Auckland Zoo

The Auckland Zoo is calling all visitors to New Zealand who want to see an amazing collection of animals. Certainly among the top attractions in Auckland, the Auckland Zoo is an environmentally-conscious place that is known to be among the most progressive zoos on the planet. It's certainly among the best zoos found in the Australasian world, and it offers the largest collection of native species found in New Zealand. Found just a few minutes from downtown Auckland, you can get here in no time, and if you don't have a rental car, you can always hop on the city's Explorer Bus. Found close to the Auckland Zoo is the Museum of Transport and Technology, and the Western Springs Reserve. You can easily make a day out of it in the suburb of Western Springs, and you'll even find a tram here that can transport you between the zoo and the museum. For those looking to add some neat tours to their New Zealand vacation, a behind the scenes tour at the Auckland Zoo is worth considering.

The Auckland Zoo first opened in 1922, and though the early years were difficult, by 1930, a zoological society was formed, and a fairly sizeable collection of animals was achieved. The first "zoo" to open in Auckland New Zealand did so in 1912, though it was more of a private collection of animals than it was a real zoo. The area for the zoo, which was found in the suburb of Onehunga, was owned by John James Boyd, and his collection of animals included some monkeys, a hyena, a half-dozen lions, and a tiger and panther. For various reasons, Onehunga natives found issue with this new Auckland zoo of sorts, citing crowds, animal smells and noise as their primary complaints. In 1922, the Auckland City Council decided to appease the Onehunga locals by buying up all the animals. They then relocated them to the site where the Auckland Zoo now stands.

In 1956, the Auckland Zoo looked to position itself among the top attractions in Auckland by adding an exhibit known as the "Chimp's Tea Party". Such an exhibit was already popular at the London Zoo, and though it helped bring in more visitors, the Auckland Zoo eventually decided to stop the exhibit. Some other significant years in the history of the Auckland New Zealand Zoo include 1923, when the first elephant was acquired, 1981, which saw the first animal hospital opening here, and the year 2000, when the Auckland Zoo Conservation Fund was established. 2010 was another significant year for the zoo, as it opened its new "Te Wao Nui" exhibit. It's the most important, large-scale project that the Auckland Zoo has ever undertaken, and it will center around the culture, flora, and fauna of New Zealand.

Some of the best current exhibits at this top New Zealand zoo include the "Animal Planet Elephant Clearing", the "Sealion and Penguin Shores", and the "Bank of New Zealand Kiwi and Tuatara House". The Animal Planet Elephant Clearing is where you can watch the antics of the country's only Asian elephants. Sometimes the elephant trainers take the elephants for a stroll around the zoo, which is quite a sight to see. The Sealion and Penguin Shores exhibit features sealions from California, fur seals from New Zealand, and even some little blue penguins. The flora found in this exhibit is native to New Zealand, and you'll likely appreciate the landscaping done here. There is a beach you can walk where various shore birds can be observed, or you can head to the underwater viewing window to watch the fur seals and sealions swim. The Bank of New Zealand Kiwi and Tuatara House is special, as it is here that you can check out the country's national bird and symbol, the Kiwi. Tuataras are lizard-like creatures that are often referred to as living fossils. You won't want to miss these intriguing creatures.

Birdwatching enthusiasts will want to include the Auckland Zoo's Australian bird aviary on their lists of attractions in Auckland, where you can feed nectar to rainbow lorikeets. The Aussie Walkabout exhibit is surely interesting as well, allowing visitors to this great New Zealand zoo the chance to get up close to animals like emus and kangaroos. Lions, giraffes, hippos and more than one rhinoceros help to add to the collection of animals at the Auckland Zoo, so you'll have more to take in than you may have imagined. Checking out the events calendar for the Auckland Zoo is a good idea before you go, and you might want to look into the Auckland Zoo concerts that are held here. The zoo's WildBean CafÉ hosts live music acts from time to time, which helps to make the zoo one of the best all-around attractions in Auckland. Families with kids might be interested in the Safari Night sleep-over and barbecue events, which are offered on different dates throughout the year.

This place just seems more complete than your average zoo. It's certainly the first New Zealand zoo you'll want to consider visiting during your New Zealand vacation. The Auckland Zoo is open every day of the year, save Christmas, and it's operating hours are from 9:30 a.m.- 5:30 p.m. During the winter months, the zoo is prone to closing at 5:00 p.m. Adults can expect to pay around $20 for admission, while children ages 4-15 get in for half-price. Kids under 4 get in for free, and if you are taking the family, there are family rates to help make the whole experience more affordable. Senior citizens and students get a discount if they show the proper ID. If you visit the Auckland Zoo during the winter, you'll want to bring a jacket just in case, and in the summer, it's a good idea to protect yourself from the strong sun. Summer is the more busy season at the zoo, though you shouldn't find the crowds to be a big hassle. This is a large zoo, so regardless of when you come, you'll have the space and time needed to see all you want to see.

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