I have spent a lot of time at the Wellington Zoo because I grew up in this city. And I have seen it change from lions and tigers in tiny concrete cages to something way more animal friendly.
Back in my day we had pony cart rides, elephant rides, and gondola rides. Yes, that is right, gondola ride around the duck pond. Someone had donated a genuine gondola and lo - a gondolier who had fetched up in Wellington volunteered.
Me - I loved and was terrified of the elephant ride in equal measures. As you lined up to clamber onto the howdah the elephant would insinuate her trunk among the line of kids looking for a mintie. And then the strange lurch lurch lurch as around you went. And her bristly back and strong smell.
"It smells like the elephant house," was a family saying.
Anyway that is all in the past.
I had Australians visiting me and they wanted to see a kiwi so we off to the zoo. And we lucked out and caught the special presentation of a one legged kiwi. He lost one leg in a trap, poor thing, but he gets around fine and is now the star of the show.
So, you know, it is a pleasant place to visit now.
Check out the animals @ Wellington Zoo, the oldest zoo in NZ (almost 100 years old), from endangered species to NZ native wild life. It provides natural habitat environment for all the animals. The zoo is also actively involved in international captive breeding programmes for both native & exotic endangered species.
The zoo opens daily from 9:30am - 5pm, except Christmas Day. There are keeper / guide talks of different animals starting from 10am daily. Check the Zoo entrance board for locations & time.
Prices (detailed prices available on their website):
NZD$5 Children (age 3-16)
Wellington Zoo is small, but superbly located on the slope of a forested hill. The chimpanzees have a fabulous view from their enclosure, as you can see in the photo.
The reason why this little zoo is a must visit place though is the Kiwi house. It has to be the best in the country (or at least the best I've ever been in). The kiwi are actually running around loose in there. Walk slowly and be quiet and they will appear in the darkness. We couldn't believe it when one ran across the path in front of us. Where was the glass?! It was also the first time I've heard Kiwi sqwaking. They seemed very happy as we watched them drinking from a little dish in the ferns. Brilliant!
No elephants or hippos at the zoo, but well worth a visit anyway.
Nice place to bring a picnic lunch.
Here's me posing with one of the zebras.