Our zoos will open on Monday 1 June 2020

What you need know about visiting your zoos right now

Healesville Sanctuary, Melbourne Zoo and Werribee Open Range Zoo will be open to the public from 9am Monday 1 June 2020.

We don’t need to tell you that the world has changed over the past few months, but we do want to thank you for your ongoing support while our zoos were shut. We cannot express how lovely it was to receive so many messages of support, donations to keep fighting wildlife extinction and emails from members who have been watching Animals at Home.

Now that we’re opening again, here’s what you need to know about visiting your zoos.

Everyone, including babies, must have an online ticket before visiting - this includes Zoo Members

We'll update our website later this week once online tickets are available.

It’s going to feel a little bit like your own private zoo for a while as visitor numbers are limited

This is for both our visitors and members. The current numbers are:

  • Healesville Sanctuary: 1500 visitors per day
  • Melbourne Zoo: 2000 visitors per day
  • Werribee Open Range Zoo: 1000 visitors per day

While the current limits are well below the government guidelines of 4m2 per person (they’re more like 20m2), we don’t want to take any chances and are also going slow while we gradually reintroduce people to our animals’ home (aka our zoos).

 

If you’re unwell, please rest up at home

If you’re not feeling 100%, please take it easy at home and visit your animal friends when you’re up to it.

Keeper talks and encounters will not be running

This is to protect both visitors and staff by avoiding people gathering in groups in one spot. If you’d like to watch a keeper talk while at the zoo, you can watch them online here >> (Zoo Members, there are additional keeper talks and encounters on your Member VIP Zone >>).

But the safari bus is back!

It now has physical distancing measures in place which means it will feel a bit like a private safari. With reduced numbers on board, you may need to wait before getting on the bus.

Thanks for your patience when queuing, and we apologise for any inconvenience, we’re doing the best we can.

And so are the dinosaurs!

…we mean the amazing animatronic dinosaurs, the extinct dinosaurs of 60 million years ago are sadly, still extinct. Our new dinosaurs have been patiently waiting in the zoo since the end of March.

Thank you

Again, a big thank you for supporting the zoo. And as human beings too, we want to say thank you for all the sacrifices you’ve made over the past few months – this has been an absolute team effort.

We’re not through it yet, so you still need to be sensible, but we’ve all earned some time outside and away from screens where we can reconnect with the nature!

Frequently Asked Questions

Booking tickets

Q: How do I book a ticket online?

A: We’ll update the website later this week for you to book your zoo ticket.

Q: Does my baby need to have a ticket?

A: Yes, we require everyone to have a ticket for admission, regardless of age. Tickets for children under four years of age will be free.

Q: Do I need to book kids tickets for weekends and holidays when kids under 16 visit for free?

A: Yes, we require everyone to have a ticket for admission, regardless of age. Child tickets on weekends, school holidays and public holidays will be free.

Q: How far in advance can we book?

A: You’ll only be able to book your tickets for the month of June at this stage. This may change in the future but please bear with us for the moment.

Q: The website won’t let me book a ticket for the date I want

A: We’re only allowing tickets to be booked for the month of June at this stage and there is limited tickets available each day. The date you’ve chosen may have sold out or be too far in advance to book.

Q: What if I need help or can’t book online?

A: Our friendly Customer Engagement Team can help you book your ticket over the phone. Simply email contact@zoo.org.au or call 1300 966 784 between 9am and 5pm, seven days a week, from Thursday 28 May onwards.

Q: I need to cancel my ticket or swap for a new date, can I do this online?

A: While you won’t be able to change these details online, our Customer Engagement Team are on hand to help you. Simply email contact@zoo.org.au or call 1300 966 784 between 9am and 5pm, seven days a week, from Thursday 28 May onwards.

Q: Does the website issue refunds?

A:  Unfortunately we can’t do refunds online but our Customer Engagement Team are on hand to help you. Simply email contact@zoo.org.au or call 1300 966 784 between 9am and 5pm, seven days a week, from Thursday 28 May onwards.

Q: My zoo voucher, gift card or zoo ticket expired while the zoo was shut, can I still use it?

A:  Yes, of course! Simply email your voucher details to contact@zoo.org.au or call 1300 966 784 between 9am and 5pm, seven days a week, from Thursday 28 May onwards.

Q: Can I make group bookings?

A: Yes, you can make group bookings via the website, however please remember that current government restrictions only allow social gatherings of up to 20 people and this includes visiting the zoo.

Q: Can I book a ticket at the gate?

A: We know we sound like a broken record but everyone must have booked a ticket online before visiting. Tickets will not be available to be booked via staff members at the gate.

Q: How do I know if there are tickets available for the day I want to visit?

A: When you go to book your ticket online, any days that are booked out will be shown as unavailable in the check out. Please try selecting a different day.

Companion Cards and accessibility

Q: Are pram and wheelchair hire available?

A: Yes, with increased cleanliness and hygiene practices by our cleaners to ensure these items are safe for use. Please ask a staff member at the gate when you arrive.

Q: I have a Companion Card, how do I book a ticket?

A: Our Customer Engagement Team can help you book your ticket over the phone. Just give them a call on 1300 966 784 between 9am and 5pm, seven days a week, from Thursday 28 May onwards.

Keeping staff and visitors safe

Q: How do I know the zoos are safe to visit?

A:  The health risks associated with visiting our zoos are, in most circumstances, lower than visiting your local community park. This is because our zoos are often more spacious, can have cleaners present throughout the day and we can control the number of people onsite.

Ensuring the safety and well-being of our staff, visitors and animals is our priority. We have a number of new measures in place, including:

  • Limiting number of visitors to allow for approximately 20m2 per person
  • Signs and staff to ensure physical distancing
  • More hand sanitiser stations
  • Reminding everyone to practice good hygiene
  • Increased cleaning schedules throughout the zoo
  • Additional information for staff and visitors to reduce transmission

And don’t worry, the safety and wellbeing of the animals in our care is always our priority. We’re keeping them safe too.

Q: Do I need to practice physical distancing at the zoo?

A: Yes, please stay 1.5m away from anyone who is not in your group when you visit the zoo. We’ll have stickers on the ground to help you, but we would love your help by holding onto your children’s hands when visiting the zoo.

Q: I thought the government limit was 20 people per venue?

A: Don’t worry, we’re a Victorian Government agency so have been working closely with the government to meet all the restrictions in place to keep us all safe. The 20-person limit is for indoor or confined venues only.

What's open, closed, cancelled and running at the moment?

Q: Are encounters running?

A: Unfortunately due to the physical distancing measures we have in place, encounters are not possible right now, however if/when this changes, we’ll update the website.

Q: Are the dinosaurs still there?

A: You bet they are! The dinosaurs will be at our zoos for some time yet (please don’t ask us when they’re leaving, we’re still negotiating this). Either way, there is enough time that everyone should be able to experience them when they visit.

Q: Are Roar ‘n’ Snore and Slumber Safari running?

A: Unfortunately, we don’t have our overnight experiences up and running again yet, however if/when this changes, we’ll update the website.

Q: Are the Melbourne Zoo’s Butterfly House, Reptile House, Orang-utan Sanctuary or Elephant Barn open?

A: Any areas of Melbourne Zoo which are in a confined space such as the Butterfly House and Reptile House will remain closed for now to ensure safe physical distancing. However the Elephant Barn and Orang-utan Sanctuary will be open for you to enjoy.

Q: Are Ranger Kids, Keeper Kids and Future Vets open?

A: Any areas of the zoo which are in a confined space such as the indoor play spaces remain closed for now to ensure safe physical distancing.

Q: Is Healesville Sanctuary’s Spirits of the Sky and Platypus Tales shows running?

A: Yes, the birds will be flying, but with very careful management of visitors to ensure safe physical distancing. Please ask a staff member at the gate when you arrive to clarify how many shows are being run and their capacity.

Q: Is Healesville Sanctuary’s Australian Wildlife Health Centre or World of Platypus open?

A: The World of Platypus is open, with careful management of visitors, but other smaller areas, such as the Australian Wildlife Health Centre are closed for the time being.

Q: Why aren’t you discounting tickets given not everything is open right now?

A: We’re trying our absolute best to provide a world-class zoo experience while also ensuring all our staff, members, visitors and volunteers remain safe and our animals are happy. It’s a delicate balancing act but we still think a trip to our zoos is great value. If you don’t think it’s worth visiting right now, we’re happy to welcome you back when things reopen.

Zoo Shop

Q: Are your retail stores open?

A: Yes, retail outlets across all three zoos will be open. Staff will be monitoring the number of people in the shop to ensure safe social distancing is happening.

Q: Can I pay with cash at the zoo?

A: Our zoos are now cashless, so please ensure you have your card handy.

Food and functions

Q: Are cafes open?

A: Don’t worry, you’ll still be able to get a coffee, but it’ll just need to be take away as there will be no dine in options. Additionally, some cafes will be closed.

Q: Can I pay with cash at the zoo?

A: Our zoos are now cashless, so please ensure you have your card handy.

Q: Can I use my BYO refillable cup at the cafes?

A: Unfortunately we will not be asking café staff to handle refillable cups, but please pop your disposable coffee cup in the green compost bin at the zoos and we can turn it into compost.

Q: Are cutlery and condiments available at the cafes?

A: While no cutlery or water cups stations will be available, disposable (compostable) cutlery will be available upon request. If you would like condiments, please ask the staff member who takes your order.

Q: Are we allowed to host a birthday party at the zoo?

A: Yes, you can absolute celebrate birthdays at the zoo. Please only use the open spaces, and have no more than 20 guests, including you and the birthday girl/boy. Please also remember that current government restrictions only allow social gatherings of up to 20 people and this includes birthday parties at the zoo.  Our function and events spaces will remain closed for now.

School visits

Q: Are school excursions allowed?

A: Self-guided school excursions can go ahead, but must be booked by emailing contact@zoo.org.au. Your excursion will be limited to groups of 20 at this stage, and all tickets must be booked individually so we know who is coming. Our normal adult-to-student ratio applies and must be included in the 20-person limit:

Early years: 1 adult to every 3 children

Prep-Year 2: 1 adult to every 5 students

Year 3-Year 12: 1 adult to every 10 students 

Members

Q: Can I renew my membership at the gate?

A: Unfortunately staff will not be there to help you renew your membership at the gate and you must have booked your free ticket to visit the zoo before arriving. Please renew online or call our Customer Engagement Team on 1300 966 784 before visiting.

Q: Can I buy a membership at the gate?

A: No, you must have purchased your membership and booked your ticket online before visiting. Please purchase your new Zoo Membership online or call our Customer Engagement Team on 1300 966 784 before visiting. And thanks for your support – your Zoo Membership is what keeps our conservation work going!

Q: Do I still need to show my Zoo Member card at the gate?

A: Yes, you’ll need to scan both your Zoo Member card and your free member ticket when arriving at the zoo.

Q: I don’t have a member card yet or have lost mine, what should I do?

A: If you haven’t received your membership card yet (welcome to the Zoo Member family!) or have forgotten or lost your membership card, please ensure you have photo ID with you to show a staff member at the gate who can issue you with a temporary member card.

Q: I’ll be visiting with friends who aren’t members, can I book a free member ticket for them?

A: No, the free member tickets are just for Zoo Members and we’ll be scanning member cards on arrival. You’ll be able to book some non-member tickets in the same transaction.

Q: I am experiencing financial difficulty and can’t afford my zoo membership, what should I do?

A: We understand that many people have been financially impacted over the past few months, if this is you, please email or call our Customer Engagement Team on members@zoo.org.au or 1300 966 784 (from Thursday 28 May) and they’ll be able to chat through the various options available to you.

Members get more!

Only $9.50 a month over 12 months
Exclusive virtual keeper talks, at-home activities and more
Help us to love, enrich and care for our animals
Help fund our conservation work to fight extinction
Free registration for kids on adult memberships
Plus unlimited zoo entry when we reopen!