Located just minutes from Perth city, the Perth Zoo has been a wildlife oasis since its opening in 1989. Set on 41 acres, the zoo is home to more than 1300 animals. This popular attraction, visited by more than 600,000 people every year, is an ideal day out in the Perth area. The Perth Zoo places a heavy focus on naturalistic observation, and encourages visitors to take their time enjoying the zoo’s pioneering styles of enclosures.
What can you see at Perth Zoo?
- Wildlife Zone – The 1300 animals that call the Perth Zoo home are organised based on their geographic habitat areas in the zoo. There are four main wildlife zones at Perth Zoo, as well as a number of smaller ‘singular species’ zones. The four main zones include the Australian Walkabout, where you can see Australian native animals like dingos, emus, numbats, koalas and wallabies; the African Savannah, where visitors can view lions, zebras, rhinos, painted dogs and meerkats; the Asian Rainforest, where rainforest animals like orang-utans, asian elephants, komodo dragons and sun bears are found; and the Animals of the Americas, which includes species like the capuchin, squirrel monkey, tamarin and macaw.
- Walks and Talks – To get the most out of your experience at Perth Zoo, the zoo provides a variety of educational entertainment to complete throughout your day. These include a self-guided walk called The Heritage Trail that takes visitors around the historical sights at the Perth Zoo. Daily talks and presentations can be found below.
|Elephants: Asia’ Jungle Giants||10am, 1:45pm|
|Free Guided Walk||11am, 1:30pm|
|Saving the Sumatran Orangutan||11am|
|Rapt in Reptiles||11:30am|
|Crocodile: Ancient Predator||12pm|
|Meerkats Mob Lunch||11am-2pm (time varies)|
|The Bear Necessities (Sun Bear)||2:15pm|
|Koalas and Devils: Aussie Icons||2:45pm|
- Animal Encounters – As well as a broad range of free, educational entertainment, the Perth Zoo also hosts a very wide range of paid experiences. These experiences, which are called Close Encounters and Eye to Eye Encounters, involve getting up close with a variety of the zoo’s resident animals for a chance to learn and experience them on a more personal level.
|Encounter||Price (per person)||Notes|
|Eye To Eye – Giraffe||$5||Available any day, 11am and 11:15am, 15 minutes|
|Eye To Eye – Lemur Island||$35||Available Fri (March-November), 2pm, 25 minutes|
|Eye To Eye – Rhinoceros||$35||Available Mon and Fri, 2pm, 20 minutes|
|Eye To Eye – Lion||$50||Available Thurs and Sun, 11:30am, 20 minutes|
|Be A Keeper – Savannah||$880||Available Sat, 8am, 4.5 hours, includes entry|
|Eye To Eye – Bull Elephant||$35||Available Thurs, 9:50am, 35 minutes|
|Eye To Eye – Orangutan Rooftop||$50||Available Sat, 10am, 25 minutes|
|Be A Keeper – Primates||$865||Available every second Sat, 8am, 4.5 hours, includes entry|
|Eye To Eye – Elephants||$60||Available on enquiry, 2:30pm, 45 minutes|
|Eye To Eye – Bull Elephant Art||$685||Available every second Thurs, 2:30pm, 30 minutes, includes entry|
|Be A Keeper – Elephants||$875||Available on enquiry, 7am, 6 hours, includes entry|
|Eye To Eye – Best of Australia||$110||Available Mon and Sun, 8am, 2 hours, includes entry|
|Eye To Eye – Black Cockatoo||$20||Available Wed and Sat, 2pm, 15 minutes|
|Eye To Eye – Penguin||$35||Available Sun, 3pm, 15 minutes|
|Eye To Eye – Reptile||$25||Available Sun, 9:30am, 20 minutes|
|Eye To Eye – Tasmanian Devil||$20||Available Tues and Sat, 2:30pm, 20 minutes|
|Eye To Eye – Galapagos Turtle||$25||Available Mon, Tues, Fri, Sun (October-March), 11am, 15 minutes|
N.B. All close encounter experiences must be booked online on Perth Zoo’s official site and in advance. During peak seasons, places are limited, and not guaranteed.
- Food and Drink – The Perth Zoo provides on site food and beverage outlets for visitors, such as the Wild Bites cafe. The cafe sells hot foods and drinks, as well as snacks. For visitor convenience, free BBQs and picnic tables are also available around the zoo site.
- Tips For Visiting – Perth Zoo is a big zoo, so to make sure you get the most out of the zoo it is worth planning ahead. The zoo provides a number of tools to help you plan, including a morning itinerary, an afternoon itinerary and a free phone app to help you get around.
- Events At The Zoo – There is so much to do at Perth Zoo, but as well as all of the aforementioned highlights, the zoo might also be the location for your next event. The Perth Zoo has the capacity to host a variety of events, from birthday parties to corporate parties, all with a wild twist.
- Bus: From the Perth CBD visitors can take routes 30 and 31. Both buses stop right outside the zoo.
- Train: From the Mandurah Line, alight at Esplanade Station and walk to the Esplanade bus station, connecting with Route 30 or 31 to access the zoo. From the Joondalup line, get on the Perth Underground and stay on the train to Esplanade Station, then continue as above. From the Midland, Armadale, Thornlie and Fremantle lines, alight at Perth Station, walk to Wellington Street Bus Station and board Route 30 or 31 to the zoo.
- Ferry: Perth Zoo is a short walk from the Mends Street Jetty in South Perth, and ferries can be taken from Barrack Street Jetty every 30 minutes during the day, or 15 minutes in peak times.
- Bike/Walking: Cycle paths and footpaths connect the Perth CBD to South Perth, and the walk from the city shouldn’t take more than 40 minutes.
- Car: Perth Zoo is five minutes drive from the city centre, across the river. Parking is available at extra cost.
The Perth Zoo was first suggested in 1896, when a committee got together to start a zoological garden. Work on the site began in 1897, and in the first year an orangutan, two monkeys, four ostriches, a pair of lions and one tiger were added.
The zoo officially opened on the 17th of October 1898, and in its first nine months was visited by 53,000 people. At the time it was managed by Ernest Le Souef, the son of Albert Le Souef who was the director of the Melbourne Zoo. His dedication to the zoo, and its visitors, cemented the location’s popularity among the residents of Perth at the time.
During the Depression, a lack of finances meant that the zoo fell into disrepair, and in 1932 the management of the site was overtaken by the State Gardens Board. But, its reputation as a favourite entertainment and attraction for both locals and visitors has remained. Today, Perth Zoo sees hundreds of thousands of visitors every year as a result.
- The committee responsible for starting the Perth Zoo originally wanted to import European animals to Australia and release them into the wild.
- Elephant rides were available at the zoo up until 1961.
- The zoo is home to a carousel, which was installed in 1947 and is still in use.
- In 1909, the Australiasian Open, which is today the famous tennis competition known as the Australian Open, was held on the grounds of the Perth Zoo.