Auckland’s 40-acre (16-hectare) zoo features nearly 140 species of animals, many of them rare and endangered. See white rhinos and Sumatran tigers. Discover the biodiversity of our planet as you wander through savannah, aviary and swamp habitats and see the 1,000 animals that call the zoo home.
It’s a good idea to structure your zoo visit around Animal Encounters. These scheduled sessions with zoo keepers give you the chance to learn more about the animals and their handling, ask questions, and even help with feeding the zoo inhabitants. There are anywhere between five and 10 sessions a day, with animals such as penguins, elephants and tigers. Pick up a timetable and zoo map from the main entrance.
Explore the vast savannah, where you can observe giraffes, ostriches and zebras via a series of viewing platforms. A pride of four lions roar and laze on their hilltop habitat, and a pair of hippos named Faith and Fudge keep cool in swampy waters.
Just off from this trail is the Elephant House, home to an elephant that paints with its trunk. You can buy one of Burma’s artworks; the money goes towards the zoo’s conservation fund.
The work of researchers and veterinarians is on show in the viewing gallery attached to the medical center. Here, you’ll see treatments and operations in progress, as well as an array of scientific specimens.
There’s a focus on New Zealand creatures in the Te Wao Nui section. Learn about the ecosystems that make up the North and South islands and see animals that are increasingly difficult to spot in the wild. Don’t miss the Night Habitat, where New Zealand’s most secretive bird, the kiwi, can be spotted along with native bats and the giant weta.
The Auckland Zoo is an eight-minute drive from downtown and is open every day except Christmas Day. It stays open until late in the evening on Wednesdays throughout February and March.
There are two large on-site lots where you can pay to park. Buses run from downtown Auckland to the front door of the zoo.