The Werribee Zoo in Melbourne is a fantastic, open range zoo that makes for a great day out for families. Read on for great family-friendly tips from a mum who’s been there and loved it!
This is a guest post from our friends at Families Magazine & Families Online. You can find out more about things to do with kids in Brisbane, Ipswich, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Toowoomba on the Families website.
What will we see at the Werribee Zoo?
The zoo is known for its African animals and its open range style. It is well laid out and clearly marked with maps and sign posts so you can easily navigate the walking trails. The most popular enclosure is the gorillas, who are housed at the front of the zoo and first animals you encounter upon entry. They are impressive and worth a good few minutes of your time!
You will also get a good look at monkeys, cheetahs, hippos, lions and more on the walking trails throughout the African section of the zoo.
Families Tip: Head straight for the lions if the baby cubs are out in the morning as they only are available to see for a limited time!
Werribee Zoo Safari Tour
As part of your entry price, you will receive a ‘Safari Tour’ that will drive you around the ‘open plains’. This is great fun for the kids to have a ‘ride’ on the long bus and get much closer to the zebra, giraffes, onyx and rhinos. The commentary is excellent too, so parents will get some really lovely insight into how the zoo is run and how the animals are cared for!
Families Tip: There are NO bad seats in this bus.
Playgrounds in the Zoo
The kids were thrilled to see multiple sandpits, rope bridges, playgrounds and things to climb on throughout the whole zoo. When the adults stopped for ‘a bit too long’ to read the information about an animal or consider the way the monkeys interacted with each other, the smaller monkeys (the ones we brought with us) enjoyed climbing and playing on the ‘pit-stops’ designed for such occasions. This zoo has thought of everything!
The Ranger Centre is awesome!
There were a couple of highlights for our kids at the zoo and the Ranger Centre was the first one. Chocked full of ‘let’s pretend’ fun for kids including dress-ups, field hospital, feeding stations and a HELICOPTER for the kids to sit in, this part of the zoo is a must see!
Families Tip: Don’t let the kids know about this centre until after you have done a bit of walking and looked at the animals, lest you will never … get … them … out of here! (And it is air-conditioned too, so lovely on hot days for a sit-down break for adults!)
The Australian section of the zoo has a surprising discovery!
After you have done the African section and the safari tour and the Ranger Centre, head on down to the Australian section of the zoo. It’s another walking part of the zoo where you can see several our famous Australian animals – kangaroos, koalas and lots of sleeping animals in the nocturnal house.
The surprise in this section of the zoo is the woolshed. Take the kids in for a look and encourage them to try the ropes to slide the ‘gates’ up and down – then take a seat for 30 minutes or so… they will climb over the gates and walls, open and close the gates, pull on the ropes and let them go, and climb back over again. We watched astounded by the fun that this space created for all the kids that came in to see it. Super and unexpected fun in the woolshed!
Watch this video we’ve put together for you to get a great idea of everything that awaits you at Werribee Zoo… or just because of the super cute meerkat footage!
Food options at the Werribee Zoo – The Meerkat Bistro & Kiosk
At some point you will probably want to stop for morning tea, lunch and or afternoon tea, depending on the length of your day trip. The Meerkat Bistro located at the entrance and is not cheap. The Meerkat Kiosk is also a bit on the pricey side, but they do allow you to bring your own food, which we didn’t do (poor planning), so we did eat at the kiosk.
Families Tip: There are also little snack stands located at intervals around the zoo.
What else do we need to know?
At the time of writing this article kids aged 0 – 3 receive free entry at all times to the zoo. On top of that kids aged 4 – 15 go FREE into zoos in Victoria on weekends and holidays. Find out more about zoo prices on the Zoos Victoria website.
Where is the Werribee Zoo? Use these directions
Werribee Open Range Zoo is an African themed zoo in Werribee, about 32 kilometres south-west of Melbourne’s city centre on the Princes Freeway. Plan for about a 30-minute drive from the city over the Westgate Bridge or via the Geelong Road. (Take the Werribee South exit to K Road.)
The Zoo is also en route to the Great Ocean Road and is a major attraction on the Great Southern Touring Route and the Bay Tour.
The Werribee Zoo is an outstanding example of a well managed zoo with well cared for animals working hard to education families and visitors about our plant’s wildlife. It’s a fantastic day trip for you and your own little monkeys!