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Melbourne Zoo – tickets, prices, discounts, keeper talks, animals

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Edited by: Rekha Rajan
Fact checked by: Jamshed V Rajan


Melbourne Zoo is an opportunity to see fascinating wildlife, right in the heart of Melbourne city.

Besides the 320 species of animals Melbourne Zoo is also home to 70,000 species of plants from around the World.

It is also known as The Royal Melbourne Zoological Gardens.

In this article, we explain everything you must know before buying your Melbourne Zoo ticket.

Melbourne Zoo opening hours

Melbourne Zoo opens at 9 am and closes at 5 pm, every day of the year.

As per Victoria State’s policy, the Zoo remains open even on Christmas Day and other public holidays.

All animal areas close at 4.30 pm.

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Best time to visit Melbourne Zoo

Visiting Melbourne Zoo
Image: Zoo.org.au

The best time to visit Melbourne Zoo is as soon as they open at 9 am.

There are four advantages of starting early – the animals are most active early in the morning, the temperatures are still moderate, the crowd is yet to get in and you have the whole day to explore.

We recommend weekdays for a peaceful visit because it gets crowded on weekends and school holidays.

If you reach the Melbourne Zoo during peak times, you will see the same people in the line to buy entry tickets, at the animal exhibits, during keeper talk sessions, and the restaurants.

Best Months: From a weather perspective, it is best to visit the Melbourne Zoo from May to August.

Important: When you buy Melbourne Zoo tickets online, you can skip the long lines and walk in.

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Melbourne Zoo ticket prices

The cost of a regular Melbourne Zoo adult ticket (16+ years) is A$ 40.

If you are visiting with kids, Melbourne Zoo prices end up being cheaper because kids get the biggest of discounts.

Melbourne Zoo discount

Kids three years and below get 100% discount at Melbourne Zoo – they enter for free.

The best discount, however, is reserved for kids aged 4 to 15 years.

On weekdays, they get a 50% discount on the adult ticket price and thus kids ticket is priced at A$ 20.

And on weekends, Victorian Public Holidays and Victorian Government school holidays kids can enter the Melbourne Zoo for free.

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Melbourne Zoo tickets

Melbourne Zoo ticket

Melbourne Zoo is now open, but everyone must book their tickets online before visiting. Ticket counters at the venue are closed. 

To ensure social distancing, the Zoo has a restriction of 2,500 visitors per day, so you must book tickets much in advance.

The zoo offers three kinds of experiences:

– Regular Zoo Entry
– Zoo entry + Kangaroo encounter
– VIP entry, early in the morning

Regular Melbourne Zoo tickets

This ticket is the cheapest and the most popular Melbourne Zoo entry ticket.

It is also known as the one-day general admission ticket and more than 90% of the visitors go for this option.

You get to see all the animals from around the world at your own pace and attend the ZooKeeper talks and presentations.

Ticket prices

Adult ticket (16+ years): A$ 40
Child ticket (4 to 15 years): A$ 20*

*This price is applicable on weekdays. On weekends, public holidays and school holidays the kids enter for free.

Click on website of your choice to purchase the Melbourne Zoo entry ticket.

VIP early morning tour of Melbourne Zoo

This 45-minute VIP tour gives you exclusive early morning access of the Melbourne Zoo before its gates open to the general public.

This experience is also known as the Australian Wildlife Tour at Melbourne Zoo.

During this small group tour led by a Zoo Ranger, you also get a chance to feed the Kangaroos and listen to their passionate keepers.

After the 45 minutes VIP tour, you are free to explore the zoo on your own.

Per person ticket price: A$ 45

Tip: If you want something wilder, check out this Koalas and Kangaroo in the Wild Tour

Melbourne Zoo entrance + Kangaroo encounter

This experience is temporarily suspended because of Covid-19.

Besides the regular Melbourne Zoo admission this ticket also gets you an up-close encounter with a mob of kangaroos.

During the 15-minutes encounter with the Kangaroos, you also get to learn about these social animals from their keepers.

These tickets are in demand, so it is best to book your encounter online, well before your visit.

Ticket prices

Adult ticket (16+ years): A$ 70
Child ticket (1 to 15 years): A$ 51

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How to reach Melbourne Zoo

Melbourne Zoo is in Royal Park, which is only 10 minutes North of the City Centre.

From the Melbourne Airport, the Zoo is 18 Kms (11 Miles) away and a quick 20 minutes drive can help you reach there.

Melbourne Zoo’s Address: Elliot Ave, Parkville VIC 3052, Melbourne, Australia.

Get Directions

By Tram

If you prefer taking the Tram to reach the Melbourne Zoo, you must board Tram #58 which runs the route from Toorak to West Coburg.

You can get onto the Tram from William Street in the City Centre and get down at Stop 26, which is right in front of the Melbourne Zoo.

The travel time is 18 minutes.

Train to Melbourne Zoo

Depending on where you are starting from, you need to take different trains to reach the Melbourne Zoo.

From within Melbourne

Royal Park Station on the Upfield railway line is the closest train station to Melbourne Zoo.

Royal Park Station to Melbourne Zoo

If you prefer a train ride to get to Melbourne Zoo from within the city, board a train from Flinders Street station, which is also on Upfield line, and get to Royal Park Station.

Traveling from Regional Victoria

V/Line trains are regional public transport trains for Victoria state.

You can catch a V/Line train from all the big cities and towns of Victoria.  

Find out the nearest V/Line station and take a train to Southern Cross Station.

From the Southern Cross Station, you must get on to another train going towards Upfield.

Four stations and 10 minutes later, you will reach Royal Park Station.

A quick 100 meters’ walk can get you to the Melbourne Zoo.

By Bus

Board Route 505 bus to reach the Melbourne Zoo.

The bus covers the route from Moonee Ponds to Melbourne University.

Melbourne Zoo parking

If you plan to drive down to the Melbourne Zoo, we recommend you start early, or choose a non-peak period for your visit.

There is limited parking space during school and public holidays.

A five-hour parking ticket will cost you 2 AUD.

Make sure you display the ticket correctly on your dashboard because Melbourne city’s parking officers regularly patrol the area.

By Hop-On-Hop-Off Sightseeing Bus

If you have booked a Hop-on-Hop-off Sightseeing bus in Melbourne, you can use that to reach the Zoo as well.

Since the HOHO bus makes ten trips per day, you have flexibility on your visit timing as well.

You can get onto the bus at multiple locations throughout the city, including Federation Square and Carlton.

Once you are done exploring the Melbourne Zoo, you can catch the Hop-on-Hop-off bus from the Zoo’s main entrance on Elliott Avenue to get back.

Haven’t booked a bus tour of Melbourne yet? Check out this Sightseeing bus + Melbourne Zoo combo ticket.

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How long does Melbourne Zoo take

If you and your kids love to participate in Zoo activities, keeper talks, etc. your tour of Melbourne Zoo can last anywhere from four to six hours.

A quick stroll across the 3 Kms (1.9 Miles) of the exploratory area of Melbourne Zoo takes approximately 45 minutes.

We present below three routes you can follow depending on the time you have.

Express Route

If you are in a hurry, this is the perfect map to follow because you will be able to finish your exploration in an hour.

Discovery Route

If you have at least two hours, this is the perfect Melbourne Zoo itinerary to follow.

If you follow this route, in the two hours needed, you will see the trail of the elephants, rainforest animals, and the Wild Sea.

Complete Route

If you are visiting the Melbourne Zoo with your kids or have all the time in the World, we recommend you follow this path.

You get to see every exhibit there is in this Australian Zoo.

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Melbourne Zoo animals

The Melbourne Zoo has more than 300 species of animals, and some of them are more popular than the others.

Melbourne Zoo Gorilla

Gorillas at Melbourne Zoo
Image: Zoo.org.au

The Western Lowland Gorillas are one of the most famous exhibits at the Melbourne Zoo.

At this Australian Zoo, you can see four of them – three females named Yuska, Kanzi, and Kimya and one male Gorilla named Otana.

If you want intimate details about these Gorillas, be at the Keeper Talk scheduled daily at 12.30 pm.

Melbourne Zoo Elephants

Don’t miss out on seeing the Asian Elephants at the Melbourne Zoo.

These elephants can roam around and forage on the award-winning Trail of the Elephants, which allows them to walk between 6.21 km to 15 km in a day.

Keep aside some time for the Elephant-keeper talk at 11 am.

Melbourne Zoo Koala

Koalas are one of the most adorable Australian species at the Melbourne Zoo.

The Koala Keeper show scheduled at 10.30 am daily, is one of the most popular Keeper talks.

Melbourne Zoo Kangaroo

You can’t be visiting an Australian Zoo and not see the country’s most iconic animal, i.e., the Kangaroo.

The Kangaroo Island Mob (Kangaroos live in mobs with a dominant male as their leader) at the Melbourne Zoo attract a lot of visitors.

If you prefer a close-up encounter with the Kangaroo book much in advance, for the limited slots, fill up fast. Book Kangaroo encounter

Melbourne Zoo Tiger

Tigers in Melbourne Zoo
Image: Zoo.org.au

Melbourne Zoo is one of the many Zoos worldwide trying their best to bring the Tigers to their past glory.

Kids especially love this endangered species.

Tiger Keeper talks are organized at 3.20 pm every day.

Melbourne Zoo Tortoise

Aldabra Giant Tortoises are classified as vulnerable and are the only remaining giant tortoise species still surviving in the wild.

They can even grow to over 1 meter (3.2 feet) in length and weigh up to 250 Kgs (550 pounds). Females weigh less at 150 Kgs (330 Pounds).

These tortoises are quite popular with kids, which is why the 10.40 am keeper talk gets crowded.

Melbourne Zoo Lion

Lions at Melbourne Zoo
Image: Zoo.org.au

Lions in the Melbourne Zoo are a sight to behold.

If you want to know more about these fantastic creatures and their daily activities, do not miss the Lion Keeper talk at 12.30 pm.

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Keeper Talks at Melbourne Zoo

Melbourne Zoo Keeper talks
Image: Zoo.org.au

Some species of animals in the Melbourne Zoo are taken care of by their respective keepers.

These keepers are responsible for feeding them and providing them with any additional care as and when required.

Every day, these Zoo keepers share their knowledge and experience at a pre-determined time, which are also known as Keeper Talks.

During your visit, make sure you watch at least a few of these Keeper talks for a more immersing experience.

The talks are hosted daily and are completely free.

Penguin Keeper Talk

Aldabra Giant Tortoise Keeper Talk

Elephant Keeper Talk

Snow Leopard Keeper Talk

Baboon Keeper Talk

Gorilla Keeper Talk

Tiger Keeper Talk

Seal Keeper Talk

Melbourne Zoo Keeper talk timings

Koalas10.30 am
Giant Tortoises10.40 am
Baboons11 am
Elephants11 am
Giraffe11.30 am
Seals11.30 am
Orangutans12 pm
Gorillas12.30 pm
Lions12.30 pm
Meerkats1 pm
Elephants2 pm
Tigers3.20 pm
Penguins3.45 pm

Most popular: Penguin keeper’s talk at 3:45 pm and Koala keeper’s speech at 10:30 am get crowded.

Keeper Kids Playspace

If your kid loves being around animals, Keeper Kids Playspace is a unique opportunity to get closer to nature.

The Playspace offers a range of fun activities which help the kids connect with the natural world through imagination and games.

In a few hours, kids learn what it takes to work at the Zoo, what the different animals eat, and even prepare mock meals for their favorite animals.

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Melbourne Zoo FAQs

Tourists planning a visit to the Melbourne Zoo have a lot of questions about the tickets, entry passes, and memberships.

We answer them here –

  1. How much does the Melbourne Zoo family pass cost?

    The price of the Family Pass depends on the opted combination.
    Two adults and two children: A$ 93
    Two adults and three children: A$ 102.50
    Two adults and four children: A$ 112
    Two adults and five children: A$ 121.50
    Family passes are available only on weekdays except for Victorian Public holidays and Victorian Government school holidays.

  2. Is Melbourne Zoo free for kids?

    Kids three years and below can enter the Melbourne Zoo for free all through the year.
    The Melbourne Zoo allows free entry to kids from 4 to 15 years on weekends, Victorian Public Holidays and Victorian Government School Holidays.
    If you have availed the Zoo membership, then the entry for kids aged  4 to 15 years is free all year through. Buy your tickets now!

  3. What is Melbourne Zoo membership and how much does it cost?

    Melbourne Zoo membership includes unlimited entry to three Zoos – the Melbourne Zoo, Werribee Zoo, and Healesville Sanctuary.
    Kids register for the membership for free. Yes, that’s right – only the adults have to pay.
    Adults Membership: A$ 114
    Seniors Membership: A$ 105
    Concession Membership: A$ 93*

    *This rate applies to Australian pensioners, full-time student, disabled individuals, etc.

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Melbourne Zoo map

It is best to have a copy of the Melbourne Zoo map with you to easily navigate the various exhibits and other interactive sessions the zoo has to offer.

Besides the animal enclosures, a map also helps you identify visitor services such as restaurants, restrooms, souvenir shops, etc.

Carrying the Melbourne Zoo’s layout is even more necessary if you are traveling with kids because you won’t waste your time finding the various exhibits, and in the process get exhausted.

Download Melbourne Zoo’s map

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Food at Melbourne Zoo

Melbourne Zoo has several good quality and hygienic food options.

However, they tend to be a bit expensive.

On peak days, these restaurants also witness long queues.

To avoid the rush at these restaurants and to make your trip cost effective, it is best to get your snacks and drinks.

You can also bring a blanket and enjoy an excellent picnic with your family and friends wherever and whenever it suits you. 

Restaurants at Melbourne Zoo

This Australian Zoo has eight different restaurants and cafes.

Lakeside Cafe: Enjoy amazing a la carte dining in the Lakeside Cafe with a variety of vegan dishes alongside mouthwatering chefs specials.

Giraffe Lookout Cafe: Get to taste some of the best hot wraps and spicy BBQ Kransky while gazing at the giraffes from the Giraffe Lookout Cafe.

Elephant Kiosk: Don’t miss out on the opportunity to explore South Asian inspired cuisine at the famous Elephant Kiosk.

Zoo Bakery: If you are in the mood for some fresh hot pastries and sweet bakery treats, go no further than the Zoo Bakery located in the Zoo.

Meerkat Manor Cafe: If you feel like enjoying light snacks with the family, stop at the Meerkat Manor Cafe for some sandwiches and coffee.

Macaw Takeaway: In here you get some of the best burgers, fish and hot chips.

Macaw Pizza: Mouth-watering Pizza served with a scoop of ice-cream is a perfect combination for the kids.

Wild Dogs: The Wild Dogs serves the best Sandwiches and snacks with coffee while you rest and rejuvenate.

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Melbourne Zoo high tea

Melbourne Zoo hosts a delicious high tea on one Sunday each month and fortnightly during winters.

The package includes a selection of sweet and savory items along with tea and coffee as well as one hour of free access to the Zoo before the start of High Tea at 1.30 pm.

The High Tea happens at the famous Rainforest Room of the Melbourne Zoo.

If you are a Member of the Zoo, you pay less for the High Tea experience.

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Roar and Snore at Melbourne Zoo

Roar and Snore is a unique camping opportunity where one spends the night at the Melbourne Zoo.

After a tour of the Zoo to see the nocturnal creatures, you wine and dine listening to your camp host’s animal stories.

After the night’s activities, you retire for a good night’s sleep in your tent and wake up to have up-close interactions with the keepers.

After the keeper and animal sessions, you get to explore the Zoo all over again the next day.

# Puffing Billy
# Melbourne Aquarium
# Werribee Zoo
# Eureka Skydeck

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3 thoughts on “Melbourne Zoo – tickets, prices, discounts, keeper talks, animals”

  1. I have a very high passion for animals and my favorites are the lions, tigers,rhinos, zebras, actually I love them all.
    I’m handicapped and I want to visit Australia in the near future.
    Is the zoo handicapped accessible? Along with the restaurants?
    My wish is to work with the animals one day only if I can find a zoo that will hire me.
    Hope to hear from you soon. Cheers

    • Hi,
      I answered your inquiry below about jobs, but forgot to say YES, the zoos are handicap accessible and I’ve seen that wheelchairs are available for use during the visit. Check with each specific zoo’s website for more details. But calling is always helpful because they can provide you answers to more questions you might have that relate to your own situation for your future visit. Cheers!

  2. I would look at any of the Zoo’s hiring page info on their websites. I myself don’t work for the zoo, and this page here (theBetterVacation.com) is only a travel guide’s blog with very useful assistance for the various places she has visited around the world.
    I have seen that the Australia Zoo (the Irwins) does make a point of saying that they hire those with disabilities…so that might be a good place to start a search.

    Contact the HR dept and ask about opportunities that might be available working in any capacity there to get yourself the chance to meet staff and learn more.
    Covid pandemic may impact jobs, but that won’t last forever!

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