Wellington is a fantastic city for families. I am lucky enough to live nearby and as the mother of a school age child, I really appreciate its easy to navigate layout, multitude of family friendly activities and wide range of cafes and restaurants.
New Zealand’s capital has plenty to entertain children and their parents come rain or shine, and one of the most popular attractions with my family, other locals, and tourists alike is Wellington Zoo.
The zoo is small by international standards but its compact size makes it a great place to visit with children. Despite its small size, Wellington Zoo still houses a wide variety of animals. Originally opened in 1906, it has been greatly expanded and redeveloped. It now covers around 13 hectares and is home to around 500 individual animals with more than 100 species represented.
The zoo prides itself in its conservation and has a number of critically endangered species including Sumatran Tigers and Cotton Top Tamarins. It is also the only one in New Zealand to house Sun Bears and White Cheeked Gibbons. There are the usual zoo favourites such as giraffes and chimpanzees, and a wide range of New Zealand natives.
The nocturnal house is one of the most popular parts of the zoo and visitors who can be patient and quiet stand a good chance of seeing a Kiwi running around. You might even see Tahi, the one legged Kiwi who became famous when he was fitted with a prosthetic leg.
Another popular part of the zoo is The Nest – the on-site animal hospital. Here, the zoo’s vets conduct regular health checks on the animals, and carry out any necessary operations. Visitors can watch what is going on through a special window and the specialists offer a commentary on their work to help people understand what is happening.