Is there anything more clichèd than going to Australia, buying a boomerang and wanting to see a Koala? Probably not, but it’s a cliché for a reason, and we wanted to see Koalas, damn it! So off to Wild Life Sydney Zoo at Darling Harbour we went.
I have to admit I was a bit skeptical. Wild Life Sydney Zoo is located next door to the Aquarium, and I worried that it might not be large enough to be a really humane or ethical way to see the animals. However, as we walked up the ramps , and I realized that it seems to take up the entire top floor over Madam Tussaud’s and possibly over part of the Aquarium as well, that it was much larger than I had expected. The enclosures were all reasonably sized, the animals looked healthy and well fed, and the zoologists (or whatever the appropriate title would be) were all very knowledgeable and obviously cared for their charges.
The first room we went through had butterflies, ducks, and various frogs. Cute, but not the main attraction. But the second room had several koalas! There were four koalas that we saw in that area.
Next we saw some the wallabies. Elanor thought they were kangaroos, and nothing we said convinced her otherwise. One of the highlights of the day for me was watching her trying to get the wallaby to hop along with her (see the video above). If you can’t quite make it out, she’s saying “C’mon, kangaroo…hop, hop, hop!”
We next saw the cassowary, which is apparently a dangerous bird, but all I could think of was “Kevin” from the movie “UP”.
Ellie was thoroughly unimpressed by the real kangaroos as they were just laying about in the exhibit. I’m using this picture of her with a statue because my only photo of the actual kangaroos turned out to be a bit…well…inappropriate for this audience (hint, it turns out that it’s obvious that it is a male Roo).
We walked through the “outback” enclosure, where the roos were sharing space with two baby emus who were running about. One of the emus took an interest in a toddler’s shoes (they were in a stroller), which was amusing (because it wasn’t my kid).
Next on the tour was a look at the crocodile from above. You actually get three chances to see him–from above next to the kangaroos, at level after them, and then looking up at him from the water on the way out the door.
The nocturnal area had some seriously super cute animals. The video above is of the Bilby. I couldn’t manage a good clear shot, so I elected for video instead.
From there we headed up to the Koala talk. Most of the rooms at Wildlife are connected via ramp, with this exception, as the talks happen on the roof. However, there is a handy elevator (not always a given here, I’ve learned).
We enjoyed learning more about the adorable marsupials, although we had our illusions shattered when we learned how small their brains are. After, we elected to get our photos taken with the Koalas. We were even able to pet them–their fur feels a lot like sheep’s wool.
I would honestly have a hard time picking which was more fun-the Aquarium or Wild Life.
Ellie was a bit garbled, but I think she liked Wild Life better because she got to pet a koala. Ravi also picked Wild Life because of the Koalas.
Rhiannon obviously liked the Aquarium better, but that had a lot more to do with the exhibits where fish/sharks/whatever were swimming above her, and her view is fairly limited from the car seat/stroller set up.
If you have time, I’d suggest you go to both. You get a discount for buying tickets to multiple places (we got the Aquarium, Wild Life, and the Sydney Tower for 60 each–the Aquarium was 35 on its own, to give you a sense of the discount, and kids under 4 are free so we didn’t have to pay for either of the girls) and the tickets are good for up to 30 days.
You can find out more about Wild Life Sydney Zoo here.