Australia's oldest zoo dates to 1862 and is home to animals from Australia and around the world, including some of the world's most critically endangered species. It's been internationally acclaimed for providing space and convivial conditions for its animals, housing an artificial African rainforest with lowland gorillas and an Asian rainforest with Sumatran tigers.
The variety of animal enclosures and zones is the major attraction. These range from an Australian outback to an orangutan sanctuary, and a treetop walk that provides intimate views of various monkey species. A new Wild Sea exhibit extends the zoo's appeal to include marine life like seals and penguins.
Melbourne Zoo is located to the north of the city centre in Royal Park. It's serviced by its own train station – Royal Park – and by any tram heading north from William Street in the city centre. Children can visit for free at weekends and Victoria state school holidays. There is good public parking available outside school holiday periods.
Melbourne Zoo was modelled on London Zoo and initially housed animals that were being kept at the city's Royal Botanic Gardens, including camels and an Asian elephant. Throughout the latter part of the 19th century it was an acclimatisation space for exotic and domestic animals that arrived from across the British Empire.