A trip to Melbourne Zoo done right takes a whole day, writes Time Out. That day should include a visit to the zoo's largest exhibit, the majestic Wild Sea, "where penguins and seals bask on land before slipping into clear waters and showcasing their elegant aquatic skills." Don't miss the sprawling Orang-utan Sanctuary, "where a family of beautiful, intelligent orang-utans swing from tree to tree, play with each other and feed high off the ground," or animals including lions, lemurs, meerkats, butterflies and native animals. "You can take all your own food and find plenty of prime spots to picnic around the zoo, why not lunch with the lions or perch for a snack in the bird enclosure?" asks Mamma Knows North.
Mansfield Zoo is "pretty much everything you would expect from a country zoo," says Mamma Knows East. A three-hour drive from Melbourne, it has camels, deer, roos, dingos and lions and "you can hand feed the animals and get to know some furry friends without massive crowds." The best time to plan a visit is based on the 1:30pm lion feeding time on weekends, public and school holidays, notes Mamma Knows East.
Kids can go on safari at Werribee Open Range Zoo, a 40-minute drive from Melbourne, reports Together We Roam. You can take a bus journey through the African grasslands: "zebra, rhino and giraffe can be seen up close as the friendly driver provides an interesting educational commentary." The zoo is also home to several endangered species, including Przewalski's Horse, once found roaming Western Mongolia (only 50 remain in the wild), the Addax, large white antelope with only 300 remaining in the wild, and the very rare Scmitar-horned Oryx, now "extinct in the wild" and only seen in captivity.
And here's The Melbourne Kid's guide to zoos, farms and wildlife.