The tigers are back at Taronga Zoo and have a brand new enclosure. It’s spacious, has plenty of natural areas for the tigers to hide and provides visitors with an immersive experience. When one of our readers messaged me asking if Taronga Zoo’s Tiger Trek is wheelchair accessible, we decided to check it out so we could let you know. Not only is Tiger Trek wheelchair accessible, it provides people of all ages and abilities with an up close experience when the tigers are out to play.
As always, Taronga Zoo has entwined a strong conservation message into the Tiger Trek experience so kids will be learning while they have fun.
The fun and learning starts while waiting for the timed entry. The day we visited, a Taronga staff member engaged with the crowd, inviting people to answer questions and check out the life-size moulds of animals, including an elephant footprint.
We arrived when the zoo opened and headed straight to the Tiger Trek experience to avoid queuing. We only had a 4 minute wait before ‘boarding’ our flight to Sumatra.
Kids around us were nearly as excited about boarding the mock plane as you’d expect if they were heading to Sumatra.
Once on the plane we were welcomed by our captain with a brief message about our flight.
After take-off the windows of the plane changed from frosted to scenes you may see out of an aircraft window including clouds and the mountains surrounding Sumatra on our approach to landing. Little ones stood on the blocks at the windows to look out but there’s plenty of space for wheelchair users too.
Disembarking the flight, passengers arrive in a village in Sumatra with mock stalls and other shops. Many of the kids clambered onto the motorbikes in the street to pose for photos.
Large floor to ceiling windows provide unobstructed views, but the day we visited the tigers were taking full advantage of the hiding opportunities their new enclosure offers, so we didn’t see any out and about in this area.
However, we had the chance to truly study the behaviour and majesty of one of the tigers in another area of the enclosure as he or she paraded past us at the window.
Although it gets busy at the windows when the tiger is close, we only had a short wait before we could get close. Kids tended to take a look and then were quick to move on, they were all keen to have a go in the safari vehicle which is in the same area.
This was a hit with lots of younger children but it does have a couple of stairs and a low head clearance to get inside.
Although BJ can often be cautious of furry animals he seemed entranced with the tiger at Tiger Trek.
Access is easy throughout, and the windows provide good viewing for kids in prams, toddlers and wheelchair users. There are no toilets inside so best to make a toilet stop prior to queueing to go into this attraction.
As we exited the exhibit we were pleased to see the education continuing. When AJ was in primary school we spent a lot of time researching which products had palm oil in them after AJ learnt about the threat to animals due to deforestation. It’s great to see Taronga further instilling the messages around the link between deforestation and products which use palm oil.
Kids can check popular brands like Nutella, Tim Tams and more to see if they are palm oil free. Once they find out, they can then email the company and encourage them to keep up the good work, or if the rating isn’t so good, they can email the company encouraging them to work harder towards a good rating.
We are regulars at the zoo and we’ve found the tigers are often more active in the morning close to opening time and later in the afternoon around 3pm. Although this doesn’t guarantee a tiger sighting, we think it increases your odds. If you’re worried about starting your day in the middle of the zoo, don’t be. Between 10-30 and 11am the elephants have a shower and it’s adorable watching the newest member of the herd, Jai Dee, take a bath. Based on the current schedule, you’ll also be able to watch the Gorillas come out to forage for their food. Keep an eye out for the baby (see photo below).
Planning your day at Taronga will help ensure you make the most of your day so read more about our Taronga Zoo accessibility tips here.
We were guests of Taronga Zoo for the purposes of review the accessibility of the Tiger Trek experience. As always, our opinions are our own.