Melbourne Zoo

Little Penguins
Little Penguins

Melbourne Zoo has the largest variety of animals of the zoos in Victoria. The zoo is easy to negotiate and a great place to visit for people of all ages. It is located within Melbourne’s inner suburbs near several public transport options, making it very easy to get to if you are staying in or close to the city.

I recommend allotting a full day to explore the zoo so you can visit each of the animal enclosures at a steady pace. There is quite a lot to see, but you can explore the whole zoo in a day if you move with intent.


Melbourne Zoo is home to more than 300 species from all over the world. Asian Elephants, Seals, Gorillas, Red Pandas, Orangutans, Sumatran Tiger, Bear, Big Cats and so many more. The zoo also has an Australian Bush section with native Aussie animals, including kangaroos, emus and wombats.

Zoo Highlights

ButterflyButterfly House

Open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

A tropical glasshouse with hundreds of butterflies that fly around. If you stand still, you will be covered with butterflies. It is a magical experience. Wear bright colors to attract the butterflies. But be sure to check your whole body and any bags for escapees trying to tag along as you leave.

The glasshouse is kept at 60-70% humidity to mimic the butterflies’ homes in tropical Queensland and the northern territory. And the butterflies are most active when humidity is high.


Wild Sea

Open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

This section features animals of Victoria’s coast and ocean: Little Penguins and Australian Fur Seals, seahorses, fish and more. You are able to see the animals’ habitats from above and below the water’s surface.

The section below the surface is absolutely stunning, and it is mesmerizing to watch the seals swimming round and round as they dive through the five-meter-deep pool. The pool also serves as a beautiful blue backdrop for some awesome photos. Free guided tours are available from volunteer guides.

LionLion Gorge

Open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The gorge has large windows that reach to the floor, allowing you to get an unimpeded view of the lions. You can really come face-to-face with these fearsome creatures, assuming they come near the windows.

The gorge is home to three lion brothers as well as African Wild Dogs and the Philippines Crocodile. You can watch the lions consume lunch during their daily feeding at 1:20 p.m.

OrangutanOrangutan Sanctuary

Open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Visit orangutans at their level in their home among treetops. The structure has a large window where the primates enjoy watching you as you watch them. You can look into their eyes and see that they are intelligent beings.

Walk along the boardwalk and see the orangutans that are out swinging, climbing and feeding. There is also a section about how orangutans feed, which allows you to use a stick to try to move an object between a vertical maze, much like orangutans have to when foraging for food in the wild.

Wild Encounters

You can book up close encounters with different animals at Melbourne Zoo if you want a more in-depth experience. Some encounters include behind the scenes with gorillas, tigers or elephants. Or you can opt for a close-up encounter and take some photographs (professional photographs are available for purchase or take your own) with a variety of animals, including lemurs, giraffes, kangaroos, seals and more. You can even stay overnight with the Roar ’n’ Snore option. Prices and timing for each wild encounter varies, so be sure to check the website for more information.


Meet the Keeper

The zoo offers daily zookeeper talks between 10:30 a.m and 3:30 p.m. Keepers for different animals give presentations about the care for their species as well as conservation work being done. There are several talks throughout the day, so be sure to check the schedule to plan when you want to sit in on one of the talks.

High Tea

This classy affair is held at least one Sunday each month in the Rainforest Room. High Tea includes a buffet with tea and coffee and one hour access to Melbourne Zoo prior to High Tea at 2 p.m. Bookings are required and spots can sell out quickly. Tickets are $71 per person ($79 with a glass of sparkling wine) and $36 for children 4-15 years old plus booking fees. Zoo members receive a discount. Check the site for dates.

Zoo Twilights

This summer concert series allows you to enjoy local and international bands each Friday and Saturday night. You can bring your own food to the event, but any alcohol must be purchased at the zoo. They also have food options available if you’d prefer to purchase snacks and meals there. Zoo Twilights guests are also given the benefit of exclusive access to the animal exhibits from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Proceeds from the event go to help fighting against wildlife extinction. Check out dates and acts.

Check out more upcoming events to see what else you can get out of your Melbourne Zoo experience.


You’ll get a map on arrival, but check out the map before you go to familiarize yourself with the layout and plan your best route.
And make sure you know how to get to the zoo.


Melbourne Zoo is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day. The animal areas close at 4:30 p.m.

Read More

Visit the Melbourne Zoo website to get even more information about the zoo.
Do you love animals? Explore the other zoos in Victoria.


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