The academy had just ended and I was itching to leave the hotel. I only had half a day to see the city before I left. High up on my list of places to see and visit was the zoo. Hearing my then 8 year old nephew’s stories of kangaroos and koalas, made me curious and excited to see the same. Plus, I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t leave the continent without seeing the said animals.
When all the pomp and circumstance of the academy had died down, I took tram 58 from Domain Street to the zoo. Paying $36 (Php. 1,440~), though if you have a student ID, PWD ID or senior citizen’s card then you get a discount. Upon entering, the first question I ask the attendant is, “where are the koalas and the kangaroos?” I was given a map with all the zones of the park.
Melbourne Zoo is the first zoo I’ve been to in a long time. It was an unfamiliar feeling compared to visiting a museum, of which I have a lot of experience with. There was no clear direction of where I would go first, but with the map, I got an overview of the zones/areas I wanted to see and visit.
Picking a path, which I initially thought was the path to the gorillas, I ended up in the tiger pen and just continued on from there. Along the way, I saw some pretty exotic animals, some I had passed up the chance to see when I was younger or when Manila Zoo was still a nice place to visit.
I really liked seeing the giraffes, tall magnificent and graceful creatures; the orangutan pen was just as fascinating, gentle orange apes who were playfully swinging from one pipe to the next; and the elephants, quiet and beautiful, they were really magnificent to see.
About an hour into my exploration, I finally reached the Australian bush zone, and I was happy to see that there was one koala, out of the three, that was wide awake and happily munching eucalyptus branches. This particular koala was just happy to do so, while its other companions were fast asleep oblivious to the our going-ons. I probably spent more time here than all the other previous exhibits, it’s probably because I wanted to capture as much moments and memories I could with this indigenous animal.
Saying good bye to the koalas, my next stop were the kangaroos. Along the way, I met other indigenous animals like the kookaburra, the Tasmanian Devil, and wombats. Finally I saw the kangaroos, like the koalas, they were busy munching and thankfully some intrepid visitor picked up a few branches somewhere and attracted their attention. These animals were just too cute, I had seen some in postcards and textbooks before, but seeing them up close and personal was really amazing, just watching them skip and move from one place to the next, was really astounding and awesome to watch. Oh, just as an afterthought, there was an emu on the side, watching enviously at the pack of kangaroos, just wanted to let you know.
Just as I was about to call it a day, I took another path and ended up seeing lions. I can’t recall if I ever saw one in San Diego or in Central Park, but if I did it was nice seeing the king of the jungle. They were busy playing with a sack and two of the lions were fighting over it, I thought I would get to see some natural, alpha-cat violence but it didn’t happen. They were a great addition and cap off to my adventure.
Spending $36 (Php. 1,440~) on my last day in Melbourne was a good spend. It also fulfilled my bucket list of seeing exotic animals like the kangaroos and the koalas. Alongside those other animals, the added benefit of seeing lions, tigers, giraffes, and apes in all its shapes and sizes was particularly awesome. And so I end my day and made my way back to the central business district to cap off my day.
Elliot Avenue, Parkville, Victoria
Open daily from 9am to 5pm
General admission: $36
Concession: $27.5 (please present a valid ID)
Senior Citizen: $32.5
Visit their website here