Oct 6, 2013

Sunday Selections #140 - Werribee Open Range Zoo

It's time for Sunday Selections!
This is a weekly meme started by Kim of FrogPondsRock as a way to showcase some of the many photos we all take, but don't get around to showing on our blogs. Sunday Selections is now hosted by River at Drifting Through Life.

The rules are very simple:-
1. post photos of your choice, old or new, under the Sunday Selections title
2. link back to River somewhere in your post
3. leave a comment on River's post and visit some of the others who have posted and commented

This week, I've got a few snaps taken today at Werribee Zoo.

For the last day of the school holidays, we visited the Werribee Open Range Zoo, where I had never been.

After driving for approximately twelve hours we arrived at the lush foresty oasis of Werribee Park, which contains the zoo. I'm only being facetious about the length of the drive; the zoo environment and landscaping really are beautiful.  It's spacious and not crowded, and really well planned.  The carpark is right outside the entrance, and we were able to park literally a few steps from the front gate. As we walked in, a staff member ushered us from the short line to a second entrance where we sailed right in.

A shot of the lake:

Bird's nest:

The highlight, of course, is the "safari bus tour" through the open range section, where you drive past bison, camels, zebras, giraffes, ostriches, rhinos and gazelles, all looking a little odd camped out on green Melbourne paddocks, I have to say. But it is impressive, and fun.

The first animals came up on our right. "Look!" I said to M. next to me, "Buffalo!"
Right on cue our driver's voice-over said, "Now people will keep on calling these buffalo, but they are bison."  Oh yes. I knew that.  Which also reminded me of a joke my grandparents brought back with them years ago from a tour guide in Canada:
Q. What's the difference between a buffalo and a bison? 
A. Well, a buffalo's a large herbivorous animal, and a bison's what Australians wash their hands in.

Moving right along...

Mongolian wild horses, on the "steppes" of "Mongolia". A guy on a tractor drives behind them and helpfully rounds them up to gallop closer to the safari bus.

Leaving Mongolia, we head to the "African savannah":

I'm going to admit it, I was disappointed the lions are not in the open range section. 
But it's not Kruger Park, after all.

We saw the lions, cheetahs, gorillas, velvet monkeys, hippos and meerkats in their enclosures. The enclosures are great, and you get to see everything very close.

Unlike the Melbourne Zoo, this one isn't crowded (or wasn't today), and it was really nice to walk around and stare at animals unimpeded.

The landscaping is beautiful too.

With some cute touches for the kids:

There are also lots of re-created ranger huts with old equipment in them, re-purposed crates and trucks for playing on, and a fantastic little jungle adventure path through bush, with things to step on, swaying mini bridges to cross, and animal sounds being piped through tall grass all around.

The kids' favourite animals were the monkeys and meerkats, which were inquisitive and friendly.

As this little guy sat looking around, there was a furious multi-meerkat copulation party going on in the box underneath him.

I couldn't get a good shot of the lions - this is a bit grainy because I've zoomed and cropped it:

It was surprising to read of the hunting dogs that they live in harmonious, affectionate groups; only one pair breeds and all the dogs rear the young.

After all this, we were all thoroughly tired out, so we skipped the 'Australian Journey' section and headed home.

A great day.


  1. It looks like a marvellous day. Zoos have come a long way haven't they? And just as well. I have a weakness for the big cats myself, but love so many of the animals.

    1. They sure have - thankfully. Still haunted by the pacing leopards, sad chimpanzees, swaying elephants and plucked-bald parrots from the zoos of my childhood.
      I love the big cats too. Sleeping lions always look like you could curl down next to them for a cuddle. Not that you ever would of course.

  2. Great photos. We were there earlier this year and had a really good time.

    1. I can't believe I had never been there before - it's so good!

  3. It looks like a very well kept zoo. I haven't been to our Adelaide zoo in years, about 16 I think. It's time I went again.
    I love your photos.

    1. Thanks River! I'm a pretty lousy photographer, but the zoo is lovely. Zoos change a lot in 16 years - yours would definitely be worth a revisit.



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