Today was a cool exception to the furnace-like heat of Canberra in summertime which meant it was a great day to head to the National Zoo and Aquarium.
The aquarium is quite small and the zoo is moderately sized which is a good thing for little legs. Our 19 month old was able to walk the entire zoo herself with a couple of rest stops along the way. There is plenty to see and you can get up nice and close to lots of the animals. There are ramps which are good if you have a pram and also plenty of shade to make walking around quite pleasant.
One thing I really like about the zoo is the option to bring your own food – there are BBQ areas and plenty of shady seating to have a picnic lunch. There’s also a café onsite which has a small range of pies, quiche, sandwiches and wraps if you prefer and it offers a front row view of some of the zoo’s residents.
Another positive is that many of the staff were stopping and speaking with visitors about the animals. They seemed to really love being there and wanted to share stories about the different animals and their personalities which added a nice personal touch.
For visitors from overseas (or anyone who loves Australian animals) there is a walkthrough area where you can get really close to wallabies, emus, Tasmanian devils and kangaroos. We were also lucky to get pretty close to a koala.
Overall, a couple of hours is more than enough to see everything although you could stretch this out with lunch and some of the feedings and other experiences on offer if you wanted to get more bang for your buck. A new open range zoo is partially open and more is on the way so this should improve the amount there is to see and do.
Be prepared for the zoo not being huge. Ultimately, I guess the experience is what you make it and based on the smile on my daughter’s face, I’d say a visit to the National Zoo and Aquarium is worth it.
For out of town visitors, you could combine a zoo visit with the National Arboretum which is just down the road and has some really pleasant walking trails and a pretty amazing playground to make a day of being in this part of Canberra. Alternatively, if you have a bit of cash to spare, you could stay at Jamala Wildlife Lodge where you can choose which animals you would like to share your stay with. Check out what TripAdvisor users think of it here.
There is plenty of parking on-site and it is FREE!
If you don’t have a car, buses 81 and 981 from the city stop at the zoo and also a number of other attractions.
Adult entry is $40, children 4-15 are $23 and kids under 4 are free. For a full list of prices and other attractions including animal feeds, private tours, parties and accommodation, click here.
Easy to get with around ramps and free picnic and BBQ areas.