Gorillas and Chimps. Given the high level of in intelligence of the later two perhaps no great surprise. The Gorilla's even get counseling sessions:
Best Zoo in the world
Whatever you views on animals in cages / enclosures / habitats / environments / encounters etc Taronga Zoo's location, smack on Sydney Harbour with Sydney City, Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera as a back drop, makes it one of the best, if not the best, Taronga Zoo in the world.
What to do
1. What to do and what not to do at the Sydney Taronga Zoo? Firstly arrive early. It's much more enjoyable to take your time and actually watch the animals for a while. The absence of having to jostle your way to see a sleeping lion is a pleasure in itself. Good spots where you can sit, watch and relax are the Gorilla and Chimp enclosures.
2. Start from the top. Taronga Zoo is on the side of a hill that slopes down to Sydney Harbour.
3. Catch the Free Sky Safari (Cable Car) up to the top of the hill.
4. If you walk all the way down keep going and catch the Free Sky Safari back up (just make sure its running first)
5. Did I mention catch the Sky Safari(?)
6. If you don't want to catch the Sky Safari at least use the escalators or lift by the food court.
7. Take bare the minimum. You will find plenty of food and drink at the zoo. If you are having a picnic, give yourself plenty of time.
8. Try not to back track too much because you are on the side of a hill. Use the free map available near the main entrance.
9. For caffeine addicts. There's plenty of outlets. You don't have to queue up at the first available coffee stand.
10. See the Bird Show and / or Seals.
11. Buy your gifts on the way out, not on your way in.
12. Don't over do it. Tempting to try to see everything but you're better off focusing on what you want to see.
13. Take lots of photographs.
What not to do
14. Try avoid school holidays, sunny days and weekends. See 1 above.
15. Don't whine about the animals being in cages - its a zoo for god sake...:)
Slightly surprising that you don't see more from the Sky Safari. If you like roofs and tree tops you'll be happy. You'll probably see the elephants (hard to miss really) but be ready for the large Orangutan or two at the top of a pole near the top of the run. You can pretty much stay on for as long as you want. Just be sensitive to the number of people queuing up for a ride.
The facilities at Taronga Zoo are surprisingly good with a number of food options from traditional fast food to the pleasant Tree Tops cafe with excellent, if partially obscured, views of Sydney Harbour.
Feeding Time - the animals this time
Oddly not widely advertised. Some of the cages, sorry, enclosures will tell you. There are talks, encounters and even shows (surely they are insights..) times are listed on the free map available near the entrance. The list includes Koala Encounters 11am - 2-45pm and the 'world renowned' Seal show at 1pm.
'Creating experiences that inspire us to care for wildlife'. So there.
Membership is well worth the initial [gulp] 'that's expensive' feeling assuming you plan to visit regularly. You need to go at least three times a year to make it worth while.
My biggest gripe is the lack of flexibility in ticketing. They really don't cater for much in between annual membership and a one off visit. No imagination - everybody misses out.
Any comments or anything to add. What do you think. Don't be cagey..
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