Australia’s second oldest zoo, the Adelaide Zoo nestles in the parklands to the north of the city centre along the banks of the Torrens River. It’s home to around 300 native and exotic fauna species and has become famed for its giant panda exhibit and admirable approach to animal conservation.
The Adelaide Zoo is peppered with walking trails that meander past its spacious enclosures, designed to resemble the animals’ natural habitat as close as possible. It has a strong focus on species from the Gondwana supercontinent" that includes South America, India, Africa, Southeast Asia and Australia, with an outstanding Southeast Asia rainforest section where orangutan and siamang reside with dusky leaf monkey. The flamingo exhibit is one of its most famed attraction, having been in the same place since 1885 and housing the only remaining Chilean flamingo in Australia. Its heritage-listed Elephant House is now a vital part of the zoo’s approach to public education, while its "get to know the zoo" tours depart every half hour, led by knowledgeable volunteers. The Envirodome was opened in 2009 within the old Ape Block and has hands-on exhibits exploring environmental conservation issues, and a large "children’s zoo" allows young ones to get up close to some of the Adelaide Zoo’s more tame residents. It is the Giant Panda Exhibit that draws the biggest crowds, opening in 2009 with a pair from the Wolong Giant Panda Research Centre in China. They are part of the international Giant Panda research, conservation and breeding program which aims to preserve this vulnerable species and the only pair in the Southern Hemisphere.
The Adelaide Zoo is easily accessed by public bus from the city centre which stops on Frome Road just outside the entrance, or it’s just a short walk from the museums of North Terrace through the beautiful Botanic Gardens and the leafy grounds of Botanic Park.
The Adelaide Zoo first opened its doors in 1883, run by the South Australian Acclimatization and Zoological Society, which later went on to become the Royal Zoological Society of South Australia. While it was once involved in the export of live native birds for the aviculture industry, it has since become a leader in animal conservation and scientific research.