Suitable for all ages
Situated in Newtown, south of Wellington’s CBD, Wellington’s zoo is home to over 60 different species of animal including chimps, baboons, big cats, sun bears, red pandas and giraffes. There’s a walk through section dedicated to Australian animals (yes, the kangaroos and emus are supposed to be free to wander!) and a ‘locals’ area, dedicated to animals found in New Zealand like the blue penguins and various farmyard animals like sheep and kunekune.
The more recent animal habitats are very interactive, either with animals freely wandering around (the sheep are generally happy to be patted in the ‘Meet the Locals’ section) and because of the information displays that are dotted around (like the area on conservation and sustainability at the zoo).
Some of the animals will be easy even for little ones to spot. If you check feeding times for your favourite animals, you’re pretty much guaranteed to see those animals. Other animals will be ‘hiding’ out of view and harder to see, like the big cats. Make sure you leave time for the kids to try to find all of the creepy crawlies at Hero HQ (including different kinds of spiders) and the reptiles in glass fronted cages near the tuck shop.
There are 2 places to buy food at the zoo; Mojos at the entrance (great if you want a takeaway coffee to take into the zoo with you, and if you go in, get the kids to check out the 2 glass fronted habitats to the side of the bar area while they’re waiting, yes they even have animals in the cafe)! This cafe has a wider choice of food than the Tuck Shop (also owned by Mojo) which is inside the zoo which seems to be limited to hot chips and ice cream. You can also take your own food and have it at one of the picnic tables that are all around the zoo or if the weather isn’t great, under cover at the Wild Theatre. This also provides a great place to shelter if there’s a passing shower during your visit.
It isn’t just the animals that kids love coming to this zoo for though, there are lots of things to play on (an old Land Rover near the giraffes, a motorbike rickshaw near the sun bears) and slides and climbing equipment at various locations. There’s also a big trampoline and small sandpit in the Australian section.
It’s not a cheap place to visit if there are a lot of you in your party but you can easily spend the best part of the day here. If you’re looking to plan your visit before you go, have a look at a zoo map here.
TOP TIP: if you think your kids will tire during your zoo visit, get the ‘big hill climb’ out of the way at the beginning by starting your walk going past the Tuck Shop and red pandas, going towards the chimpanzees. That way the other big hill between the giraffes and sun bears will be in a downwards direction at the end of your visit.
Related tagsOutside, Wellington, Wellington City
Tel: 04 381 6755
Address: 200 Daniell Street, Wellington. Free street parking is an option around the zoo with a larger free carpark at Newtown Park just next to the zoo. You can also catch the bus from the centre of Wellington to right outside the door. Check here for route maps and timetables for bus numbers 10 & 23.
Open: daily 9.30am – 5pm, closed on Christmas Day
Price: Adult $27, Kids (3-14 years) $12, Under 3s FREE. Various Family Passes available for instance $51 (1A+3K), $78 (2A+3K). See here for other discounted family pass prices.