Home Animals Zoos Search Zoo Mall Contents Feedback
Welcome to The Good Zoo Guide Online (goodzoos.com), the essential guide to the best zoos, wildlife parks and animal collections on the planet
Now more than 200 Pages of Zoo Reviews and discussion - and growing with the help of Internet Zoo Critics from all around the world
And while you're here - check out our world famous 'Zoo Noticeboard'  Can you help zoos and animal lovers from around the world with their zoo enquiries?

wpe73.gif (2084 bytes)

goodzoos logo.gif (3461 bytes)

Wellington Zoo

Address Wellington Zoo Newtown Park Newtown Wellington
How to Find it: Wellington Zoo is only ten minutes drive from the central city. It is right next to Newtown Park, and parking is available both at Newtown Park and outside the zoo itself. There are two bus routes that stop directly outside the zoo, the No 10 to Newtown Park, and the No23 to Southgate. These buses leave the Wellington Railway Station and travel through the centre of the city before going past the hospital to the zoo. Buses go past the zoo at least every half hour.
Open: Wellington Zoo is open every day except Christmas Day. Opening hours are 9.30am to 5.00pm daily. The Nocturnal House is open daily from 10.00am to 4.00pm
Prices: Adults: $9 Children (3-16) $4 (2 and under FREE) Family: (1 adult 3 children) $17 (2 adults 3 children) $26 Adult 5 trip return pass $40
No of Species No of Animals Star Rating
Mammals Conservation
Birds Enclosures
Reptiles Education
Amphibians Recreation
Fish Research
Total 0 0
Click here for a Link to the Zoo’s own Web Pages
Write a review of this zoo
This critique last updated:  Feb 2008

Official Description

History of Wellington Zoo

Wellington Zoo is the oldest in New Zealand. Originally a recreational park and gardens, in 1906 it was given its first large animal, a young ex-circus lion named King Dick. More animals followed, and by 1912 there were over 500 residents at the Zoo, including bears, leopards, a wide variety of birds and deer, and a small collection of monkeys.

Kamala, Wellington Zoo’s third and most remembered elephant, arrived in 1953. Her arrival and long walk through Wellington streets to the Zoo were watched by hundreds of spectators and she remained a favourite attraction until her death in 1983. The first chimpanzees arrived in 1956. In those days the chimpanzees were trained to hold tea parties and the elephants gave rides – while many adults remember these times fondly, zoo attitudes have changed a lot since then.

Over time, the focus changed from entertainment to protection. Endangered species have become a focus and the design of enclosures has become very different. In the past cages were very similar regardless of the animal inside. Now, enclosures are designed to imitate the animals’ natural habitat, and the animals are kept in groupings similar to those in the wild.

The 1980s saw the development of new, open plan enclosures, starting with the opening of the tiger park in 1985. Since then many cages have been replaced with large open-sky enclosures, including the chimpanzee park, the lion kopje and the Tropical River Trail. This trail immerses visitors in a rainforest habitat, where they can view three species of primate on natural islands, and see free-ranging Cotton-Top tamarins, one of the smallest monkeys in the world! In February 2000, the Hamadryas baboons moved from the last old-style cage to an enormous new open-air park where they can interact as they would in the wild.

Wellington Zoo is very involved with breeding and reintroduction programmes for many species, both native and endangered. There has been successful breeding of many endangered species including the Malayan sunbears, Cotton-Top tamarins, and the critically endangered Sumatran tigers. Tuatara, Giant weta, kiwi, and many species of native duck, all bred at Wellington Zoo, have been successfully reintroduced to safe places in the wild.

We intend over time to transform all the remaining areas of the zoo to fit in with our mission – to develop a biological park of the highest quality, where both native and exotic endangered species can live safely, under human protection, until they are no longer at risk.

Introduction to Wellington Zoo

Founded in 1906, Wellington Zoological Gardens is new Zealand’s oldest zoo. Wellington Zoo aims to provide visitors with an exciting and educational experience: to have them leave us with an increased understanding of how the zoo protects and manages its animals, and with an increased desire to understand and participate in wildlife conservation.

Wellington Zoo has a wonderful collection of native and exotic species including endangered species such as the Sumatran tiger, chimpanzees, Sunbears and more. Rare and endangered species are bred at the zoo as part of our commitment to international conservation programmes. We are privileged to have had breeding success with some of the world’s most endangered animals.

We are one of a new breed of zoo, where the welfare and preservation of endangered and native species comes first. The animals in our care live in large, naturalistic enclosures, where bars and concrete are a thing of the past. Our staff of committed, specialist keepers support in situ and zoo-based programmes aimed at keeping endangered animals from extinction. Today’s zoos do not operate in isolation, and we are proud to be involved in global breeding and re-introduction programmes for many animals.

As well as exotic species, Wellington Zoo is committed to protecting New Zealand’s own species, many of which are highly endangered. Breeding programmes are in place for many animals including New Zealand’s national symbol – the Kiwi – and a reptile unchanged since the time of the dinosaurs – the Tuatara. We work with the Department of Conservation in releasing animals into predator-free islands around New Zealand.

Keeper Talks
Keeper talks vary depending on the season, new births or arrivals, and new developments. On any given day, there will be at least four opportunities to hear more about Wellington Zoo’s animals, and maybe the chance for a close-up encounter. During weekends and school holidays, there are more keeper talks scheduled. A permanent fixture on the schedule is our daily Chimpanzee Experience, which takes place at 1.15pm when the chimpanzees are fed, and is always a visitor highlight.

Visitor Reviews

Review submitted by: Nigel Foster: January 2001
Wellington zoo is the oldest one in NZ , and until a few years ago it was a
disgrace to zoos . However , in the last few years there has been honest attempts to bring it up to an acceptable standard . It is on a very hilly site on the slopes of Mt Albert .
As soon as one enters the zoo there is the otter exhibit with monkey island immediately behind it . The monkey island was the site of the old mini railway . Now it has been transformed into a more natural exhibit with lush vegetation and no cages .
The rear of the zoo has slowly but surely been transformed into an African
area , with generous areas for the zebras and giraffes , with areas for the tigers , cheetahs and baboons reaching up the steeper slopes .The zoo seems to be very successful at breeding chimpanzees , there seems to be dozens of them , also in a fairly large enclosure .Although the lions are now in a far better enclosure than they were many years ago , I personally feel that the current enclosure is still too small for them .
There are plans to rehouse the red pandas into a more modern enclosure ,
as soon as the zoo can raise the finance to do it .Apparently , there is a long term goal to have the rear of the zoo exclusively for African exhibits , and a brand new nocturnal house near the entrance.
There is still sizable chunks of the zoo with old,empty cages and other
enclosures , and the gardens are not to the same standard as Aucklands zoo .
But given time , I feel that the current staff are working to transform it into a world class zoological gardens .They certainly have succeeded in their efforts to date . I wish them all the best in the future .There is a small cafe which sells hotdogs,drinks etc , and a zoo shop in the entrance/administration building

[Find and Read a Review of the zoo you want to visit ] [Buy Books on Zoos and Wildlife[Zoo Animals] Home ] Up ]
[ About Zoos ]  [ News ]  [Conservation in Zoos ]   [Zoos and Education ]  [Zoos and Recreation ] [Zoos and Research ] [Are Zoos Cruel?]  [Sign our Visitor's Book]

Become an Internet Zoo Critic and contribute to a worldwide databank of knowledge on mammal and bird conservation. Click Here.

Editor: Jon Clarke    Research: John and Sue Ironmonger, Ray Heaton, and the readers of goodzoos.com   Illustrations by G.L.Grandy. Thanks to John Ironmonger for the original idea of GoodZoos.com.

Send mail to [email protected] with questions or comments about this web site.
Site monitored by Website Monitor
Last modified: