My best friend lives in Canberra so we often do the drive down from Sydney to the nation’s capital. However, now that we have Miss Olivia in tow, our Canberra visits have gone from long lunches and wine tasting to a much more family friendly affair. We are always looking for new things to do and so for our most recent trip last weekend, we were lucky enough to get tickets to go along to the National Zoo and Aquarium for a day with the animals.

Now it’s been 17 years since I paid a visit to any zoo so it is safe to say that I didn’t have much of a comparison measure or any expectations really. So I went in with an open mind, ready to snap lots of photos of the animals and hope that Olivia enjoyed the experience. A happy baby makes life so much easier!

The first animal that really took my breath away were the Snow Lions. There were four that we could see, resting in the shade on what was a scorching hot Canberra day. I was in awe of how truly regal these guys were. It is no wonder they call them the Kings of the Jungle.

national zoo canberra snow lionsHubby is a bit of a penguin fan so he was happy to find Canberra National Zoo has a pair of cute Little (Fairy) Penguins. They dove in and out of the water racing along the length of their pool, almost showing off to everyone. Very very cute.

national zoo canberra little penguinAfter watching Meerkat Manor, I became a bit of a Meerkat fan and stood outside their enclosure for a good 15 minutes, watching them scurry around and pose for the camera. This guy jumped up on the rock almost inviting me to take photos of him as he changed poses so I could get the best angle.

national zoo canberra meerkatThe animal that really took me by surprise was the Giraffe. We arrived at lunchtime for this guy and he was making his keeper work hard for his money! He walked in front of the crowd which such graceful steps and even stopped for a little scratch on the tree. I was amazed that an animal so large could move so elegantly.

national zoo canberra giraffe There was quite a bit of construction happening around the zoo while we were there and then I spotted this sign. Looks exciting – the chance to sleep amongst the animals. I’ll stay tuned to this one!

National zoo Canberra accommodation

I have a few tips if you are planning a trip to National Zoo Canberra.

  1. It is quite open around the enclosures so make sure you pack sunscreen, hats, water etc. There are some shady spots scattered throughout the zoo where you can stop to rest and have a bite to eat.
  2. If you have a DSLR make sure to pack a longer zoom lens if you have one. I left mine at the hotel and was kicking myself when I arrived!
  3. It gets quite busy so arrive early to avoid the crowds. The zoo is located quite close to the centre of Canberra and only took us about 10 minutes to drive there.
  4. There were quite a few shows and talks on throughout the day we were there and we should have taken a few minutes when we arrived to plan our visit so we could fit a few more in. We saw a couple but there were a few we missed that we would have enjoyed.
  5. Wear comfortable shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty! I wore thongs and had the dirtiest feet when we got home as a lot of the ground covering is dirt. It might not bother you but I hate having dirty feet! I should have worn sneakers.

You can find out more about the National Zoo and Aquarium on their website. I highly recommend a visit if you are making the trip to Canberra.