If you’re looking for an awe-inspiring experience like no other, then look no further than a visit to Taronga Western Plains Zoo.
The Dubbo open range zoo spans 740 acres. It’s globally recognised for its commitment to conservation and it’s breeding and care programs for endangered and vulnerable species – from Asian elephants, to cheetahs, black rhinos to lions.
And kids love it.
In March 2018, the newest exhibit (and the largest single exhibit investment in the zoo’s history) opened. Lion Pride Lands is a 3.8 hectare immersive safari precinct, focused on the conservation and breeding of lions. It offers an unrivaled opportunity for families to get up close to these magnificent creatures.
Go on an adventure through the savannah in the custom built Pride Lands Patrol and marvel as the lions stalk over. They will try to get a good look at you through the floor to ceiling glass windows of the vehicle. Watch as the pride play chase along the huge glass viewing window beside the enclosure. The young lions love to play cat and mouse with smaller kids in particular, and will playfully swat at them through the glass. It’s amazing to stand so close to these apex predators with your hand pressed to the window and their fur and noses pressed to the glass, mere centimetres between you.
With a 6km circuit throughout the zoo to explore, there’s plenty of animals to see. Families will gain a deeper understanding of the huge importance of the zoo’s programs and the role we can all play in animal and environmental conservation.
Drive, cycle or hop aboard an electric cart and you can get lost in the up-close animal encounters available at every turn. If you’re keen for a once-in-a-lifetime safari experience, book a night at the onsite Zoofari Lodge.
Zoofari Lodge overlooks a paddock where giraffe, eland and zebras roam. The 15 luxurious African-style lodges provide the perfect place to watch the animals at sunrise in tranquil silence.
All who stay at the lodges are given the opportunity to participate in exclusive behind-the-scenes animal encounters not available to general visitors. Go on a night safari and watch the cheeky antics of two resident Asian elephants as they are fed their evening meal (and tussle for one another’s left overs) and then follow it up at dawn when you get to hand feed the giraffes. These experience take your breath away and leave an imprint on the kids that will last a lifetime.
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I’m not a traditional traveller. While I like to ‘see the sights’, the part I love most is getting off the beaten track and meeting locals, learning about why they love their town, wherever that may be, and seeing it through their eyes.