Western Plains Zoo

Imagine your kids’ faces as a giraffe leans towards them, long tongue lolling, and eats right out of their hands. At this wonderfully interactive zoo you can feed giraffes, shake paws with kangaroos, pat a huge Galapagos tortoise and rub the tummy of a wombat. There are no cages, only natural, unobtrusive barriers, such as water or deep ravines. The zoo covers a vast area, and as you look at  elephants, rhinoceroses, and tigers roaming almost freely, and watch monkeys swinging from island to  island on the lake, you feel as if you are on an African safari not inside a zoo.

Price range

HIGH COST

Contact details

Obley Rd, Dubbo; (02) 6881 1400

Don't Miss

■ Keeper talks and feeding times – check the website to plan your visit around these. Kids especially  enjoy seeing the otters and the apes feed. Note: there is a small extra cost for the giraffe feeding.

Fabulous Facts

Western Plains Zoo is participating in the National Recovery Plan for malleefowl. These ground-nesting birds are very vulnerable to predators and habitat loss. They are also incredibly hard working.  The male malleefowl spends 10 months constructing a huge earthen nest, then in September he digs a  special chamber in it for the female to lay her eggs. Every few days she goes inside and lays an egg until she has laid as many as 35 eggs! Instead of either bird sitting on the eggs to keep them warm, the male keeps the earth nest at a constant 35 degrees Celsius for seven weeks. The chicks hatch inside  the mound and immediately have to start working hard to dig their way out!

Insider Tips

■ Ticket price includes two days’ entry, so don’t rush your visit. Watch out for special offers for free kids’ entrance to the zoo, sometimes available on the website or around the town of Dubbo.

■ The zoo is so vast you will want to drive your car around, or hire a bike or electric buggy (available  near the information centre). On a very hot day, an air-conditioned car might be the most comfortable  option; otherwise the other modes of transport are lots of fun. On busy days the buggies sell out early. Remember to bring bottles of water if you are riding bikes. 
 
■ The animals are more alert in the morning. Later in the day, especially in hot weather, many of them  laze around, seeking shade under trees or at the back of their enclosures, and might be hard to see.
 
■ If kids want a break from the animals, there’s a fun playground as well.
 
■ Bring your own picnic if you don’t want to pay the high kiosk prices.

See Also

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