The animals here have some of the best views of the harbour and the city of Sydney.
The zoo is a great day out whether you are from overseas or a local. It is hilly with a manual wheelchair and leaves me quite breathless on the return to the top but the zoo continues to upgrade and improve their facilities and each time I visit I see changes. I’d love to see them adopt a system similar to San Diego Zoo where a person with mobility issues or with a wheelchair can call for a ‘lift’ back to the top in a bus or golf buggie with trailer.
Lifts have been installed which makes quite a few of the lower levels easier to manage. There is also the Sky rail which you can use to come back from the bottom to the top of the zoo. This doesn’t operate if it is too windy though and often I don’t walk all the way to the base of the zoo. There is extensive ramping throughout many areas of the zoo. If you are walking back to the top of the zoo with a pram or a wheelchair my tip is to take the route through the African animals, past the Chimpanzees. It is further but less steep than going straight up from the food court past he Girraffes. The zoo really is on my ‘must do’ list if anyone asks me what they should see in Sydney, so don’t let the steepness put you off.
My tips for Taronga Zoo
– Buy your tickets in advance to avoid the long queues. They have always accepted our companion card so the person accompanying the person in a wheelchair does not pay with this card.
– Get there early in the day. Not only do you avoid the crowds but you also will find it much easier to get disabled parking on the lower level. If you miss out on these parks it is ramps to the other levels. You’ll also find it difficult to fit in the shows and seeing all of the zoo if you don’t get there early.
– I like to book some kind of animal encounter when I go to a different zoo or animal park and at Taronga the Girraffe experience is fun. You feed the Girraffes carrots from a platform. It’s something you don’t get to do everyday which is what I like. It is a beautiful setting and you get a photo as a momento. The animal experiences are offered on a limited basis so it is best to enquire early in the day when you get to the zoo. There are also a variety of animal encounters.
– The bird show is tucked away in a corner of the zoo but when you get to the amphitheatre it is the most beautiful view and the show is well worth the time. People get their seats early so once again getting there early ensures you will get a seat and also in the shade. We often either take lunch or buy lunch and eat it there while waiting on the show. At the end of the show there is an opportunity to go down the stairs to the front and see some of the birds close up. If you are using a wheelchair or travelling with someone who is in a wheelchair and keen to have this opportunity the staff are usually obliging in bringing one of the birds up to the back of the amphitheatre.
-We can never visit the zoo without going on the skyrail. The skyrail has weight limitations so cannot accommodate electric wheelchairs. We take our son’s manual chair on the skyrail and we can all fit in the cabin with him. The skyrail is a great ride for kids but it is also a good view of the harbour and the elephant enclosure in particular. The skyrail is included with your entry into the zoo and we ask for a round trip ride so we don’t need to get off at the base of the zoo. My tip for the skyrail is to ride it earlier in the day if it is a windy day. It is closed if the winds get too strong.
– The seal show is an educational show about sea life and is also worth a look. It’s also a very popular attraction so get in early but there is no shade at all so it is a hot wait in summer.
– There are a variety of food options located in a food court type of building which is all accessible. Near the food court there is a disabled toilet facility but it is often busy with families using it for toddlers and babies. A less popular disabled toilet facility is located one level above the food court via the lift, which is located directly opposite the lift. There are also dedicated disabled toilet facilities opposite the gift shop near the entrance.
The Zoo is a full day out and has a lot to offer so it is well worth the admission price (in my opinion!) Consider a Zoo friend’s membership, it is cheaper than you might think and gives you many member benefits. The best part is you don’t have to try and do the whole zoo in one day, you can visit as many times as you like for a year. Being a zoo friend you are also contributing to the wonderful work the zoo does in conservation and education. If you have a companion card whoever is accompanying the person with a disability is free remember.
Taronga Zoo has extensive information on their website for visitors with a disability regarding access and other facilities available. I suggest you check this site for more detailed information and the daily timetable of whats on.
The zoo offers fantastic views and some great enclosures but it can be hard to get around on wheels. Your post has so much great advice for anyone visiting who has any mobility issues. It would be great if they offered a lift back to the top what a good idea!
Thanks for your feedback Paula. I love the zoo. Julie