Zoos Victoria is inviting Melburnians to re-connect with nature as Melbourne Zoo, Werribee Open Range Zoo and Healesville Sanctuary reopen to visitors this Thursday (29 October).
CEO Dr Jenny Gray said the warmer spring weather and daylight savings make it a perfect time of year to explore the outdoors and meet the new animals that are part of a zoo-wide baby boom.
”We’ve had an absolute boom of babies at all of our properties,” Dr Gray said. “Healesville Sanctuary’s koala joey has just begun venturing out of mum’s pouch and there are kangaroo joeys, we have baby Blackbuck and baby Oryx running around the Savannah at Werribee Open Range Zoo that visitors can see from the open-aired safari bus, and the playful Otter pups and Snow Leopard cubs are growing up so fast at Melbourne Zoo.
“We know immersing yourself in nature is one of the best ways to rebuild your resilience and your wellness, and we can’t wait to welcome visitors back again. Our Zoo grounds are looking spectacular, with flowers in bloom everywhere and big lawn areas for relaxing. It’s a perfect time of year to reconnect with nature.”
Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio has welcomed the news. “I’m delighted it’s now safe for these much-loved attractions to reopen and I encourage all Victorians to show their support and take the family along for a wonderful day out.”
All indoor areas at the zoos will remain closed for now, however, the Zoo shops will be open for cashless purchases and takeaway food can be bought from the cafes. All three zoos will have a cap on daily visitor numbers to allow plenty of room for physical distancing and all tickets – for both Members and visitors, adults and children – must be pre-booked online at zoo.org.au.
To meet the expected demand, Melbourne Zoo and Werribee Open Range Zoo will also offer evening sessions, from 4pm to 8pm, on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, starting November 6. Tickets for these Open Late sessions will also have capped numbers and need to be booked through the Zoos Victoria website.
Maximum visitor numbers allowed are as follows:
- Melbourne Zoo: 2500 visitors per day + 2500 visitors per evening session in November
- Healesville Sanctuary: 1500 visitors per day
- Werribee Open Range Zoo: 1500 visitors per day + 1500 visitors per evening session in November.
In line with the Victorian Government Roadmap for Recovery, Zoo visitors are reminded that everyone aged 12 and above will be required to wear a facemask at all times, unless eating, drinking or if they have a valid medical exemption. Groups must be of 10 or fewer, including children aged 12 months and older.
Please note the current 25km restriction for metropolitan Melbourne still remains in place. Visit www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au for details and to plan your visit accordingly.
For more information, visit zoo.org.au/update