The Taronga Zoo is the oldest and most visited zoo in Australia. Located in Sydney, it was probably the most famous until upstaged by the Australia Zoo in the 1990s. Taronga was one of the first zoos in the world to feature the native fauna of the continent of Australia, which remains the specialty of the park to this day. It is particularly famous for its platypus exhibit.
New South Wales had a zoo as early as 1884. This primitive facility was replaced by a much larger and better thought out facility in 1916. This became the Taronga Zoo. Taronga, which was fairly up-to-date at the time of its construction, was woefully out-of-date by the second half of the 20th century. Modernization came late, but major overhauls were made in the 1970s. New expansions and renovations since 2000 have made it one of the best zoos on the west side of the Pacific.
Taronga is a mid-size zoo featuring 2,600 animals in over three hundred species. There are animal exhibits from all over the world, but the focus is on wildlife from Australia and around Eurasia. One of the newest and most popular sections is Wild Asia, which features a large family of Asian Elephants from Thailand. Other favorites, not surprisingly, are the Australian natives, notably the Kangaroo and Platypus. A cable car runs across the zoo, offering views of both the environments as well as Sydney Harbor.
The Taronga Zoo is located on the east side of Sydney a little over a mile from the city center. One popular way of reaching the zoo is by ferry from downtown. It is open year round from 9:30am-4:30pm (longer hours in summer). The cost of admission is A$44.00. Web: http://taronga/org.au/taronga-zoo (official website).
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