New Zealand’s largest collection of animals, both native and exotic, can be found at the Auckland Zoo. Home to over 800 animals of 135 different species creates a memorable experience for locals and tourist alike. There were plenty of animals I had never seen before having only recently moved to the Southern Hemisphere at the time of our visit.
The zoo offered a few different behind the scenes options; however, the entrance fee was a bit steep to add-on these additional fees. For example, the Galápagos Tortoise experience included trainer insights about these remarkable creatures and a shell touch. The $75 per person price tag and age minimum of 5 prevented us from doing it though.
The Auckland Zoo takes a hands on approach with their animals often in the cages with them during the feeding times or even walking them around the zoo. I did not know you could take a cheetah out for a walk and not be eaten but here at the Auckland Zoo the cheetahs enjoy daily zoo walks with their trainers.
The elephant show was a highlight for us during the visit. I had never seen trainers interact and do enrichments with the elephants before. The previous zoo ventures had large enclosures with the elephants often far away. The kids were typically not too fussed with seeing them for this reason.
The bleacher area outside the enclosure made a perfect spot to enjoy our lunch before the talk. The trainer went into detail about the Asian elephants body, zoo care and demonstrated their movement capabilities. The elephants also enjoy walks around the other enclosures and even into the zoo’s forested areas.
The giraffes were seen grazing below in an exhibit that included zebras and ostriches.
The Sumatran tigers were sleepy while we were there and nearly missed seeing this one lying behind the tree. I guess you would have to come in the evening if you want to see them in action.
The hamadryads baboons provided a little more entertainment with several little ones climbing around on the sticks.
The zoo is nicely landscaped with lots of beautiful plants and water displays both in the enclosures and along the walkway. I did not feel like we were in a typical zoo with mostly concrete except for the exhibit areas. There was ample shade and beautiful scenery situated all around the zoo.
Several of the aviary enclosures allow for visitor entrance so you can walk among the birds flying overhead or walking along the footpath. Here you can find several New Zealand native birds like the Kea and red-crowned kākāriki. There are also many exotic birds dispersed around the zoo taking into count their environment needs.
New Zealand has some truly unique birds like the flightless Kiwi and can be seen digging around in the dark of their enclosure. These nocturnal animals are very timid so you must be careful not to spook them which means no photography or videos.
There is another enclosure that allows zoo visitors to walk along a path between some of the tame emus and wallabies. The girls were able to get an up-close look thanks to a curious emu.
The last area I wanted to highlight is a family favorite. The little penguins are precious and we have only seen them one other time during our trip to the National Aquarium of New Zealand.
The zoo sits on 40 acres of land so bring your walking shoes. I only highlighted a few of my favorite areas from our day trip but there are plenty more worth seeing.
Watch out for the photo trap on the way out. I have a hard time turning down already printed photos of my family especially when we get so few all together. They are a bit on the cheesy side though!