We love wildlife experiences so when we heard that Canberra was home to the National Zoo and Aquarium it was high on the list of attractions for us to visit.
Only a short drive from the city, Australia’s only combined zoo and aquarium is spread over 23 acres with over 2.6km of walking tracks that are all toddler and pushchair friendly. We were given a map when we arrived and the kids loved navigating their way around the Adventure Trail – a clearly signposted self guided walk around the zoo so you don’t get lost or miss anything – with loads of info points along the way.
One of the great things about the zoo is that you can see everything at your own pace – which is wonderful for the kids. There are lots of keeper talks and feedings to go and view – but the viewing areas have all been expertly designed so you can see all the animals whatever time of day you visit. We got up close to tigers, emus, giraffes, rhinos, zebras, monkeys, bears and a beautiful wombat – we were close enough to almost touch them (to be honest it was a real struggle not to reach out and cuddle the wombat he is so adorable!)
Under the sea
As well as meeting animals from the bushland, desert and Savannah – you can also go deep underwater and find majestic seahorses, coral, tropical fish, eels, sharks and more. You will also come face to face with lizards, crocodiles and giant snakes in the reptile area – we also got to stroke a very friendly corn snake in the reptile meet and greet experience (included in your entry ticket).
Our kids were too young to join any of the animal encounters – with minimum age restrictions set to protect both the children and animals. When the boys are older we’ll definitely be coming back to experience some of the magnificent creatures up close – you can had feed lions, meet a cheetah and encounter sun bears, giraffes and more – for all the info have a look at their animal encounter web page here.
Despite not being able to do any of the organised encounters – the displays were all so close to the tracks that we got to see everything up close – seeing a giraffe eating right below our feet and watching a tiger stretching right in front of our eyes.
Sleep on the wild side!
If your kids are a bit older (or you find yourself child free for a night) then you can experience a once in a lifetime overnight stay at the National Zoo – choosing from one of three 5 star accommodation options. Imagine sleeping in luxury next to some of the world’s most dangerous and endangered species – getting your own personal tour and eating gourmet food included in your stay. You can choose to stay at the Ushaka Lodge, the Giraffe Tree Houses or the Jungle Bungalows – all with their own unique wildlife experiences. For more info, to book or to buy me this for my birthday – click here.
Plan Your Visit
The National Zoo and Aquarium is open every day except Christmas Day from 9.30am – 5pm. Children under 4 go free and if you are a local or plan to visit more than once a year we would definitely recommend a membership ticket that gets you unlimited free entry for the year. You can download a map of the zoo to plan your day in advance on this link – there are also timetables for the keeper talks and animal activities for weekdays and weekends.
You can buy tickets on this link – gift vouchers are also available which would make a great Christmas or birthday present (we are big fans of experiences as presents over toys!)
Watch our video below for all the highlights – what would be your favourite animal encounter?