Back to nature
Taronga is a zoo which offers wonderful interactive opportunities. In the Backyard to Bush exhibit your kids will set out to explore a couple of ordinary-looking houses and find a worm farm, a frog pond, a possum box, pet lizards and farmyard animals. They’ll let out squeals as they discover slugs in the letter box, mice in the walls, cockroaches under the sink and ants in the sugar bowl. Through playing around, patting the animals, smelling the fragrant plants, exploring a giant underground 'wombat burrow’, your kids will discover many ways to live in harmony with the environment.
Bradleys Head Rd, Mosman; (02) 9969 2777
■ The free-flight bird show and the seal show. Be there early for a good view, as seats start to fill 45 minutes before the shows begin.
Taronga, along with other zoos and wildlife parks, runs insurance breeding programs for endangered animals to make sure they do not disappear entirely. One of the animals on this program is the Tasmanian devil, the largest surviving carnivorous marsupial in the world. The devils eat small mammals, including wallabies, devouring bones, fur and all with their powerful teeth and jaws. Early European settlers eliminated large numbers of Tasmanian devils using traps and poison because they feared the animals were taking their lambs. Now, due to the spread of Devils Facial Tumour Disease, Tasmanian devils are vanishing from the wild altogether.
■ Check the website before you go. You can download a map (also available at the entrance), find out the times for the keeper talks, animal feeding and special shows, and plan your visit in advance.