Monday, October 24, 2011

Canberra Zoo

Canberra is an extremely historical city, but for a more light-hearted, fun day out, why not visit the Canberra Zoo during a mototrhome rental or campervan hire holiday in the city.

Just five minutes from the centre of Canberra, the zoo is set in 7 hectares of land, and as well as being a traditional zoo with all the animals you would expect to see, there are also those you might not expect to see as well. But it’s not just a zoo, it’s an aquarium too, and a place where you can enjoy a large number of tours and hands on experiences. However, one of the nicest things about the zoo is it’s also a centre for breeding and conservation, and in particular it concentrates on gorillas, orang-utans, bears, and the exceptionally beautiful Snow Leopard.

Click here to view a video of the zoo

There is always something new and exciting happening at the zoo, with new arrivals always being popular. Most recently, the Ring-tailed Lemurs and the Meerkats have been recent additions to the zoo’s residents, as well as the White Lions, so make sure you don’t miss them.

Little Penguins at Canberra Zoo
Photo by Stephen Dann, Flickr Creative Commons

The Aquarium

Visit the open ocean without even getting your feet wet, and it's probably an excellent idea, as this is where some of the most feared of the aquariums predators live; the sharks. Watch as the school of Reef Sharks swims just a short distance away, in Australia’s largest inland aquarium, holding 200,000 litres of seawater. If you’re feeling particularly brave join one of the tours where you can join the sharks for lunch, but don’t get too close to the edge when you feed them, or you’ll be the lunch!

As well as the ‘big boys’ the aquarium is also home to the ‘pretty boys’, the fish and plants of the Great Barrier Reef. The Great Barrier Reef may be a few days drive from Canberra, but at the zoo, you can experience one of the Seven Wonders of the World without the long journey. On the ground floor, you can also visit the inland rivers area, where you can come close to the inhabitants of Australia’s rivers and lakes, as well as reptiles, frogs, lizards, snakes, and alligators that also live here.

Zoo Tours

There are lots of opportunities to get involved, and one of the most common ways to do that is to take one of the zoo’s specialist tours. These do cost extra, but if you’re interested in conservation, or getting up close, this is the best way to do it.

Walk on the Wildside – Be a zookeeper for the day, and support one of the keepers as they go about their duties with some of the zoo’s larger and dangerous animals.

The W.O.W tour is a meet and greet type of tour. It's where you may get to go inside the enclosure and pat a cheetah, have morning tea with the bears or cougars, have lunch with the giraffes, hand feed sharks, cuddle an emu, and meet the tiny Tamarind monkeys, or maybe even meet and hand feed the lions and tigers. Now you can see why it’s called the W.O.W tour.

White lions at Canberra Zoo
Photo by peter_holland_australia, Flickr Creative Commons

Meet a Cheetah – The worlds fastest animal, the cheetah, is one of the friendliest big cats, and the zoo is where you actually handle one in the enclosure. A keeper is always by your side for safety, but these animals are used to human contact.

Zooventure Tour – What an experience, get to feed the animals! Hand feed giraffes, bears and tigers, yes, even the 110kg Sumatran tiger leaps up at the fence to take a piece of meat from your hands, lions too. Enter the den of the Brown Bears who will lick your hands, or watch the otters as they dive and swim to catch her lunch, or maybe you’ll be luck enough to have a python will crawl over you.

The zoo is open every day, except Christmas day between 10am and 7pm, and there’s ample free parking, so no problems on that score.

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