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“The best Australian zoo”

National Zoo and Aquarium
Ranked #9 of 236 things to do in Canberra
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: The National Zoo & Aquarium is privately owned and Australia's only combined Zoo and Aquarium.That's 2 attractions in one! We are situated on around 7 hectares of land just five minutes from the centre of Canberra. With a wide variety of both native and exotic animals, as well as the largest inland saltwater tank in Australia, there is something for everyone. Wander in and have a casual stroll around the park, or make a day of it with family, friends and make use of our picnic areas and complimentary BBQ facilities. Our Animal Encounters provide visitors with an opportunity to get up close and personal with some of the worlds most amazing creatures!
Reviewed December 1, 2012

Amazing animals, including native to Australian koala, kangaroo and ostrich. The zoo is famous of it is “big cats” cheetah, white lions, tigers and other.

A great day out!

Thank vilen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed November 22, 2012

It’s a nice, little zoo, with a modest collection of animals, and easy to get around. But where it really excels, are its animal encounters. The Meet a Cheetah Experience and the Zooventure Tour are an absolute must for animal lovers. The best thing you’ll do in Canberra!

I was given a Meet a Cheetah Experience for my birthday, and it was honestly the best thing I’ve ever done in my life. My wife and I were taken into the enclosure by two Keepers and introduced to Shasa. She lay lazily on the grass in the shade as we petted her. I was in awe as I ran my hand across her short, coarse fur. It was just incredible to be so close to such a powerful predator. More amazing still was hearing her purr as I scratched her behind the ear, which sounded more like the slow, deep growl of a large dog. The Keepers were great, making sure everyone was safe, and even taking fantastic photos with our own camera. Although the price is a little steep, it is well worth it, and a lot of the fee goes towards animal conservation. And now my wife and I are debating whether we should name our first daughter Shasa.

Several months later I got my wife the Zooventure Tour for Valentine’s Day, and it was a roaring success. A wonderfully enthusiastic Keeper guided us around the zoo, giving us interesting information about the animals and letting us feed them. I was blown away by the tiger standing up against the fence at my height, eating the meat out of the tongs I poked through the wire. The cougar was a lot more menacing about getting his piece of flesh, but it was standing within a metre of a pride of roaring white lions as they jostled each other for the next morsel that I found truly majestic. I still get a chill thinking about it now. We also got to pet a dingo, feed carrots to a pair of bickering giraffe brothers, hold a massive python in the aquarium, and toss some fish to the cheekiest otters in town. Perhaps most magical of all, was having my hand slathered in a slimy honey-fruit mixture and having a huge bear lick my fingers clean. Just a big, giant teddy bear. My wife loved it, as too did a couple of friends of mine who did it just last week.

The cost of the animal encounters includes entry to the zoo for the day, and as far as zoos go, I think it’s a really good one. It’s well laid out and the enclosures are great, and in some cases, let the animals wander between them at their leisure. Most of the animals look happy, apart from a lonely Tasmanian Devil pacing laps around his enclosure, and a Sun Bear that’s still swaying after being rescued from a cage outside a restaurant in Asia. And the goose near the cheetah enclosure is a cranky old thing, but geese are known for that.

There’s plenty of souvenir opportunities at the gift shop, but the café and BBQ area, although perfectly adequate, are a bit limited. Just adjust your expectations and you’ll be fine.

It’s a great day out. I highly recommend digging deep for one of the encounters, doing your bit for animal conservation, and having the time of your life.

2  Thank captain_beetroot
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 15, 2012

The NZ&A is privately owned and operated; maybe for this reason we had expectations that it would be fairly small and boutique. Compared to major city zoos that may be the case, but it is a great 1/2 day with the kids - the zoo is small enough to walk around easily in a few hours but full of animals including Red Panda, brown bears, jaguars, lions, zebras, giraffes, tigers, etc etc. We have always enjoyed our days out here. The attached aquarium is relatively small but nonetheless enjoyable; save it for the warmer part of the day if you are here in summer and you will appreciate the air conditioning! PS if you can't see the bears well from outside their enclosure, there is a large window from within the aquarium that you can look through directly into the other side of their enclosure - often they will sleep behind a rock and be in full view of the aquarium window.

2  Thank l0cal22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 13, 2012

A well set out small zoo with a reasonable selection of animals to view. Good aquarium as well. Average cafe which takes it down from an excellent review. I think the zoo is going to be extended which will allow more animals which will be a good thing.

1  Thank GrizzlyOz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 11, 2012

My Dad and I did the meet a cheetah experience together and it was a really cool experience. Would recommend it as a good gift for someone. We also looked around the zoo while we were there - the giraffes were my favourite!

Thank Kaylee726
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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