Inspired by the African Serengeti but located just outside Melbourne, the 556-acre (225-hectare) Werribee Open Range Zoo provides an African-style safari adventure without leaving Australia. Werribee Open Range Zoo is home to hundreds of rare and exotic animals as well as Australian native critters, all of them living in spacious natural enclosures. Admission includes a 40-minute bus safari that brings you close to grassland animals that roam through open fields. Check out daily zoo keeper talks and set your own pace for this family-friendly activity.
After making your own way to Werribee Open Range Zoo, you can decide your plan for the day. The animals at Werribee live in some of the world’s largest animal enclosures. Several zoo keeper presentations are offered daily; check the schedule upon arrival to find out the latest details.
You may want to start by hopping on board the giraffe-spotted bus for the 40-minute safari tour that takes you through spacious enclosures where grassland animals roam freely. Admire rhinos, giraffe, zebras, antelope, buffalo, camels and ostriches that you see in the fields near your open window.
Learn about the critters from your driver-guide who provides informative and entertaining commentary throughout the ride.
Set your own pace to see other favorite exhibits that feature gorillas, lions, meerkats, and a serval cat presentation led by a keeper. Walk through a replica of an African village, then travel over to the Australian Journey area to view kangaroos, koalas, emu, brolga and other native Australian animals up close.
Step into an African wetland at the Kubu River Hippos exhibit, which is home to several hippos that lounge in deep pools, mud wallows, sandy beaches and grassy meadows. Walk along the boardwalk to observe the hippos from different angles or see them up close from inside a semi-submerged barge.
In addition to the animal attractions, several different play areas provide a fun zone for kids. Take a break for refreshments (own expense) at the sit-down bistro, cafe or mobile food carts.