Taronga Zoo: One of Sydney Australia’s main attractions, the Tonga Zoo is an award winning zoo with over 4000 animals. Right in Sydney’s suburb Mosman, the Tonga Zoo over looks the picturesque Sydney Harbor. The surrounding scenery makes the word Taronga, which means beautiful view, the perfect name for this attraction.
Taronga Zoo supports the idea that once you have seen one zoo you definitely have not seen them all. Taronga Zoo is a must stop on your Sydney itinerary. Check out this post where I share my top 10 favorite things to do in Sydney with kids: Sydney Australia with Kids
Want to See Some Kangaroos?
There are just some things that you expect to see when you travel to certain locations. And in Australia, you expect to see kangaroos. Not seeing a kangaroo feels as wrong as going to Disney World and not seeing Mickey Mouse. It just feels like they go hand in hand.
Chances of seeing a wild Kangaoo in Sydney are pretty low. If you want to see kangaroo, head to Taronga. You will get to see them in as close to a “wild” setting as you can, with nothing really separating them from you.
Right in the Taronga Zoo is a section identified as Other Wild Australia and it is here that tourists can see the Red Kangaroo, as well as the Eastern Grey Kangaroo. The Red Kangaroo interestingly enough is the largest kangaroo of all and can travel at speeds of over 35 miles and hour.
Who knew all their little hopping could produce such distance in such a short amount of time? Kangaroos are in fact the only animals large in size that hop as their way of transporting themselves. Fascinating creatures and definitely an attraction that is worth going to visit at the zoo.
What about the Koalas and Wallabies?
In addition to the kangaroo, two other iconic Australian animals are the koalas and wallabies, which both can be seen at this zoo as well. The wallaby, an animal from the same family as a kangaroo, but smaller in size and smaller legs, can also be seen at the Other Wild Australia habitat. They sure are fun animals to watch.
Even though I enjoyed seeing kangaroos and wallabies, I couldn’t wait to see a koala bear. There is just something about those little creatures that make me smile. Without hesitation, I headed over to Koala Walkabout to see this darling creature. This exhibit definitely did not disappoint. And I learned so much about Koala. For example, did you know it costs about a million dollars a year to feed one? Expensive little suckers.
Want Some Face Time with the Animals? Book an Animal Encounter
While I was at the zoo I noticed a lot of signs for animal encounters. Animal encounters are a fun way to get up close with animals that for many would otherwise not have the opportunity to see so close. For additional cost, individuals can have an encounter with an koala, penguin, owl or giraffe.
For example, you might have an owl being placed on your wrist or get to feed a giraffe, if that is the encounter you choose. Regardless of the encounter chosen, all participants walk away with a photo of themselves and the animal. So if you are dying to get up close and personal, this is the way to go.
Chimpanzees! Who Knew there was such a Societal Hierarchy?
When visiting the zoo, you don’t want to miss the Chimpanzee Community. I felt like I was watching a reality T.V. show right before my eyes. As with all great drama, you have the respected leader of the group and then you of course have the one who wants to be the leader of the group.
This dynamic is no different among the Chimp community. At Taronga Lubutu is the leader of the some odd 19 chimpanzees and of course his reign cannot be without turmoil.
Born in 1993, Lubutu has been the leader since he was 8 years old. He obtained this role after his father’s passing. Although popular among the group, Lubutu has an adversary named Shebani.
Shebani, the beta male, younger than Lubutu by a year, desires to be the leader in their community. Fortunately for Lubutu he has yet to be dethroned by this chimpanzee.
One main difference between these two chimpanzees is that Lubutu seems to be more restraining around the baby chimps, while Shabani deals with his frustration with the younger ones by refocusing this negative emotion towards the women of the group. Needless to say, because of this, Lubutu has locked in the female vote.
Deadly Snakes, Pigmy Hippopotamuses, Asian Elephants, Red Pandas, and More
So much to see and do here. Whether you want to see deadly creatures like Boa Constrictors, Eastern Diamond Back Snakes, Green Tree Python, or even a Gila monster over at the Sepentana section, the zoo will not run out of species that will have you entranced. Or if scary creatures are not your thing, there are plenty of other options.
I loved going to see Pandas in the Himalayan section of the park and I also appreciated the Asian Rainforest where I was able to see 5 Asian Elephants. And of course we can’t forget about the Pigmy Hippo that can be seen in the Asian Forest as well. The possibilities are endless.
Why I Loved Taronga Zoo
I really enjoyed my time at the Taronga Zoo. I loved the atmosphere. Acres of land to cover with beautiful scenery of the Sydney Harbor and the city of Sydney off in the distance, Taronga Zoo not only provided the beauty of seeing species that you don’t get to see everyday, but Taronga Zoo provided such scenic views beyond the zoo gates. Just look at that view!
I also love how the Taronga Zoo is a nonprofit zoo that is trying to do its part and help wildlife conservation. We attended a couple of the shows: the seal show and the bird show, and they were very well done, and had a theme of conservation and protecting the animals and their habitats.
I loved every minute of it. Including the food. We ate at The View, which is the nicer restaurant in the zoo, the food was good, the views were excellent, and the proximity to many amazing animals can’t be beat.
Taronga Zoo also participates in Vivid Sydney, the light and music installations all over the city. They had some pretty amazing animals to add to the fun!
So if you are going to be in Sydney during Vivid, be sure to book one night at Taronga so you don’t miss out on those bright colors!
Tips for the Taronga Zoo Experience
- Take the ferry from Sydney to go to the zoo. It’s a beautiful commute, takes only about 12 minutes, and it escapes traffic and zoo parking fees. It is literally the best way to go.
- Buy tickets to the zoo online and save 20% off ticket prices. Restrictions may apply. And that way you will have them when you get to zoo from the ferry, and can take the lower entrance in.
- Don’t rush the experience. Allow for at least about a half a day there. You don’t want to miss anything.
- The zoo is always improving, which is a good thing. However, this can mean that depending on where improvements are being made, this can affect some exhibits, making a few exhibits closed to the public. Look ahead online before visiting Taronga Zoo, if you have want to ensure a must see section is open when planning your trip.
- Consider registering your kids for the Keeper for a Day program. Keeper for a Day is a great program that gives children a chance first hand to see what it would be like to be a zoo keeper. The Cadet program is for ages 12-17 and the Junior program is for ages 8-11.
When visiting Sydney Australia, don’t forget about Taronga Zoo. One of Sydney’s main attractions, with 52 acres filled with 340 species, Taronga Zoo is a great place to see animals of all kinds and gain an appreciation for endangered and exotic creatures. When in Sydney, you won’t want to miss out on the Taronga Zoo experience.