Have you been to every zoo in Victoria?
The Melbourne Zoo is famous for its species specific environments and its breeding and recovery programs. With over 320 species from Australia and from around the world, there is so much to see and learn at this zoo. Werribee is home to our state’s free range zoo but did you know that there are other zoos where hundreds of native and exotic animals live in regional Victoria? Read on to find out about the interesting animals you can find in zoos in Victoria.
Rolling up to the Mansfield Zoo you feel a little bit like you’re visiting an old friend or your grandma who lives in the country and has lots of animals. A herd of deer live in the front paddock adjacent to the reception building. “Rattle your bucket at the gate,” says the man dressed in jeans and a cowboy hat leaning on the front porch, “and they’ll come running”. If you’ve ever wanted to touch the fuzzy antlers of these beautiful creatures, this is your opportunity. Here you can also hand feed kangaroos and even monkeys who will daintily select pellets from your outstretched palm through the wire of their enclosure. Llamas wander in the paddocks on this 30 acre property, as do bison, horses and dingoes. There’s even a white lion.
Around the zoo: Mansfield is the gateway to Mt Buller. In winter, visit the snowfields for skiing and snowboarding. In summer, the hills offer horse rides, hiking and biking.
Have you ever wanted to hold a meerkat? At the Hall’s Gap Zoo, the animal encounters are plentiful and strictly supervised by zookeepers. Feed a giraffe, pat a wombat, hold a snake, handle a tortoise or pat a lizard. Over a thousand birds and animals live onsite at this family run zoo, including a white rhino, bison, quokkas and even crocodiles.
Around the zoo: Visit the Grampians National Park. Rock climbers, hikers, campers, bird watchers and all kinds of nature enthusiasts revel in the stunning sandstone mountain ranges in the region.
When you can’t leave the country for an African safari, Werribee Open Range Zoo is the place to replicate one. Jump aboard the safari bus and travel the plains seeking animals. The arid savannah landscapes will make you feel like you’re in another country. Guides will point out bison, addax, rhino, zebra and ostrich as you pass them in the bus. You’ll also see lions, gorillas, rhinoceros, giraffes, zebras, antelopes, hippos, African cats, and meerkats.
The Werribee Zoo also offers a Slumber Safari for those who want to stay overnight on the property.
Around the zoo: Werribee Mansion. Have a spa day and a fancy dinner at the Lancemore Hotel. Visit the Victorian State Rose Garden. Indulge in some history and take the ghost tour.
The Healesville Sanctuary is part of the Melbourne Zoo organisation. A day trip out there from Melbourne is the perfect place to see Australian wildlife in their natural bush environment. The daily bird of prey show, Spirits of the Sky, is a spectacle not to be missed. The speed and power of the wedge-tailed eagle, the black breasted buzzard and an assortment of parrots will astonish you.
Wander through the rocky high ground of Dingo Country, then visit the nocturnal platypus habitat. Explore the reptile house then finish with a walk through Kangaroo Country.
The public can also observe vets at work in the on-site animal hospital.
Around the zoo: Visit the Four Pillars Gin distillery or dozens of wineries and cellar doors in the region. Healesville itself has a maze and excellent pubs, restaurants and cafes where visitors can sample the local food and drink.
Which is your favourite Victorian zoo?
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