This is the first in what will be a monthly series exploring Sydney – attractions, events, dining, or whatever else we’ve gotten up to in the Harbour city. In addition, up at the top, you’ll see a page called The Sydney Side on which I’ve put links to all the Sydney related posts I’ve written over the last four years. It was fun to see all that we’ve done and seen in this place we’re calling home, and I hope that this series will be a great excuse to get out and explore ever more.
Our latest Sydney obsession is Taronga Zoo. It’s funny because for over half of our time here, we lived just up the road – maybe a 10 minute drive – from Taronga and yet we never went. We discussed going pre-Hushpuppy, but it’s actually a bit expensive ($46 per adult) and it seemed like we always had something we’d rather do with our $92.
I finally had incentive to go a few months ago when our friends were wrapping up their time in Sydney and checking things off the bucket list, so invited us to join them for a zoo field trip. Hushpuppy and I met up with them and their daughter and we had a wonderful day. We saw animals and the girls played in the little water park. Hushpuppy seemed to quite enjoy the large animals and was content to wander around in her stroller seeing the sights. It was a weekend, so the zoo was busy, but it is so nicely laid out that it never felt crowded. I was so impressed with the experience that I went home and told Partner-in-Crime that we should invest in annual passes.
Thankfully, I was able to convert my day pass into an annual ($115 per year), just paying the difference. There is also a discount for a second adult in the same family. Hushpuppy is free. The passes start to pay off after two visits, and let me tell you, we have more than gotten our money’s worth. We’ve gone almost every week for the past three months.
Lucky for us, we didn’t move too far away, so the zoo is still easy to access. With the passes, we feel free to just go for a couple of hours in the afternoon and explore a section, rather than seeing the whole park. It’s never busy on weekday afternoons, so we just explore leisurely.
The first animal you see when you walk in is the adorable tree kangaroo. They’re usually courteous in placing themselves in full view, and last time we were there, we even spotted a joey coming out of its mama’s pouch.
Aside from the animals, the thing that most recommends Taronga is the real estate on which it sits overlooking the Harbour. The giraffes have the best view in Sydney.
Now that we’ve been maybe a dozen times, I think perhaps we’ve seen all the exhibits, so the fun now is that you always catch the animals in different states of alertness, activity, being fed and just going about their business, so it all remains interesting. Hands down, Hushpuppy’s favorite is the elephants. For months she’s made this little elephant roar with all of her elephant toys, and now when we approach the elephant exhibit, she starts doing it as soon as she sees them. I love it, so we have to spend some quality time with the elephants at every visit.
Another favorite is the sea life exhibit. Sea lions and penguins and seals, oh my!
Taronga is so well set up for kids. It’s entirely stroller friendly and has nicely kept walkways that we’re happy to let Hushpuppy wander around on if it’s not too busy. There is a lot of green space and plenty of places to set up a little picnic lunch (no problem to bring food in or buy it there). As I mentioned, there’s a fantastic play area, including water play for hot days, which is in a section next to the sheep, goats, pigs, and turkeys – all objects of fascination to little imaginations. There’s a cute area with rabbits and guinea pigs where they do petting sessions a couple of times a day. I tried to get Hushpuppy interested, thinking she’d love to pet a little critter, but that didn’t exactly go as planned. We’ll try it again when she’s older.
Petting the animals may not be her cup of tea, but Hushpuppy does have a hands down favorite activity at the zoo: the sky rail. From below, she points excitedly at it whenever she notices a car going past and taking a ride is a good four minutes of wild excitement for her. You can see a beautiful view of the Harbour and it goes right over the elephants, so we’ve made it a fixture of our zoo visits. Who can argue with such a simple pleasure?
Our Taronga Zoo passes have definitely been one of the most worthwhile investments we’ve made in Sydney, particularly with a child. It may have taken us four years to get there, but we’re making up for lost time.
We recently got a new lens for our camera, and Partner-in-Crime spent our last visit playing National Geographic photog. I’ll leave you with a few favorite shots from his safari.